I count myself very lucky to have an occupation where learning and change are crucial parts. I’m referring to writing (of course!). Not only do you have the hard sweat and joy of bashing out your story, but the endless hours of lovingly trimming and tightening to get it into some kind of presentable shape.
When you are completely sure you cannot make it better ( or when you’re sick to death of it), you gear yourself up to send your precious baby out to an agent. You make a cunning plan – not for me the endless waiting for replies one at a time, you cackle to yourself. I’ll send twenty out at a time.
I understand agents are realists these days and expect writers to submit their manuscript to a few agents at a time. Three to four, perhaps a maximum of six, seems to be the norm. Twenty, no.
Think about it. When you get the first two or three rejections back, you have the opportunity to reword your letter, to re-jig the synopsis, to read through those vital first chapters and tighten them up again. Perhaps you’ve been on a course or to the RNA Conference since you sent the first one out and have learnt a little more about the first paragraph hook. Whatever, as my heroine often says, it’s sure to have helped.
You have a golden chance to re-work it. Your submissions package evolves as you work down your list of selected agents. You’ve gleaned a little feedback, sometimes contradictory, sometimes helpful , sometimes trite, but you can work these lessons in for the next two or three.