Another great reader question: When sending a story to an agent is it best to pitch to a number of agents at a time or is it polite to approach them individually and wait for a reply?
It's accepted in the industry that when you're contacting agents you'll be submitting queries to multiple agents at the same time. Most agents are pretty quick to respond, but even they can get bogged under by the business of being an agent (which includes a LOT). So even the fastest responders can be slower than you (or they) would like. Then there are agents who take a long time to respond (fortunately these are few and far between). And sometimes your query can simply get misplaced/lost/mangled by a postal machine/or devoured by the great cyber beast in the sky.
So after you've done your agent research (critical to making a good first impression because sometimes this will be the only impression you get a chance to make) compile a list of your top choices and send those queries off. Though a word of caution, be sure that in your eagerness to send off those letters, that you don't inadvertently send the letter to your top choice with the name and address of another agent. That's a big whoops and uh-oh. Double and triple check the addresses and any comments intended for that specific agent before hitting "Send" or dropping that envelope in the mail box.
These "comments" should include why you're querying to that agent in the first place. Agents love it when you've done your research. For example, when I was submitting Magic Lost, Trouble Found to Kristin Nelson (my super agent), I noted in my letter that: "I read on Publishers Marketplace that you're interested in female-oriented fantasy. I think that Thief of Souls, the first novel in my fantasy detective series, might interest you." (BTW -- Thief of Souls was the first title for MLTF for those of you who didn't already know that.)
Upcoming topics for the next two weeks:
How much time do I spend developing a character?
How to know if you are moving your story forward?
How to figure out what happens next?
Keeping your hopes up while looking for an agent.
Getting "not quite ready" writing up to publishable standards.
Help! I have two writing styles.
How long did it take me to write Magic Lost , Trouble Found?
How to stay motivated to write after rejections.