Three kinds of literary agents

Querytracker, for those who don’t know, is a website where writers can peruse data on query submissions. By studying the data for any given agent, you can get a sense of when and if you’ll hear back. It’s ideal for the obsessive.

I haven’t been at this long. I’ve only sent out a few queries, and given my talent for inappropriateness, that’s probably for the best. However, in that time, I’ve noticed three kinds of agents:

The Mysterious: Like cryptic deep-water creatures, they might not stir for weeks or months. No rejections, no requests for manuscripts … silent dead calm. Suddenly – they break the surface and take a full manuscript in their jaws. Turns out they were listening all along. They just didn’t like you.

The Methodical: When they are prowling their query boxes, you can tell – you tremble as if a giant roamed the streets. They’re systematic, reliable. Rejections pop up for writers who submitted the same day as you – now it’s a matter of time. Better check your inbox again.

The Madcap: Random and enigmatic – some writers get rejections within hours. Meanwhile, others sit for days … maybe forever. Did the agent get your query? Did your letter pass the assistant’s scrutiny and get lost on the agent’s desk? Did some clever hacker intercept your email due to the subversive nature of your book? You don’t know. Crickets chirping in your inbox … did their reply get lost in cyberspace? Oh, the agony.

Are there more? Feel free to share…

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