- Make sure you're sending to agents who are likely to be interested - no point in sending sci-fi to an agent who only represents romantic fiction, or a children's novel to one who represents adult fiction.
- Send to five at a time, and make clear that you're approaching other agents. As each 'no' comes in - and there will be some 'no's - send out another query. Keep things moving.
- Send only what they ask for, i.e. First three chapters, first 50 pages etc. (although if there's a sensible break on p53, it's probably ok to send 53 pages.)
- Check whether it's ok to send by email, or whether they want hard copy.
- Make sure you include a synopsis, and again, send what they ask for. Check guidelines on the agency website. Some want one page; some want three.
- Don't pester! Give them at least a couple of weeks before you follow up a query letter, and at least four weeks before you follow up a submission. Do so by email and be brief and polite. If you still get no response, it's probably best to move on.
- Be grateful for any feedback and consider carefully what they say.
- Don't be disheartened - lots of successful novelists were rejected many times before finding an agent!
For more about me and my work, check out my website: http://www.susanelliotwright.co.uk