The Impossible Task of Landing an Agent

So this post doesn’t have much to do with The Noble Project, but writing as a whole. More specifically, publishing. As I am not yet a published author, I am not an expert on the subject, but I have been doing quite a bit of research. With the first book in the series approaching the 20% completion mark, I want to use a lot of my downtime preparing for the rather daunting process of publishing.

For many unpublished writers (I don’t like the term ‘beginner’. I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon. I’m thoroughly experienced), the thought of publishing is an exciting, albeit overwhelming concept. I am no exception to this. The publishing world is a big one and there are a lot of options out there for us.

There are a lot of indie and self-righteous snobs out there who are as attached to the idea of self-publishing as they are to all those band you’ve never heard of. I have no beef with self-publishing, and I see nothing wrong with the idea of publishing services. From what I’ve seen though, they aren’t for me. I’m not too impressed with the work I’ve seen (though my standards are exceedingly high), and the idea that you can pay and poof! you’re published! (okay okay, so it’s not that speedy of a process) is not how I envision the beginning of my career.

So I’m going to go the traditional route. The hard route.

Through my research on the process, I’ve found a lot of people who are putting traditional publishing in a really bad light, and then there are those who are glorifying it.

First, we have the naysayers. Big time publishing companies only accept about 1% of the manuscripts they receive. So they’re right. The odds aren’t exactly the greatest. Additionally, in order to even get your manuscript to a publisher, you need an agent to accept it first. (Though in their defense, the sheer number of manuscripts both companies and literary agencies receive are astronomical, so naturally the percentage is going to be small. It’s basic math.)

When I started looking up agents, it was really intimidating. Some websites actually posted the agent’s stats and let me tell you, the number of rejections far outweighed requests for a full manuscript. This, of course, was a shocking, and terrifying sight for me. I started having thoughts that agents were pretentious, cruel, and vicious human beings that didn’t actually want writers to succeed. The numbers support this claim, and that is where I think a lot of people shy away from the idea of traditional publishing.

No one likes rejection, after all.

Then, we have those who are convinced that every word they write is going to be worshipped by every agent they send their query to. I give them credit for being so gung-ho about publishing, but even though I am confident that at some point The Noble Project will be well received, being educated and keeping a realistic (though optimistic!) view on the matter will reduce at least some of the stress.

Luckily for me, while I was tooling around, I came across this awesome blog, written by literary agent Kristen Nelson. Not only does she write about fun experiences in the world of publishing, but she offers advice and examples for those first-timers out there. (like me!) She also links to a lot more agents that blog and I’m looking to pour through their blogs as well, soaking up all the information I can.

After pouring through a whole bunch of her entries, I realized why so few manuscripts are chosen. She isn’t being mean, vicious, or cruel as we had originally assumed (I mean, an agent reads manuscripts for a living.), it’s just that a lot of what she (and I imagine just about every other agent) receives do not meet her standards, or those of the publishing companies.

And who can blame them for setting such high standards? People don’t want to read crap. People do read crap, and it’s crappy. Crap gets written, crap gets published, and it’s a fact of life that we do have to deal with. I have to be honest here though, and say that the reason I would much rather at least attempt to get published traditionally is because I would like to know from the people who have seen it all, where I stand as a writer, and author.

So even though I’m only (hold on, let me check) 16% through with The Book of Luke, and only 5% finished with the entire series of The Noble Project, I’m ready for those rejection letters. I’m ready to not be a good fit, to revise, re-query, and then finally, find representation. It might take 75 queries. It might take 200. Or it could take 15.

Regardless of how many efforts it takes to get this out to you, I want to take this moment to let you all know how appreciative I am of your support, especially those on my mailing list. Your feedback is essential to my growth and strength as a creator. I do hope you continue to be entertained by my literary antics.

Yours in fiction,



About Frenchie Leigh

I am an avid writer of the romantically tragic, the fashionably brooding, and foolishly believing. Though my plot lines come to me through music, my writing style is most greatly influenced by my personal favourite authoresses: Julia Quinn and Eloisa James. View all posts by Frenchie Leigh

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