Before chucking in the towel in the vain search for an agent who will actually agree to read more than the sample pages of the query (it hasn’t happened to me yet), I queried the main UK literary agencies, just for shits and giggles as they say.
I’ve only received one reply and it typifies why I despair of the agent process altogether.
Dear Jane, Thank you for sending me *****. While I enjoyed reading your submission, which stood out from the many we receive, I’m afraid I didn’t feel enthusiastic enough about the material to take it further.
Most agents I’ve queried don’t bother to reply at all. The ones who do, reply somewhere along the same lines. Many would see this as encouragement. Wow! She liked it! It stood out from the rest! But to me, this kind of letter is the written equivalent of the sound of earth falling on a coffin lid. It says, you can’t win. No matter how wonderful an agent may consider my writing, she/he is still not interested. It has the fatal flaw—and no, I don’t know what that is.
Consulting the oracle, she said:
There might be one or two of her suggestions that I won’t be following, but who knows? She may be onto something.