Querying literary agents is kind of like being stuck in an automated phone menu: you're not really sure if you've got the right number, you're not really sure which button will get you through, and when you are lucky enough to get through, they often want to transfer you to someone else.
I can be dramatic at times (family members: you just keep quiet). Turns out that works well in some professions, like writing and acting :) Turns out it doesn't work well when the rejection letters start rolling in. Every rejection gets my mind spinning. Was my query confusing/not exciting? Was the first chapter boring? Or was it honestly something the agent didn't click with? I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong, if I'm doing anything wrong, and it's driving me crazy.
On QueryTracker.net, you can view comments for any agent in their database and read how long they typically take to respond to a query/partial request/etc. Writers who signed with that agent will often leave comments too, and some of them will leave links to their blogs. I decided to check out one such author to see if she'd blogged about her query numbers. Up until now I've been under the impression that the great books go fast, and if I'm getting all these rejections... well, maybe I'm not in that category. But this particular author had signed with an agent who has a ton of bestsellers under her belt, so I thought, this is a good author. How long did it take her?
100 queries sent. 22 partial requests. Three offers of representation.
So, while refraining from calling my mother and telling her no one likes me and I'm a terrible writer, at least I know that even a potential bestseller had to go through 100 people to find the right agent.