PDA

View Full Version : How many rejections before publication?


Billboy
01-18-2007, 04:51 PM
I was wondering who has the most number of rejections before they ultimately got published. Would you like to share your number?
Mine stands at 32!

Marlys
01-18-2007, 05:22 PM
Are you talking books? short stories? articles? poetry? anything?

Billboy
01-18-2007, 06:01 PM
I am talking about books here.
But it can be for short stories, articles, poetry, etc too.
Maybe it can encourage people to not give up after x number of rejections.

Jamesaritchie
01-18-2007, 06:27 PM
Zero. Is that number encouraging? On the other side, however, William Saroyan received 4,000 rejections before selling a single short story.

Pamster
01-18-2007, 07:28 PM
I have quite a few agent rejection slips so to soeak, most are emailed queries so nothing ventured nothing gained me thinks. :p

I don't know but I would definitely think that it's not an average number, it varies because of the individuals involved, like had you sent out to the one that eventually signs you first, then you'd only have a few rejections assuming you sent out simleltaneous submissions to agents or some publishers.

Arkie
01-18-2007, 07:54 PM
J.A. Konrath, who appears on this board occasionally, had over 400 rejections before he was published. I think we are going to see the average rejection number increase, because of the foreign conglomerates that have taken over U.S. publishing. Their emphasis is on the bottom line, indicating a desire to go with the author's that are proven sellers.

I saw a quote recently where an editor said that the authors manuscripts were not being rejected per se, but it was the "risk" (meaning financial risk to the company) of trying to jumpstart an unknown writer. As time goes by, I believe we will see a significant increase in self-publishing.

Pamster
01-18-2007, 08:04 PM
That's too bad isn't it? But you might be right about that Arkie. I hope to find the agent who will believe in my work like I do soon so that I can break in now before it gets any harder. :p

Maprilynne
01-18-2007, 08:25 PM
I stocked up over 100 rejections on my first book which then got picked up by a fabulous agent who also happened to be the first person I ever sent it to. Go figure.

Maprilynne

Pamster
01-18-2007, 08:46 PM
I really hope I find the agent for my work sooner rather then later, I got out about five queries today since I got about three back all in the past few days. :)

blacbird
01-18-2007, 11:32 PM
As time goes by, I believe we will see a significant increase in self-publishing.

That's already happened, and it's hardly been a good thing for the unknown writer. The vast bulk of self/vanity/POD-produced books released into the publication ether are utter dreck of the worst possible kind. The good news is that bookstores mainly won't accept them. But for the unpublished writer, with very rare exception, self-publishing remains a step off the success trail, not a step forward on it.

As long as any ijit can "publish" anything she/he/it wants to, it will remain so. I don't see it changing. How many of these self-published books have you bought?

caw

David McAfee
01-19-2007, 12:35 AM
How many of these self-published books have you bought?

caw

One. The Didymus Contingency by Jeremy Robinson.

aka eraser
01-19-2007, 12:45 AM
I was published in newspapers and one magazine before I got my first rejection. There were many more to follow though, mostly from magazines and all but a handful were for fiction subs.

About 30-40 agents passed on my book before I decided to sub directly to publishers. The second publisher I tried bought it.

Pamster
01-19-2007, 12:59 AM
I was published in newspapers and one magazine before I got my first rejection. There were many more to follow though, mostly from magazines and all but a handful were for fiction subs.

About 30-40 agents passed on my book before I decided to sub directly to publishers. The second publisher I tried bought it.

That's awesome aka eraser! How many months did you wait and work trying to get an agent? I'm curious were you a member here before this and if you sought advice here which helped lead to you're getting published? :)

I definitely won't forget my friends here when I get published. I am glad to have found it before I hit it so I have people here I can share my little triumh with like I've shared in everyone else's in my reading and posting here with you all. :)

Toothpaste
01-19-2007, 01:22 AM
I guess I had around 13 agent rejections. I don't know how many publisher rejections I got really because my agent didn't tell me all of them, but I guesstimate around half a dozen.

popmuze
01-19-2007, 01:45 AM
About 30-40 agents passed on my book before I decided to sub directly to publishers. The second publisher I tried bought it.


Are you counting queries not responded to as rejections? In the last two years I've sent out 62 queries and have gotten requests for 17 fulls and 12 partials. So to me, I've only been actually rejected 25 times on this book (4 are still out there). But you could also say I've been rejected 58 times. And since I've already been published, maybe none of this qualifies.

But I'm just about ready to try the straight to publisher route again. Although, in the small press world, if you eliminate simultaneous submissions, you might be lucky to get one or two rejections a year.

On the other hand, at that pace, you can keep the dream alive forever.

Arkie
01-19-2007, 02:42 AM
As long as any ijit can "publish" anything she/he/it wants to, it will remain so. I don't see it changing. How many of these self-published books have you bought?

caw[/quote]

I buy a lot of books, usually off the regional author's shelf, and don't pay a lot of attention to the publisher; however, I do know that many regiona-author books are self-published.

There is a very good article, page 43, in the Jan/Feb 2007 Writer's Journal Magazine, by Carrie Carr. She self-published, sold 1700 books to Waldenbooks, plus she got her books into Barnes and Noble and other stores. She obtained her own ISBNs, set up her own distribution with Baker and Taylor and Ingrams. She was contacted by producers of the Tyra Banks Show, 20 agents and her novel has been considered by Sony Pictures for possible adaptation.

Of course for each success story in self-publishing, there are many unsuccessful stories that you won't hear about, and it is expensive. I believe Ms Carr's total cost to publish was around $2,000.

aka eraser
01-19-2007, 05:26 AM
That's awesome aka eraser! How many months did you wait and work trying to get an agent? I'm curious were you a member here before this and if you sought advice here which helped lead to you're getting published?

I probably spent about six to eight months trying to whet an agent's appetite.

Yes, I'm a long time member of AW. I joined several years ago when there was only a few dozen members. I was already fairly well established as a freelancer but writing and publishing a book was new to me. I picked a few brains around here which definitely helped. But the biggest help along the way was having someone(s) around to whom I could bitch and moan and know they'd understand what I was going through. :)

Popmuze - yep, I'm counting non-responses as rejections.

Jamesaritchie
01-19-2007, 06:15 AM
J As time goes by, I believe we will see a significant increase in self-publishing.

There's barely room for the self-published novels we already have. They're nearly all pure crap, anyway. Being self-published does not make a novel good, and at least 99% of them are horrible pieces of pure garbage, and that's being kind. Yes, self-publishing will probably increase, though it's hard to se how more could do it than already are. But the only thing this will do is make the mountain of pure garbage higher than it already is, so the incredibly rare good self-published novel will be even harder to find.

triceretops
01-19-2007, 07:05 AM
Gak...I guess I gathered about 150 rejections before I got my agent. But that was for three books. I just sold two novels going direct to the publisher and brought my agent in on the deal, since he hadn't even seen those two books.

What destroyed me was that I only got three full reads (one for each book) before two were sold and one was repped. Now what does that tell you? I probably got about 20 rejected partials. I think this indicates that my stories start off slow, with minimal conflict, then take off like gang busters somewhere after chapter four. Learning to hook the reader up front (without blathering) has been one of my biggest challenges.

Tri

blacbird
01-19-2007, 11:17 AM
Avogadro's Number, far as I can tell.

caw

Pisarz
01-19-2007, 07:12 PM
In the last two years I've sent out 62 queries and have gotten requests for 17 fulls and 12 partials.

Wow, popmuze, those are some great stats. All those fulls! Surely something will break in your favor. Best of luck.

Susie
01-19-2007, 07:13 PM
I had 6 month's worth of lots of rejections before I got a short piece pubbed in a national magazine. It's worth the perserverance. Much good luck, everyone!

popmuze
01-19-2007, 08:45 PM
Wow, popmuze, those are some great stats. All those fulls! Surely something will break in your favor. Best of luck.

I used to think so. Now I have come to the conclusion that I've got a good query letter, a good synopsis, and good credits. So there must be something wrong with the book itself. But I have no idea what it is at this point or how to fix it.

Maybe nothing is wrong and the timing just isn't right. Lately I've seen a few more books with my subject matter breaking into print. So I'm hoping the weather might be changing.

Pisarz
01-19-2007, 09:13 PM
But I have no idea what it is at this point or how to fix it.

This, to me, is by far the most frustrating part of the whole process. And it's the part for which you can't prepare. Sure, we can brace ourselves for rejection. We can fight the good fight against dejection. But whether you've had 1 query rejected or 100, 1 full rejected or 10, that essence of uncertainty can remain--and even grow worse over time. There's an uncomfortable paradox about it all: It's out of our control in the sense that we don't know what (or whether) to fix, yet it's our creation and thus absolutely within our control to fix (if we only knew what or whether to fix). Uncertainty doesn't allow us to gauge whether this project has merit and it's just a matter of time or the book is not publishable/marketable and should be scrapped.

Fingers crossed for popmuze and all others swimming in uncertainty!

Pamster
01-20-2007, 12:45 AM
I probably spent about six to eight months trying to whet an agent's appetite.

Yes, I'm a long time member of AW. I joined several years ago when there was only a few dozen members. I was already fairly well established as a freelancer but writing and publishing a book was new to me. I picked a few brains around here which definitely helped. But the biggest help along the way was having someone(s) around to whom I could bitch and moan and know they'd understand what I was going through. :)

I definitely appreciate having the board for those same reasons aka eraser. :)

Popmuze - yep, I'm counting non-responses as rejections.

I count non-responses as negative too, because it just means they are too busy to get back to you...and no word usually means the answer is no...It's like an answer of silence.

Manat
01-20-2007, 04:01 AM
I just made my first sale to midsize press after a year of trying and about 38 agent rejections. After 20 agent rejections I started sending it out myself to publishers who would take unagented submissions. I submitted to 6 places and it resulted in two offers, and three were interested and reading the full when I signed with my current publisher. Once I had a contract I started calling agents again and found representation with one who has the coveted $ on preditors and editors.

I'm not saying you don't need an agent. One of the first things I did with a contract was parlay it into getting one. But going with a smaller or midsize publisher can open doors that would otherwise be shut. My agent is fairly big, but had no problems with a midsize publisher and a small advance, and he told me it's much easier to get published once you're published.

My point is if agent rejections are getting you down, but you think you have a good book, try some of the smaller or midsize publishers before giving up and moving on to the next. A sale with them can give you a nice leg up to the next tier.

blacbird
01-20-2007, 04:17 AM
it's much easier to get published once you're published.

Now there's some inspiration.

caw

Jamesaritchie
01-20-2007, 04:23 AM
and he told me it's much easier to get published once you're published.



Of course it is. But not because of where you're published. It's easier to get published once you already are published because you can't get published in the first place unless you can write well enough to get published.

So of course it's easier to get published a second time.

JoeEkaitis
01-20-2007, 04:29 AM
3/4 inch-high stack, but I'll double check that when I get home.

Manat
01-20-2007, 06:36 PM
Hmmm, seems I didn't make my point clear enough, unless you're being deliberately obtuse. I was talking about going with a smaller publisher as a step to getting a big one. It's easier to pique the interest of an NAL or St Martins if you have a publishing credit and some success from a respectable smaller house. I said it might be worth trying with a GOOD book, but no luck with agents.

Of course maybe my agent has no idea what he's talking about, but it worked for me and it's worked for several people I know. I thought the point here was to respond helpfully to questions people have? Why the flame?

Jamesaritchie
01-20-2007, 07:09 PM
Hmmm, seems I didn't make my point clear enough, unless you're being deliberately obtuse. I was talking about going with a smaller publisher as a step to getting a big one. It's easier to pique the interest of an NAL or St Martins if you have a publishing credit and some success from a respectable smaller house. I said it might be worth trying with a GOOD book, but no luck with agents.

Of course maybe my agent has no idea what he's talking about, but it worked for me and it's worked for several people I know. I thought the point here was to respond helpfully to questions people have? Why the flame?


Huh, what flame?

I understood your point. But NAL, St, Martin's and all the rest are after the same thing, and that's a novel they firmly believe the reading public will buy.

You will get a faster read at a large publisher because of having a book published by a small publisher, but you will not sell any easier. Books at large publishers are bought not by editors, but by accountants and marketers. They look at books with one thing in mind. . .how many people will buy this book, and what kind of profit can we expect from those sales.

Using a small pubisher as a stepping stone can shorten tehprocess a bit, but only because you get a faster read by a higher placed editor. You still have to write a novel the money changers believe will sell well to the general public, and if you can do this, you don't really need the small pubisher. In all honesty, unless the book you have published with a small publishers exceeds what was expected of it, such a sale can actually harm you in the eyes of accountants and marketers.

I said, "It's easier to get published once you already are published because you can't get published in the first place unless you can write well enough to get published. So of course it's easier to get published a second time."

Ths is simply true. But it's also true that a first sale to a small publisher can hurt you more than it helps you. If expected sales of that first sale are, say, 2,000 boos, and yours sells only 1,000, this is the only number accountant at large publishers will see. You write a book that fell short of expectations.

If this happens, it's actually much tougher to get published a second time.

Getting published is the "easy" part of the process. Staying published is tens times as hard.

johnzakour
01-20-2007, 09:15 PM
Sometimes even success with small publisher doesn't help with a larger one. I went with very small publisher for my first humor book (Man's Guide to Pregnancy) and it sold over 10,000 copies in one year. My agent tried a lot of bigger publishers with the sequel (Man's Guide to Babies) and none of them bit. They all said the same thing, "It's funny, BUT men with babies in the house don't have time to read a funny book on dealing with babies."

You never know how these things will work out.

blacbird
01-21-2007, 02:11 AM
They all said the same thing, "It's funny, BUT men with babies in the house don't have time to read a funny book on dealing with babies."

Has your forehead healed from where you cracked the sheetrock?

caw

blacbird
01-21-2007, 02:12 AM
If expected sales of that first sale are, say, 2,000 boos,

I got that many boos already, and have yet to make that first sale.

caw

jonereb
01-22-2007, 05:12 PM
Can I ask the agent for an explanation?

I received an email rejection today from an agent who read my complete MS for a children's book (age 8 - 12). She said she really liked the premise but found the target age and writing style to be in conflict. Should I seek further explanation? Could I expect to receive a reply?

Billboy
01-23-2007, 02:18 AM
one personal friend of mine got about 10 rejections from agents, decided to publish the book himself (non-fiction) and at last count, made about $50K.
that was encouraging!

Dantes
01-25-2007, 04:30 PM
Five and a half and counting... Agent submitted my narrative nonfiction proposal (four chapters, synopses, etc) to ten publishing houses first week of December. Four said no thanks, one said no thanks but would love it if it had a better marketing platform, another said no thanks unless major revisions (first person changed to third person primarily) are agreed upon. Four pending. ... Agent had said it would sell in the first week. "Relax. Take a bath. Stay by the phone," she had said after our proposal tweaks, edits, fixes, etc. were completed. That was Dec. 2. ... i'm feeling the blues.

Le Mot Juste
01-22-2008, 06:55 AM
Thanks for the stories, all. Sometimes it does get discouraging.

LMJ

Bealeblast
01-22-2008, 09:56 AM
I don't even think about queries that don't get answered. I'm too busy being struck dumb by agents who don't respond to partials, even fulls. Now I've had some lovely personal rejections to both, but I swear to God, I'm seeing more and more agents (like now there are three with fulls for more than three months, four with partials for that long, too) who just blow me off with not even a "no thanks" email.

The next time I hear an agent complain about a writer doing something wrong in a query.....I don't know what.

I have sold a nonfiction book directly to a small publisher, and got an advance of probably not all that much less than an agent could have gotten. Fiction, of course, is a much harder sell anywhere.

Thanks for giving me a place to vent!

mzr
01-22-2008, 02:53 PM
I was wondering who has the most number of rejections before they ultimately got published. Would you like to share your number?
Mine stands at 32!
zero yet :P because i have written so a few articles

waylander
01-22-2008, 03:59 PM
Can I ask the agent for an explanation?

I received an email rejection today from an agent who read my complete MS for a children's book (age 8 - 12). She said she really liked the premise but found the target age and writing style to be in conflict. Should I seek further explanation? Could I expect to receive a reply?

Maybe, maybe not, but I wouldn't ask the question because it seems to me that you have enough explanation.
Your writing style doesn't match the age range. Either your style is too baby-ish or too sophisticated. How many kids is the target age range have you tried the work out on? Unless the answer is 20+ then it is not enough. I would suggest trying to get kids in the age range (know any teachers?) to read it and ask them how they got on. If a lot say "I didn't understand the long words' or "it's a book for little kids" then you have your answer. If they all love it, and understand it then try some more agents.