I've Been Dumped: Where Do I Go From Here?
Hey Allison, yesterday I commented as an agented writer, and today I am unagented. Kind of the same thing that happened to you. My agent is pregnant doesn't feel she can manage everything in her life and have me revise my second novel for her--she liked it, but said it seemed small and quiet. My head is swimming. I admire you getting right back up there and querying. I know I need to do that, but I'm almost paralyzed. Did you just start back through your original list? Thanks for the help.
Oy boy. Been there, done that. First of all, take a deeeeep breath. Then, perhaps, reach for the liquor cabinet. (Or go for a super, duper long run, which is how I dealt with my own anxiety.) Oh, boxing classes help to.
Okay, with that out of your system, and if you're sober enough to type, get right back on the saddle. (Which is why I'm answering your question today, rather than putting it in the queue!) Yes, the very first thing I did, within one freakin' hour of deciding to leave agent #1, was ruffle through my files and contact all of the agents who were interested the first time around, even though they hadn't signed me. Actually, what I had to do first was craft a query letter, but I was so high on adrenaline that I wrote it in about 30 minutes (seriously) and knew that it was a zinger. (I'm going to talk about query letters tomorrow, and I'll post the one I used for TDLF.)
So...I contacted the previously interested parties, and about 90% of them wrote back to me within a day and were interested in reading. From there, I was off and running. With just that teeny, tiny bit of reinforcement, I stepped further away from the fear of being unagented and closer to the realization that I'd find someone who would be a better match for both me and my work. I think it helps - just a little - if you think of the agent query process as a treasure hunt. A stressful one, but a treasure hunt nevertheless. I enjoyed researching agents: for that each one hummed with potential, I saw so much possibility. I was determined to find the right match. And this really fueled me. Let it do the same for you.
And know this: getting dumped was the best possible thing that could have happened to me. It's simply not fair to be shackled with an agent who is half-hearted about your work, nor is it fair to the agent to have to submit something that she's not fully behind. Think of this as unloading your dead weight. You'll find someone who can buoy you rather than bring you down, and from there, you can thrive.