Here's something interesting.
I realised, looking at my spreadsheet of agents, that I don't really know anything about any of them. They are just names - I don't know much about what they like to read or anything.
I did find an interview on a Website with one agent at an agency I submitted to, and she sounds very nice and I get the sense that 'Todd Garcia, Boy Archaeologist' might be something that would appeal to her, but of course, I don't know that she'd read it. It's a big agency after all, and their rules say you just send material to 'Submissions'.
So anyway. I thought - I'll spend a day really searching hard for an agent who I can be pretty sure will enjoy the story. I did. I turned up a guy who I later realised was actually the first agent I ever submitted anything to (he was the first agent to be sent 'VIP'). His agency has changed names since then. I notice that it happened round about when I sent him the submission which he ignored. Maybe there was too much going on?
I found him via a press release he'd posted on the Rights Noticeboard at The Bookseller. It was a terrifically well-written press release, oozing enthusiasm for his client's book. Damn, I thought, this is the guy I need to represent my writing. When I saw his agency profile at Publisher's Marketplace I was even more convinced.
But he has track record as a Submission Ignorer. So, I had to grab his attention in an email subject line, or he'd probably delete the email again. More research, this time into his authors, revealed an intriguing link between one of his successful children's authors and myself - we both read biochemistry at Oxford. So I wrote him: Would you like to represent another Oxford biochemist?
Guess what...he responded the next day, read the submission within half an hour and wrote back: "I won't offer to represent this as it stands, but I'd be happy to talk to you about it."
So, we are going to talk tomorrow. I've no idea what he's going to suggest but it beats the formal rejection hands down...