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underthecity
04-01-2006, 04:49 PM
Almost three weeks ago a certain agency I queried asked for the whole manuscript. Hopes were high, of course, but the rejection came yesterday:
I liked so much about it, including the homey quality of the train. I think it might be my childhood fantasy to be raised on a train with all the wacky characters to keep things interesting. But as much as I liked the setting and the scenario, something felt off to me about your story pacing and development. I canít put my finger on it. Could be that I just donít have enough experience with this sort of book. Youíd be best to find an agent with specific expertise in this genre and this age-group. I wish you all the best.
This agency does represent children's books, but as stated it might not have been the right one. She definitely "felt" the story, which is a good thing, but that something is "off" about it. But I wonder what that could be? All of my beta readers have enjoyed it and haven't reported any pacing issues. And at 2,800 words, development is kept at a minimum.

Am I supposed to follow up? Send her a note of some kind?

Well, onward I go.

allen

Jamesaritchie
04-01-2006, 05:26 PM
Almost three weeks ago a certain agency I queried asked for the whole manuscript. Hopes were high, of course, but the rejection came yesterday:

This agency does represent children's books, but as stated it might not have been the right one. She definitely "felt" the story, which is a good thing, but that something is "off" about it. But I wonder what that could be? All of my beta readers have enjoyed it and haven't reported any pacing issues. And at 2,800 words, development is kept at a minimum.

Am I supposed to follow up? Send her a note of some kind?

Well, onward I go.

allen

You can send a note thanking her for taking the time to comment, if you wish. Three things. 1. Beta readers don't get a vote, and generally have no clue about such things as pace and flow. 2. Development is just as important in a 2,800 word story as it is in a 200,000 word story. Short means the have to get there faster, but you still have to get there. 3.This is only one agent's opinion, and any agent can be wrong.

priceless1
04-17-2006, 04:55 AM
Personally, I love thank-you notes. It shows a level of professionalism and panache. I'm apt to remember that person's name should they ever query me again. I always remember the nice ones and the really not so nice ones.

Beta readers rank with me about as high as when someone tells me their Aunt Bertie read and loved the book. Reason being, I have no way of knowing who those beta readers are and their level of expertise.

What you have here is a very kind person who took time out of their busy schedule to give you a quick critique. For that, you defiintely owe them a thank you. It's far better to receive feedback than a form letter. It's helpful when an editor or agent can give more detail as to what was "off" about the story. But in the end, it doesn't matter - it's not the right story for them. As you say, upward and onward. Good luck!

triceretops
04-18-2006, 09:50 AM
Well Alan, it certainly seems like you're on to something with me. And sometimes these nebulous comments can put a sliver in your skin. God help us to understand just what they're getting at, or trying to convey. It was a thoughtful response, although I see some kind of conflict in here with their comment about it being a little outside her experience, when it is obvious that these are the types of books they rep and publish. Really nothing can be gleaned from that.

I would go on and submit much more. You need a large cross-section of comments and tips before you can make any evaluation yet. I just went through this with my dream editor at Batam. I instantly began blaming myself for something that was totally subjective. I've just now hiked up back on that horse and swung the crop.

I think a nice thank you note shows class. I would if I were you.

Tri

underthecity
04-18-2006, 03:43 PM
Thanks everyone for the comments. Actually, I did send a thank you/follow up email to the agent.

I've sent 50 email and snailmail queries at this point. Weekly submitting has come to a temporary standstill as I wait for rejections to arrive (and I haven't gotten any responses for two weeks) and try to get some things in my life in order--I spent three weeks unemployed and much focus was spent on trying to find a job and getting some much-needed house projects done.

Regarding the beta readers, they included several different people here from AW, two librarians, plus a mother of a son who was in the age range of the story's target audience. Two AW readers spotted problems that had been invisible to me, but were very clear when pointed out.

And Tri, I know exactly how you felt. But I will indeed be submitting more in the coming weeks.

allen

Julie Worth
04-18-2006, 03:59 PM
Personally, I love thank-you notes. It shows a level of professionalism and panache. I'm apt to remember that person's name should they ever query me again. I always remember the nice ones and the really not so nice ones.


Yes, send them. I do. But be sure you're not sending a thank you for a form letter! And never say anything negative to an agent or editor. Never argue with a rejection, no matter how off base you think it is, because it's probably not the real reason anyway. Maybe they were just being nice, not telling you that your writing stunk up the office.

Jamesaritchie
04-18-2006, 08:18 PM
I've of two minds when it comes to sending thank you notes to agents and editors. Unless they really do something out of the ordinary, I think it's pointless, and just takes up far more time than they have to spare. If every writer sent a thank you note, no agent or editor would have time to work.
There's also a better than fifty/fifty chance than an agent or editor will never even see the thank you note. Many have asistants who open the mail, and who only pass along work related items. . .and often not even these, if they're obviously not right for that agent or editor, or if they're horribly written

I've also found such notes get really tedious when you are trying to work. You open a letter expecting to find a query, and inside is yet another thank you note, and one almost certainly from a writer you don't remember in any way, and about a rejection you may not have had anything to do with, and are also highly unlikely to remember, even if you did do it personally.

Maybe it also comes from short story writing where there isn't enough time in the world to send thank you notes to everyone who says something nice about a story.

But I think thank you notes shoudl be reserved for times when an agent or editor obviously went way beyond the line of daily duty. Times when they give you a detailed critique that obviously took a lot of extra time and energy, or times when an agent or editor doesn't buy your work, but recommends you to another agent or editor.

Otherwise, I believe most thank you notes simply clog the system, interfere with the very limited time most agents and editors have, and may not even be read by the person you're wanting to thank.

There are times for sending a brief thank you, but these times are few and far between, and do not occur with run of the mill rejections.

Julie Worth
04-18-2006, 09:28 PM
I've also found such notes get really tedious when you are trying to work. You open a letter expecting to find a query, and inside is yet another thank you note, and one almost certainly from a writer you don't remember in any way, and about a rejection you may not have had anything to do with, and are also highly unlikely to remember, even if you did do it personally.


I agree. I only do this with a nice emailed rejection, and never with a letter.

priceless1
04-18-2006, 11:38 PM
Yes, send them. I do. But be sure you're not sending a thank you for a form letter! And never say anything negative to an agent or editor. Never argue with a rejection, no matter how off base you think it is, because it's probably not the real reason anyway. Maybe they were just being nice, not telling you that your writing stunk up the office.
I've been thanked even when I sent a form letter. I've also been invited to partake in some rather bizarre rituals with my favorite barnyard animals too. One that stands out is a ticked off author told me that my brain was inserted so far up my body that I could read the copyright date on my liver. I felt like responding that had he written his manuscript with as much passion as his dislike of my critiques, he'd probably be looking at a contract. He definitely made an impression, and when an editor friend asked me if I'd read his work, all I could do is be honest. Always keep in mind that good and bad things can follow you like Velcro.