(photo courtesy Andy White)

I have officially sent inquiries off to the slush piles of three agents. 3!

This sounds like a simple statement, but I had to get on my knees and and offer my veins to the sky just to get three emails sent.  Tedious details:

  • The first one needed resending since I got a server error the first time. I’m not sure if the error was a real error or an erroneous one, although it was probably legit because they’re in NY and I sent it after the hurricane.  (Yes, in retrospect this does seem rather self-centered. What was I thinking?) Anyhow, I put a sheepish look on my face and bit my knuckle while I sent it again, hoping they would be able to sense my contrition.
  • The second one seems to have gone off without a hitch. This worries me.
  • The third one requested a synopsis, an author’s bio, the first 3 chapters, and the query.  It’s refreshing that this agent actually wants to see my writing. On the other hand, my bio is a joke and writing that synopsis was hell.  Synopsis = slow torture via intravenous drip. Of course my yahoo went all wonky so I had to open a gmail account.  It took two full days to complete this task.  I yelled at my kids, forgot to cook dinner, and ignored my husband, but it’s done.

Meanwhile, there’s a short story tickling the back of my hand.  It kept me awake last night, rolling out ahead of me like an empty stretch of road.  Road trip!  I can see the characters, I’ve given them names. They’re sitting in the car outside my front door, smoking clove cigarettes and applying red lipstick in the rearview, revving their engine, but they’ll just have to wait.

The further I go into this process, the less confident I feel.  This process is a soul-sucker.  There is nothing fun about it.

But I’ll just keep my eyes on the horizon:  3 down, 26 to go, and then I can fall back into my writing chair and fill myself up again.



About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.


  1. Bio: Use a larger font size
    Clove Cigarettes: I knew there was a reason why I liked you
    Advice: You rock, keep it up… you can do it!

  2. Good luck with submissions. The one tip I can give, having interned in a lit agency is – as you probably know -be professional, all the way. No jokes, no blether. Just imagine you are writing to your electricity company/applying for a job.

    • Shit. I wish I had talked to you first, Helen. My bio is nothing but a joke.

      • Still time to fix anything you’d like to fix! I flailed around a lot before I had the chance to see what I was doing wrong. Also with bios – short is good. Obviously not just one sentence, but time is money. Also – a lot of people write about the different jobs they’ve had. Unless you’ve done anything wild (Like astronaut) I’d leave that out. Just where you are from, any courses you’ve done, any prizes. No mention of works you’ve written before if they have not been published – the intern does not care.

        • Thank you so much! If you have a minute, I wonder if you could tell me– is it silly to list the schools I attended? It’s been so long since I graduated, it does seem silly to me. If I taught high school English for ten years, should I mention that and if so, do I need to explain why I’m not doing it anymore? I should not mention my kids, I know, but how else to explain my prizeless and apparently idle life?

          • Ooh – I should say, only mention courses if you took creative writing there – but if it wasn’t a major part of your degree, skip it – and skip courses all together. You can drop in the fact you were an English teacher, though you don’t have to say anything else about it. It’s just to give a flavour of who you are. Definitely don’t say what you do with your day, or what your partner does. You’re right – kids are invisible, as far as books go.

            Don’t try to explain yourself; It’s like introducing yourself to an interviewer – you wouldn’t say too much about your life to them, so don’t do it with agents.

            Have you ever been on a writing retreat? Especially if you won a place there? If not, I’d recommend you apply to some, if you have the time/money. The top writing retreats look very good on a query.

  3. You’re doing great! Keep it up!

  4. Psst. Your husband is wasting away; down 10 pounds. Havn’t you noticed? Whatever you do don’t send him outside to the lipstick applying ones.

    • Ha! He is looking a bit wan, though. I will give him extra everything tonight.
      (And talk extra loud to cover the sound of those girls laughing outside, hooting and blasting the stereo.)

  5. Wow … it feels like I’m reading a thriller. My nerves are jumping. I want to shout, “Check that corner!” But most of all I want to experience the rush when you prevail. I’m gonna love that part.

    That story waiting in the wings sounds pretty good, too.

  6. Well, isn’t someone filling my email with new posting notices? You could change your blog to “theprolificblogger” lately. I’m very proud of you for putting yourself out there so much. 3 things: 1. To play devil’s advocate–because I investigated freelance writing a while back as a possible part-time job and realized that there was a lot of scamming and spamming and slave-labor in that system, I’m wondering if any of the people on the list are not legitimate, or if the search process you used to find the agents is diligent in blocking any hanky-panky (or if that kind of thing even exists in the agent world). 2. I think I missed something at one time–is “Water” your second novel that you have attempted to get published; if so, was the first one “pre-hatgirl”? 3. Congratulations, good luck, and if anyone deserves it and can swing it, it’s you. I’d be apprehensive that they were just jerking my chain somehow (if it was my as-yet-unwritten book, not yours), but, if someone emailed me back that they wanted a sample of my writing someday, my head would be too big to fit through the door–any door. Good for you, so very good for you.

    • I think I’m having a manic phase of share-to-much and look-productive triggered by the horrific act of submitting myself to the slush piles. I will try to tone it down a bit, TTD.

      I think that most of the agents on AgentQuery are legit, but I’m no expert. But certainly, if anyone ever offers me money, I’ll know they’re crooks. *wink*

      And yes, WWWD is #2. Nothing Sacred was my first. Hopefully I learned something.

      Nice to hear from you, Kevin. How’s life over there?

      • I wouldn’t begin to speak for any of your other readers, except for two things: the more blogposts from you, the better, and good luck in your agent-finding.
        Have you let any/many “blogging buddies” (can’t help but think of Spongebob and Squidward as “boating buddies” when I use that term) read “Nothing Sacred”?
        Life over here, to use one of my favorite expressions, would “have to come up a ways” to be boring. Except for hanging with my daughter, I have been quite uninspired for a long time, though I sometimes see a light at the end of the “blah tunnel”. I, at least, have started to read books again, after a long time of aimless websurfing, tv watching, occasional short story reading, and whatnot. I finally read Great Expectations, and am reading a delightful mystery by his old buddy, Wilkie Collins: “The Moonstone”. I get a kick out of their little comments on society and on human interaction more than the actual storylines, though those of course are enjoyable. And, though I would never do it myself of course, I’ve heard that reading books at work, when it’s slow and when you can get away with it, is fun to do, and a better use of time than trying to look busy (I’ve had my days of butt-busting labor, of late Friday nights and even late Saturday nights of working to meet deadlines, usually with little reward, so now’s my turn to coast for awhile, I figure, when it’s slow enough to coast). Well, you asked. 😉 I hope all is well there.

  7. By the way, I’m with Re; I’d self-publish first. I’d do it just because I don’t have, especially at my age, the ***** to have the first attempt bring rejection. Maybe 10-20 years ago, but now I just don’t have the energy for it.

  8. Raina

    🙂 you go gurl

  9. Good luck Anna.
    Just remember you don’t have to go with the first agent that shows interest, and that you’re the one in control of your property, and your career.
    And maybe get started on that new story, it’ll take your mind off the submission thing and put things in perspective… you’re a writer, so write.

  10. Whew, good for you!! Not just for sending your work out — but for getting enough work done to be able to do that. 🙂

  11. You’re getting there! I’m with Ré— keep writing about your query process, please. I am on the edge of my seat!

  12. Endeavor to persevere.

    (Chief Dan George in The Outlaw Josey Wales)

  13. You’re on a roll! Good look with those inquiries. It’s almost like have to defend a thesis, eh?

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