The major rethink involved realising this: I'm a teacher, and sometimes, to help teach children to write stories of their own, we help them to re-tell other people's stories. So Owl Babies becomes Fox Babies. You get the picture. Anyway, it was time to admit that I'd completed an (only slightly) more sophisticated version of this practice myself. Fait Accompli officially became my training bra novel.
I received three very polite, and very expected rejections, one of which had me grinning all day. The agent in question (from the UK) wrote exactly what I'd already concluded about FA. Here's the message I got:
I must apologise for not having written to you sooner and leaving you without a decision.
Thank you very much for sending me a sample of your work which I have now been able to read and consider. While I enjoyed it, I am afraid that I will not be asking to see any more. Although I thought it well-written and liked the narrative voice, I’m afraid I do not feel the plot stands out sufficiently. The YA market is currently saturated with the paranormal romance genre, and I feel that publishers are now looking for more original plots.
But thanks again for letting me see your work and good luck with finding representation. I attach a list of agents you may wish to try, and would be interested to see anything else you write in the future.
With best wishes,
Why am I grinning? Because I believe in the plot of my new novel. And because this agent invited me to send her another query when it's ready : )
Of course, she's now at the top of my agents-I'll-be-contacting-as-soon-as-the-WiP-is-finished list. So I thought I'd share the list with you.
These are the UK agents I chose, not in any particular order. They all accept YA novels, they all have websites, and they all accept query via e-mail.
MBA (Sophie Gorell Barnes)
Wade and Doherty
Andrew Mann (Tina Betts)
Mariam Keen – Whispering
Kirsty McLachlan at DGA
Claire Wilson at RCW
Lauren Pearson at Regal Literary
Anne-Marie Doulton at The Ampersand Agency
Ariella Feiner at United Agents
So there you have it. Hope this is helpful as a starting point for some research when you're ready to query :)