Was in the Dale Carnegie course the other week and there was an exercise concerning putting enthusiasm to work.
Now what, thinks I, could I possibly be more enthusiastic about?
I have a pretty nice cover letter for Indigo. It’s clever, interesting and to the point. It’s got a great hook (“Indigo, where Watership Down meets Top Gun”). But if you’ve ever looked at some of these agency requirements, you’ll realize that they are often specific in their demands. And sure, a book about semi-sentient crows is not really science fiction, not fantasy, not quite. And this book could easily be overhauled for young adults (I think there are two crow-on-crow sex scenes, an easy thing to drop). I know this but am expecting my potential agents to read between the lines and see this.
Outlining their needs shouldn’t be a tack-on – they’d see through that in a minute. It’s got to be in the body of the thing. What was needed, I decided, was a “flavor” of cover letter, one angled towards an agency’s interests. Further, as I find new requirements (”…this agency focuses on lesbian astrology issues, no science fiction please…”) then I should have a process to convert an existing cover letter to their needs and methodically save it off for next time. In other words, I need a stable of cover letters, one I can keep organized for use in any and all circumstances. Of course, I’m not going to post to agents who’s target base wildly deviates from my story type (like, seriously, lesbian astrology issues). I need something in place, ready to go, not fly-by-night.
So now, under my Indigo folder, there is actually an Agents folder. And in there, I have “Agent” (my standard pitch) and “Agent-YA” (young adult) and “Agent-noSFF” (no science fiction and fantasy). More will be added as I find further genre-types.
It’s nothing more that applying my creativity now, when I’ve got a tap on the thing, then later when I’m trying to get bond paper and stamps and pick three new agencies out.
Once again, organization is the key. That and a whole lot of luck.