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Thread: First rejection, back-handed praise, not sure how to feel

  1. #1
    figuring it all out PrincessTeacake's Avatar
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    First rejection, back-handed praise, not sure how to feel

    I submitted a query for a children's fantasy novel I wrote to a local agent and she's gotten back to me a lot quicker than I thought, but with a rejection letter. However, she said her rejection was not based on the quality of my writing which is, in her words 'above the level I typically see in submissions' but based on market saturation.

    I'm not sure how to feel. A rejection is a rejection, but a compliment is a compliment. This is my first rejection for this novel (had one previously for a book that I'll admit was rubbish) and I didn't think agents generally tried to spare an author's feelings like this. Has anyone else gotten this kind of thing before?
    Tragedy porn: An optimist's best friend :http://loadzabuks.blogspot.com/?zx=e04c2f9df77da6e9

  2. #2
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    Princess,

    I hate to be blunt, but

    A compliment is nice for your ego, but ultimately, she didn't take you on. There's nothing here you need to dawdle over. Get out there and query more. Some agents will reject you with form letters. Some agents will throw in a personalization or compliment. Some agents may even give you editorial suggestions. You're interested in the agent that will make you an offer, or ask for revisions. As for the rest, unless they give you very specific feedback that you agree with, you should put them out of your mind and move on.

    And when I say you should be querying, I mean you should be querying the hell out of every single agent that reps your genre. Carpe diem and all that.

  3. #3
    is watching you via her avatar jjdebenedictis's Avatar
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    Chances are, you will get LOTS of rejections, even if your book is awesome.

    Trying to read things into rejection letters is jokingly referred to as rejectomancy, and it will make you crazy. Just don't do it. The only important information you should take away from a rejection letter is: "No."

    Accept the compliment (personalized feedback is already a rare and wonderful thing you should be delighted by, when it comes to querying) and get on with trying to find an agent for your book.

  4. #4
    Undercover, sort of... hillaryjacques's Avatar
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    Yep. File it under "oh, how nice" and move on.

  5. #5
    Girl reporter Gatita's Avatar
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    I agree on the moving on part, but you should also take the writing comment as a compliment. Agents will just send you a form letter if they don't see anything above average.

    And agents have no ulterior motive to praise your writing... unless it actually happens to be better "than the level I typically see."

    Take it as encouragement, and keep querying!
    Narrative nonfiction, anyone?

  6. #6
    figuring it all out PrincessTeacake's Avatar
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    Lol, blunt is good! I'm still a bit new to all of this, and I am throwing myself straight back into querying. The odd compliment just struck me as being really strange.
    Tragedy porn: An optimist's best friend :http://loadzabuks.blogspot.com/?zx=e04c2f9df77da6e9

  7. #7
    might be a giant maybegenius's Avatar
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    I'll echo what everyone else has said... it was nice of her to compliment you, but ultimately it doesn't matter much. Some agents are very sweet when it comes to softening the blow, but in the end, it's still a rejection. I think most personalized/complimentary rejections come from a place of not wanting to crush a writer's ego too badly. And really, a lot of agents refuse to do it at all and will only send forms specifically because they know writers will dwell on their words and potentially send follow-up questions.

    You're going to get a wide variety of responses. I know, I'm there right now When they tell you it's a subjective business, they're not kidding. Keep on truckin'.
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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Deirdre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessTeacake View Post
    I submitted a query for a children's fantasy novel I wrote to a local agent and she's gotten back to me a lot quicker than I thought, but with a rejection letter. However, she said her rejection was not based on the quality of my writing which is, in her words 'above the level I typically see in submissions' but based on market saturation.
    What this says to me: she likes your writing but doesn't feel the idea's sufficiently fresh.

    If you don't get an agent on this book, I'd add this agent to be among the first you submit to for your next book.
    deirdre.net/blog
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