Authors note: Watch this. I’m about to cram as many wild generalizations as I can into as small a space as I can. It’ll be fun.
The longer I look into getting a literary agent, the more it appears to be tied into luck and not skill. It’s a numbers game, like winning the lottery.
I don’t mean to appear defeatist. It’s not how I feel at all. I just mean that part of it is how an agent is feeling that day, what kind of mood are they in, how many query letters have they read already.
Which makes sense, given that humans aren’t machines. Much of the time, despite our best intentions, our emotions and moods get in the way. The right author with the right query on the right day at the right time to the right agent. That’s like the right combination to play and win the lottery.
Agents are like pro scouts in that way. Their job is to review as much information and get a sense for that person in as efficient as manner as possible. A baseball scout may only see a player one time. If a pitcher has a bad day, that’s unfortunate. Luckily, in baseball, there’s a mass of other data available. For a debut author, there is no other repository of data for an agent. In the sense that neither have time to be wasted, they’re the same.
Sidebar: Humans, as a species, can see/study over a thousand faces a day and can still remember the details. (Unless you’ve a twin. That’s harder) Geodes and general shapes. Yet, we still recognize people we haven’t seen in years, who have aged and changed body types. We see patterns and innately know what we’re looking for. Bring it back together, I’m told that agents rely on a similar sense based on past experience and preference.
I’m sure it’ll feel better to get a literary agent than to win the lottery or be drafted. You know what the real difference is? To win the lottery, you have to play.