If you could come back as something in your next life, what would it be? A king? A president? The Dali Llama? Yeah, that's all fine and good. But I was thinking of someone with a little more power.
Me, I would come back as a literary agent.
In the slow, agonizing, wait-filled process that is obtaining an agent (if you even get one) I have discovered that they hold all of the power in the universe.
When you start out to find an agent, it is important that you research all the agencies and find the fit that is best for you. Then, within that house, you should seek out the agent most likely to be compatible with your work. After narrowing down the field, you must tailor your individual query to the agent - never send a form letter and do not pepper the industry with letters. They know. Then, sacrifice a lamb, cross your fingers and start on your next book. Because in all likelihood it will take months before you find anything out.
Here is an example of some typical agency submission guidelines for writers:
ACME Literary Agency, LLC
Welcome to the author submissions guidelines for the ACME Literary Agency, LLC. If you do not already have a book on the New York Time's Best Selling List please go away. We don't even like that you're on our website. Be advised that we routinely block the IP address of interlopers.
If you persist in submitting your work, please adhere strictly to the following guidelines or we will simply burn your letter upon receipt. If you err twice within the industry (and we have our methods of obtaining this information), we will hunt you down and burn you.
1. Please submit your 237 word query on 20# stock paper. Of course, we have a strong preference for papyrus or stretched lamb skin. Use only 11.479 font size, Times New Roman Version 9, and 1 " margins. Only letters written in Old English will be considered. If you must, we will on occasion accept Old Frisian. Please query before your query if this is the case, noting that this request must still be in Old English. Some, but not all, of our agents prefer this format. Good luck guessing.
2. List your credentials in order of importance. Please begin with Pulitzer.
3. You must itemize your previous publishing experience in chronological order. Please note that we laugh ourselves silly if you have none. Of course, we're never truly silly, but we will, nonetheless, make sounds that resemble mockery in our offices when reading your pleas for representation. Of course, we don’t really read them. We make our assistants stand on the slush piles and laugh for us.
4. Do not call us. Do not write. Do not even breathe our name aloud until we contact you. We will probably never contact you. Why are you submitting again?