It was bound to happen---is it me, or do agent's names start to sound alike after a while? They all seem to have traditional names, and if you're not REALLY careful with your agent research, you might end up querying simultaneous agents in the same agency (haven't done that yet, thank heaven) OR, the big boo-boo--querying someone who doesn't even represent the genre you write.
As was the case with me, and agent X yesterday. I got her name totally mixed up with another agent, and the rejection was polite and swift, but along the lines of "Uh, I'm not the right agent for this story, seeing as I don't rep Fantasy."
She didn't say it that way, she was a lot nicer, but I certainly got the point.
*Lara hits forehead* D'OH!!!
It was a waste of her time, and mine, and I could smack myself for being so careless.
ALSO, I am having the big problem of my opening chapter wasn't compelling enough. So I switched it with one that is pretty action-packed...AFTER I queried my dream agent with the first ten (boring) pages!!!
Yeah...waiting for it to get sent back to me in my SASE any day now...
Live and learn. The trouble is, you only have one shot with these people. You have to make it your BEST and really leave a good impression. Because once they've rejected you, unless you've written some other fabulous story, you're screwed.
I have three or four of them I've queried just as many times over the years, (with different stories, mind you) and I've noticed a couple of things: A) the response time, which might have been 24 hours years before, is now 6-8 WEEKS, possibly more. And B) I swear some of them deliberately prefer snail mail queries only because it might weed out all the "lazy" writers who only want to get the instant (or not so instant) gratification of an email query process, versus the old fashioned "watch for the mailperson with white knuckles" routine. And yes, shooting off an e-query is SCADS easier than printing it all off, stuffing it into an envelope, TRUCKING YOUR BUTT to a post office to get proper postage for your SASE, mailing it, etc.
I have the running spreadsheet in Excel I update. And I've discovered that I HATE querying, because no matter how many things I throw myself into, I find that this general feeling of "ants-in-the-pants" never goes away, no matter what. It's like a toothache, festering in my brain, making me run to the mailbox (or stand by it as the mailtruck comes) and check my email 36759363857 times a day.
Querying sucks. But it's a necessary evil! Therefore I embrace the Antsiness...