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View Full Version : When do you say enough is enough


steampunk
11-09-2010, 01:20 AM
1

Jamesaritchie
11-09-2010, 02:23 AM
Whenever you want.

Summonere
11-09-2010, 02:39 AM
When the value of what you put into it is no longer equal to, or exceeded by, the value of what you get out of it.

blacbird
11-09-2010, 03:10 AM
Enough adv. Too much.

The Devil's Dictionary -- Ambrose Bierce

Miss Plum
11-10-2010, 03:49 AM
When Plan B looks better than what you're doing.

MsJudy
11-10-2010, 04:39 AM
when your stomach hurts and the button on your jeans won't button anymore. (I'm sorry, we are talking thanksgiving turkey and brownies, aren't we?...)

Drachen Jager
11-10-2010, 05:19 AM
When there's no joy in it and the chance that things will get better is very low.

Gugland
11-10-2010, 07:15 AM
8

plaidearthworm
11-13-2010, 09:05 AM
Depends on the time of day for me. Out of 13 rejections so far (four of those were simply no responses) I've had one positive, encouraging rejection. No requests to see the proposal. There are days when I give up, but those days are usually followed by the will to send it out one more time.

rosepetal720
11-16-2010, 11:00 PM
I have a game plan, (and I don't know how far I'll get before I'm discouraged, but I'll do my best to finish it).

1. Get query and first chapters critiqued
2. Send to 100 agents
3. Wait six weeks.
4. Send to 100 more agents
5. Wait six weeks.
6. Go to writer's conferences to meet agents in person
7. Hopefully by this time, I'll be ready to submit my second novel. If it gets to this, I'll hope that after my second novel gets published, someone will be willing to look at my first.
8. If people still aren't interested in the first, I'll move on
9. If no one's interested in the first or the second... I don't know what I'll do

I've completed the first two steps, and already it sucks.

CaroGirl
11-16-2010, 11:01 PM
Yesterday at 3:42 pm. Thankfully, I changed my mind.

Jamesaritchie
11-17-2010, 04:38 AM
I have a game plan, (and I don't know how far I'll get before I'm discouraged, but I'll do my best to finish it).

1. Get query and first chapters critiqued
2. Send to 100 agents
3. Wait six weeks.
4. Send to 100 more agents
5. Wait six weeks.
6. Go to writer's conferences to meet agents in person
7. Hopefully by this time, I'll be ready to submit my second novel. If it gets to this, I'll hope that after my second novel gets published, someone will be willing to look at my first.
8. If people still aren't interested in the first, I'll move on
9. If no one's interested in the first or the second... I don't know what I'll do

I've completed the first two steps, and already it sucks.


After the first three days, you will have used up every good agent for your genre.

Sending to that many agents at once means you either get a yes from one of twenty-five or so queries you send out, or you will never get a good agent.

Send to three or four top agent, and then wait six weeks. You need the chance to rewrite a bad query before you've been rejected by all the good agents, and no genre has more than twenty-five to thirty really good agents.

Get stuck with a lower tier agent, and you're in trouble.

Renee Collins
11-17-2010, 07:15 AM
Yesterday at 3:42 pm. Thankfully, I changed my mind.

hahaha, awesome. I know the feeling.

Miss Plum
11-17-2010, 07:48 AM
I've completed the first two steps, and already it sucks.

lol. But seriously, don't give up after two novels. Lather, rinse, repeat until you succeed or your hair falls out.

Chris P
11-17-2010, 07:55 AM
lol. But seriously, don't give up after two novels. Lather, rinse, repeat until you succeed or your hair falls out.

*rubs head* Oh crap....

*goes watch TV*

rosepetal720
12-02-2010, 01:20 AM
James:

That's really interesting. I'm pretty confident about my query because I've had it critiqued by lots of people, and I always research agencies to make sure they publish historical fiction and I say something good about each agency in my queries. Because of this, I didn't see any reason not to send it to them all at once. I know there aren't 100 agencies that would be interested in my novel, and I certainly know there aren't 100, but I didn't think it was as few as 25.

(I'm sure by now you've figured out that I'm a novice, but...) How do you know who the top 25 are? There are so many agents out there, and there are so many that are good and legitimate. What do you look for in an agent to qualify them as "good"?

Drachen Jager
12-02-2010, 01:57 AM
The best way to figure out if an agent is good is to check their client list.

Search client's name on Amazon, sort their books by sales, pick the top one and see what the sales ranking is.

3 digits or less is excellent
4 digits or less is good
5 digits or higher... meh

If the agent you're looking at has more than a couple of authors in the 3 digits or less category I'd say they're worth querying as they've obviously placed those books recently and they're selling well.

You can also look at their website to see if they have any authors you know by reputation or from having read them yourself.

Each genre has it's own number of "good" agents. I don't think James intended his answer to be taken as gospel, "There are x good agents in the world and thou shalt query only those agents which I, thy god of literature, have approved."

Querytracker is a good place to start. Get the free account (it's free!).

Filigree
12-08-2010, 10:05 PM
I'll say enough when I've followed my current plan and seen no result.

I spent 18 months researching agents in the sf&f field, while I was writing and polishing my latest project.

There are probably 160+ agents who market fantasy in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia, but many of them aren't open to unsolicited queries.
Since I can't afford to pitch my work directly to them at conventions and workshops, they're off the list.

I follow 82 agents through their online presences and industry reports. I read books published by their authors, so I get a sense of what they like.

30 of them are considered top-tier, with recent Publishers Marketplace 'nice deals' listed for sales in epic, heroic, and traditional adult fantasy. Some of them only consider YA epic fantasy, not adult, but I've kept them in the list because I might tweak my adult fantasy back to YA levels. Another 30 to 35 agents are middle-tier, with midlist sales and/or a preference for urban fantasy and paranormal romance over traditional fantasy. Some want science-fiction only, not fantasy. The rest are agents who've claimed an interest in fantasy on their blogs or in interviews, but haven't made reputable sales to one of the big traditional publishers, or one of the well-reviewed smaller publishers. Or they've sold work to a publisher which takes unagented submissions.

I've just now started to query the top agents on my list. I've sent out six queries in the last month. So far, I've had two form rejection letters and one personalized letter with some useful comments. I'm going slowly, so I have the chance to tweak my query letter. I won't send out any more queries until the last one on my list responds, or three months have gone by.

If I have no takers at all in that upper bracket, then I'll know I need to refocus on the query. I'm writing on other projects in the meantime, so I have more to offer later. I will look at the second batch of agents only if they show some really great sales in the meantime. I'm not sure I will consider the tail end of the list at all.

Filigree

geekyMary
12-28-2010, 06:00 AM
OK - Jumping on this thread to talk about me for a second...

I've sent my query out to about 20 agents, got a couple of partial requests, but that's it. I'm not sure what to do next. I'm worried if I keep querying, I'm going to go down a tier. I'd redo my query, but then who do I send it to? I thought it was pretty good, with all the partial request I've gotten.

Do I try going to publishers? I know Tor takes submissions directly, for example, but I'm concerned that if they reject it, an agent would have trouble selling to them later, presuming I got one.

I'm really feeling lost here. I hate to give up on this whole novel, but I'm not sure what else to do with it. Any advice?

Thanks.

charmingbillie
12-28-2010, 04:51 PM
Twenty agents is not necessarily considered very many.

Are you sending pages with your query? If so, then it may not be your query.

Have you gotten any feedback on your partials? If so, is there any consistency to it?

You're thinking about the right things, in my opinion. A bad agent is worse than no agent. And a mediocre agent will certainly not help you as much as you might hope. On the other hand, there are lots of good agents out there.

If you send to Tor and get rejected, yes, that could burn that publisher for an agent. And frankly, there aren't all that many places to send adult SF/fantasy.

Things to figure out--is it the query or the writing that's being rejected? If the query, is it the story (they think they can't market it, it's overdone, it's not appealing) or the way the query is written (it's not compelling them to ask for more)? If the writing (which could be both sentence-level writing or plot), is it something you can fix?

Some thoughts....

geekyMary
12-28-2010, 07:41 PM
Have you gotten any feedback on your partials? If so, is there any consistency to it?


Nothing - just "I'm not interested, not excited enough to represent it." I have been struggling with getting good feedback on my work. I either get "great!" or nothing.


Things to figure out--is it the query or the writing that's being rejected? If the query, is it the story (they think they can't market it, it's overdone, it's not appealing) or the way the query is written (it's not compelling them to ask for more)? If the writing (which could be both sentence-level writing or plot), is it something you can fix?

Some thoughts....

It's hard when I get nothing - I feel like I have no way to find out what might be wrong. Which makes learning rather difficult - without quality feedback, I'm just sort of drifting.

Filigree
12-29-2010, 02:35 AM
geekyMary, have you put this novel through a workshop or beta readers yet?
Put sample work up in the SYW section of AW?

A couple of partial requests out of 20 agents is pretty good, even if those didn't get you feedback. You might need to reformulate both your query and your mss opening, to get maximum impact.

Don't give up. There are more than 20 s&f agents out there. If you write any form of YA, the number jumps into the hundreds.

I would avoid submitting to publishers right now. They take too long to get back to you, and you could damage your future agent's ability to sell the work if you flog it all over the place now.

Best thing to do? Revise, submit to a few new agents at a time, and write something new. It amazing how much less the rejections sting, when you're obsessed with a new project.

Filigree

geekyMary
12-29-2010, 03:35 AM
I've had a heck of a time finding a good beta. Lots of people agree to read it, but then don't give me any feedback. One friend gushed about how wonderful it was, which was great, but didn't really help me.

I've been looking for workshops - they seem to start in Spring around here.

I hadn't considered posting some on the SYW section - I always figured a novel was too long. But if all the agent is reading is the first 50 pages, I can probably work on that, huh?

In some ways, I consider this ms just part of my own learning process. It may not be good enough, but I certainly learned a lot by doing it. But I'd still like to sell it. :)

Thanks so much for your helpful advice.

grizzletoad1
12-30-2010, 01:37 AM
This all sounds interesting, but what if you are like Harper Lee, who wrote nothing after her monumental To Kill a Mockingbird? I never thought I'd be able to write a novel, but I did, and that's an accomplishment in itself. I kind of view my work as a one hit wonder too, in no way in the same league as To Kill A Mockingbird, but it's the only story I've got, and will ever have. There simply is not another story in this brain of mine, unlike all you seemingly prolific writers out there. This one took twenty years and two complete manuscripts to get to where I am now. It will be hard to let this dream die, so just when I'll give up will matter only when I feel I don't have the stamina to continue pursuing this dream. For me, my novel either flies, or crashes and burns like a lead zeppelin. (Hey, didn't someone use that line before? I think they did pretty well for themselves, too!) So, like Don Quixote, I'll just keep tilting at those windmills until...

grizzletoad1
12-30-2010, 05:38 AM
Filigree,

After reading your post about how you are going about querying agents, I wonder if I may have gone too far. I have over 15 queries out there right now that I'm considering "active" I've already had 12 other queries rejected just on the basis of my query letter. No takers. To date, only one agent has given me only a slight nibble. Others have sent me gracious rejections that don't seem to be form letters, but probably are. Most of the rest are "No reply means no intrest types (Which I really don't like, see my thread about that as a pet peave!) But I wonder if I jumped the gun and cast too wide of a net too early. I never had my manuscript beta read, and only after joining this forum did I realize it's probably too long at 130,000 words. I believe I can cut that down to 110,000 or a bit less. Now I'm wondering if I might have blown it if I get a request from an agent to see my manuscript when it might not be as ready for prime time as I first thought? Rookie mistake?