|Agents are scary.|
Every time without fail, I see her response a day later and think she either stayed up all night reading the book because she loved it that much, or she couldn't get past the third chapter before deciding not to represent it. I get a heart attack every time.
Querying is about more than getting an agent; it's about getting the right agent. People say all the time a bad agent is worse than none at all, and I believe it. I'm terrified of signing on with someone who's completely wrong for me.
This fear stems from having so many beta readers. Of all the people I started to work with, only about 50% of them panned out. They'd get busy and stop responding to my emails, edit the book in ways I didn't like, I'd edit their book in ways they didn't like, they'd be thorough with the first chapter and get lazy with the rest, etc.
I even had one beta reader refuse to work with me anymore because she straight-up hated the book. That one cut me pretty deeply.
With agents, I can't start working with a dozen of them and pick my favorite. I just have to hope I sign with the right one.
The whole system feels an awful lot like an arranged marriage. There's a show called "Outsourced" that takes place in India. There's a scene where a character goes through a pile of applications trying to decide from a man's education, family status, hobbies, and interests whether or not she wants to spend the rest of her life with him.
I can find out where an agent went to school, what genres he/she is interested in, what books he/she has represented, but are we emotionally compatible? Will we have the same opinions regarding my book? Will we butt heads all the time?
I might be making too much of it. Or maybe I'm not. Right now, I really wish I had more experience with all of this! I guess the only thing I can do is research each agent as best as I can and hope for the best.
NOTE: After writing this, a friend told me to ask the agent's clients about her. That's a great idea. I feel better now.