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erinbee
03-24-2006, 06:26 AM
*Disclaimer: I realize I am lucky to even have this problem. However. I do not think it will prevent me from pulling out my hair.*

Soooo...I worked long and hard with my agents to tweak my book proposal and make it editor-worthy.

We sent out to 14 houses on request. Very thrilling. I spoke with 7 interested editors on the phone. Thrilling times three. They gave me good input and all seemed excited.

After the phone conversations, the number of interested editors dropped to four...all of whom passed, citing that the book proposal (a memoir) wasn't "personal" enough and was too light.

On my agent's suggestion I rewrote proposal and sample material, tweaking it to be more memoir-heavy.

All four editors have now passed again, saying it's too "heavy" and not accessible enough.

I now have to completely revise my proposal and sample chapter again in order to cull what little interest seems to remain. If they pass again, we move on to the "second-tier" list we compiled. Cue head against wall.

I'm trying to put this in perspective here (I've had lots of interest, help and insight into this proposal from industry professionals I respect), but I can't help feeling somewhat...fraudulent.

That is all. Just nervous and impatient. Thanks for listening.

triceretops
03-24-2006, 06:41 AM
Hmmm...erin. Very fortunate that you had such a huge (initial) response for the book in the first place. And it sounds like you have been jumping through hoops to appease appetites. I see nothing wrong or fraudulant in trying to reach a happy medium and make the book better. Even though this project seemed to teeter totter from one extreme to the other. I would go ahead with the re-write in an attempt to find that "balance" that they are looking for (one last time). Third time's a charm, eh? After that move on to your second tier list.

This is only my opinion. And I'm about to the hair pulling stage myself, but have a long way to go with my agengt subs, before I try anything drastic.

Good luck, and keep working. Don't be discouraged. You don't realize how close you are to hitting right now.

Tri

endless rewrite
03-24-2006, 05:46 PM
I saw the thread title and thought that once again I had jumped all over some poor unfortunate's toes but hurrah, it seems I am not dejected! (just rejected)

Erin - as you can tell by my name, I spend my life in a never ending cycle of endless rewrites. Look at all the positives in your post, a piddly rewrite never hurt anyone - god, I hate them, they have become the bulk of my writing.

Yesterday I found myself staring at a first draft script dated 2001 for which I am now rewriting my seventh episode outline/treatment for a script editor - despite the fact that there it is, existing in 2001 as a whole script. But hey, that was with another editor and a long ago producer. Hopefully soon I can soon start rewriting a first draft of the episode which will be infact a ninth draft. Sometimes I think I am going mad or I seem to be moving backwards, maybe both. Perhaps out there in a parallel universe there is another me, bounding like a puppy on prozac from fresh idea to pastures new in a blur of creativity and happiness. However, here I am stuck in the pound.

Somebody once said (the name escapes me) 'that writing is an endless series of disappointments interrupted by cups of tea.'

Dunks biscuit.

Branwyn
03-24-2006, 07:14 PM
[Somebody once said (the name escapes me) 'that writing is an endless series of disappointments interrupted by cups of tea.'

Dunks biscuit.[/QUOTE]

I'm having some chai tea now;) .

On the scale of problems, this is the kind you'd rather have.:e2writer:
This or discussing the six figure advance...:hooray:

Good Luck!

Jamesaritchie
03-25-2006, 06:34 PM
Once something is ready to be submitted, never rewrite anything for any reason unless someone with a checkbook asks you to do so. All it accomplishes is an endless cycle of rewriting and rejection.

Writing time is far better spent on new projects. Rewriting the old one will almost never get you anywhere. Follow Heinlein's Rules to the letter.

HEINLEIN'S RULES FOR WRITING.

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

For a complete breakdown of these rules, see what Hugo and Nebula winning author Robert J. Sawyer has to say:

http://www.sfwriter.com/ow05.htm

eldragon
03-25-2006, 11:51 PM
I know how you feel. May 10, 2005, I received a letter from an editor at Harper Collins Publishers. It was a rejection, because they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. She went to say I was a promising writer, and that my subject matter was both interesting and hip. She highly suggested I get a literary agent, and suggested I try Literary Marketplace on the web.


Yes, that was almost a year ago. Query after query after query, and I have not found an agent yet.


P.S., my book has had interest from other major publisher's, as well, but unfortunately, after making me hold my breath for weeks at time; my book was rejected by them, too.

(Meanwhile, one of the publishers who rejected me, went on to publish such literary masterpieces, as "Teen Tarot." and a book on "How to find Mr. Right at Work.")


So, I understand. You jump through hoops and nothing happens. Then, you walk into a bookstore and take a look at the titles on the shelves. What a letdown.


I don't know what the secret code is for getting a good deal through a big publisher. I can't even get an agent.

Jamesaritchie
03-26-2006, 12:39 AM
I don't know what the secret code is for getting a good deal through a big publisher. I can't even get an agent.

The secret code IS getting an agent. From my experience, at least nine out of ten novels sent to large publishers never even get read, no matter what sort of rejection you receive for them. And the tenth one is most often read by someone who works in the mail room, but is allowed to use an editor's rejection slips.

eldragon
03-26-2006, 12:54 AM
The secret code IS getting an agent.

So, what/s the secret code for getting an agent?

erinbee
03-26-2006, 02:15 AM
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.


This is to editorial order, and the potential increase in advance is high. It's just frustrating.

Thanks, everyone, for your input.

Jamesaritchie
03-26-2006, 06:44 AM
So, what/s the secret code for getting an agent?

Make her think that if she doesn't sign you quickly, someone else will. Pure professionalism in every line of the query, and every line of the manuscript. She must see a pro at work, and every "s" in your writing, from the first line of the query to the last line of the manuscript, must look like an "$" to her eyes.

Easy, huh?

JonquilAries
03-26-2006, 08:33 AM
Once something is ready to be submitted, never rewrite anything for any reason unless someone with a checkbook asks you to do so. All it accomplishes is an endless cycle of rewriting and rejection.

Writing time is far better spent on new projects. Rewriting the old one will almost never get you anywhere. Follow Heinlein's Rules to the letter.

HEINLEIN'S RULES FOR WRITING.

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

For a complete breakdown of these rules, see what Hugo and Nebula winning author Robert J. Sawyer has to say:

http://www.sfwriter.com/ow05.htm

I should have that list pasted on my wall near my computer. I swear I spend way too much time editing a piece that is pretty much done. ^_^'

Jim Larson
03-27-2006, 11:02 PM
[QUOTE=Jamesaritchie]Once something is ready to be submitted, never rewrite anything for any reason unless someone with a checkbook asks you to do so. All it accomplishes is an endless cycle of rewriting and rejection.

Writing time is far better spent on new projects. Rewriting the old one will almost never get you anywhere. Follow Heinlein's Rules to the letter.

HEINLEIN'S RULES FOR WRITING.

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Great advice. I try to live by these rules, however difficult this unforgiving business may be. See "Unreal Experience" in this forum. In her case, revisiting her old work turned into a potential success story.

Lee G.
04-02-2006, 07:05 AM
1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.


Dunno, but rule #3 seems dangerously vague to me. One of the problems that aspiring writers have is that they think a work is ready long before it actually is. Yes, obsessing on a particular piece of work is counter-productive, but so is not hammering away at it with critical thinking and (if need be) a great deal of revision. I'm assuming what Heinlein really meant was to leave your final drafts alone once they've been given over to the whims of an editor. Is this how others interpret that rule?

Jamesaritchie
04-02-2006, 07:33 PM
Dunno, but rule #3 seems dangerously vague to me. One of the problems that aspiring writers have is that they think a work is ready long before it actually is. Yes, obsessing on a particular piece of work is counter-productive, but so is not hammering away at it with critical thinking and (if need be) a great deal of revision. I'm assuming what Heinlein really meant was to leave your final drafts alone once they've been given over to the whims of an editor. Is this how others interpret that rule?

He meant that once you have something ready for submission, leave it the heck alone after this point. Do whatever rewriting and revision you need to do before you send out a story, whether this is two drafts or ten drafts, and do not rewrite and revise after this until and unless and editor asks you to do so, or at least until an editor suggests areas where the story can be improved.

Many hate rule three, but the plain truth is that, as Robert J. Sawyer says, failure to follow each of these rules causes twenty percent of all writers to fail. Start with one hundred writers, and twenty will fail because they don't follow rule one. Twenty percent of those remaining fail because they don't follow rule two, twenty percent of those remaining fail because they don't follow rule three, and so on.

And you really can't follow these rules at all unless you follow all five. Each one you do not follow affects everything. It will either mean you can't effectively follow the next rule, or that you've made teh previous rules meaningless.

And Heinlein and Sawyer are both right in saying that a peice does not have to be perfect for an editor to buy it. No piece is ever perfect. If a story is simply close enough to professional standards for an editor to see its potential, that editor will work with you to get it right.

And both are right in saying you learn far, far more from writing new stories than from rewriting old ones. The vast majority of revisions consist of stirring mud. The rewriting and revision does not improve things, it merely changes things.

Rewriting and revision after you start submitting a piece also means you're spedning too much time on old stories, and too little time on new stories, where real learning takes place. It also means you aren't keeping that story on the market as much as you should be, that you are, at best, keeping many different versions of that story on the market, which means far fewer editors get a chance to see and comment on a single version.

The sole exception to rule three is for old stories, and I mean ones that were written at least four or five years ago. In that span of time a writer can and should become a much better writer by constantly writing new material, and may well be able to revisit an old story and make changes that are meaningful, that truly improve the story, rather than meely changing it.

Rewriting and revision are good things, when done at the proper time and place. Rewriting and revision are bad things, and cause many writers to fail, when done at the wrong time and the wrong place.