Myth: once you are published agents want you to call them when looking for representation.
Myth: once you are published agents and editors will treat you differently.
Sigh. Yes, I believed those myths. Unfortunately I have received more rejections since I've published then prior to publishing...and my prior to publishing rejection count was in the 550 range.
Fact: Working writers like actors are forever auditioning to get a slot. (I won't talk about the very few exceptions.) Even some darn solid names need to audition. I remember listening to a long time bestselling author speak about her agent search. One agent told her she wasn't good enough for him. Another said he didn't want to work with someone with her numbers...
Agent hunting is like dating, finding the right match can take a lot of work and rejection. I started searching for an agent for the middle grade boy book last night. Sigh. Am totally intimidated by some of the agents descriptions of what they want. Translate to: wanted woman with Marilyn Monroe's curves, Betty Davis eyes, Julia Robert's legs and Meryl Streep's talent. Ideally she'll never age past 26, holds three degrees from Harvard and won a season of Top Chef. Better yet, a toss of her hair will bring me an auction from book publishers that will run into the million dollar range, movie rights to match Harry Potter and Disney will make a theme park... all others need not apply.
Um... I wrote a simple book for boys that might be fun... *shrug*...apply anyway. You never know.