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frisco
12-05-2008, 06:16 AM
Yet another day has passed and no word on the status on my manuscript. I sent a full out about nine months ago and havent heard anything from Dorchester Publications. I know that it tends to take them a while and i'm doing my best to convince myself no news is good news, but at the same time i'm also really tempted to send out a couple of queries to some of the bigger publications houses just to see if I get any nibbles. My reasoning is if I keep on waiting and end up with a rejection slip I'll wind up sending out those queries anyway, but if I act proactively and send them out I might be able to at least get another request for a full manuscript and get something going rather than just wait for a response that might not even come.

I guess the big hurdle is i've never been published before and don't have an agent. The places i'm looking to send to are listed as only accepting agented material--although maybe if they like what they see and I somehow peak their interest maybe they'll consider checking out my work.
I figure I could try to send out five or six more queries and see what happens. The worst thing is I end up with a rejection slip from Dorchester and nobody responds to my queries--but than again it doesn't really change my current situation so I thought i'd ask for advice here.

roseangel
12-05-2008, 06:22 AM
Have you tried to get an agent first?

frisco
12-05-2008, 06:26 AM
I tried two agents and got turned down by both. One said he only represents a small group of writers and wasn't taking anyone else in, and the other evidently just wasn't interested. I had thought of exploring the agent route further, but from what i've heard is really difficult to get an agent if you havent been published--and difficult to get published if you don't have an agent.

roseangel
12-05-2008, 06:28 AM
Only two?
Geeze, that's a tiny portion of the agent pool.
You should keep trying agents until you run out of ones that represent your genre, then try publishers.

frisco
12-05-2008, 06:35 AM
Agents are kind of intimidating on a few fronts. I've been pretty selective to who I sent to because i've heard that getting a bad agent was probably worst than having no agent at all. I went to preditors and editors and tried to find a few who were recommended, but got denied. I could always send to more agents and see what happens...that could be an option.

JoNightshade
12-05-2008, 06:38 AM
Let me get this straight. You think getting an agent is hard, so you're going to query publishing houses that specifically say they only accept agented submissions?

Get thee an agent, my friend. www.agentquery.com is your friend.

roseangel
12-05-2008, 06:39 AM
Also, isn't it true that if all the publishing houses reject your novel, agents will be unwilling to take it on?
It has been mentioned a few times before around here, I'm sure of it.

C.bronco
12-05-2008, 06:57 AM
If you didn't agree to an exclusive agreement, then I say send out queries!

If you did agree to one, you might call to see if they could give you a possible time-frame for a response.

frisco
12-05-2008, 06:58 AM
Let me get this straight. You think getting an agent is hard, so you're going to query publishing houses that specifically say they only accept agented submissions?

Get thee an agent, my friend. www.agentquery.com (http://www.agentquery.com) is your friend.

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out. The primary reason I mentioned trying to send to publishing houses that say they only accept agented work is because i've heard--and I could have been misinformed--but i've heard that if it is something that interests them that any publishing house might look at it agented or not.
Of course getting a good agent might be a great cure all.

frisco
12-05-2008, 07:02 AM
If you didn't agree to an exclusive agreement, then I say send out queries!

If you did agree to one, you might call to see if they could give you a possible time-frame for a response.

Well I know that Dorchester does not accept multiple subscriptions, so in sending it to them maybe I kind of limited my other options. Maybe giving the editor a call would be a good idea, but I'm a bit concerned they might think i'm being a pest by calling them.

Polenth
12-05-2008, 07:04 AM
The primary reason I mentioned trying to send to publishing houses that say they only accept agented work is because i've heard--and I could have been misinformed--but i've heard that if it is something that interests them that any publishing house might look at it agented or not.

If they don't take unagented stuff, they're more likely to throw it in the bin unread. If you're lucky, they may recycle it instead.

selkn.asrai
12-05-2008, 07:39 AM
If they don't take unagented stuff, they're more likely to throw it in the bin unread. If you're lucky, they may recycle it instead.

This is going to be harsh (and long); hit the deck if you're not comfortable with that.

DISCLAIMER: Frisco, this post reflects no judgement AT ALL regarding your writing ability or your work. You'll find that despite sometimes blunt opinions, everyone here is incredibly supportive and only say what they do in order to help you. Nothing but every confidence will be given regarding your ability to get published. But you really, REALLY have to do this the right way. The way you're doing it is 99.8 percent of the time, not it.

I second Polenth. If it's unsolicited anything, it goes in the garbage. Or a paper shredder. Or one of those paper shredders that hooks on top of a garbage can...but that would take more time...

Don't think your work is the exception. Don't think you can skip the steps thousands upon thousands of writers have taken. And v. important--don't think publishers have time to spare on what's not necessary to their business.

Forgive me, but I'm pretty sure that conception of "they never do this, but might for me" is, being crass, a pipe dream--sure, there are exceptions. Like in movies and every other solar eclipse. You may be the most talented writer this side of the twentieth century, but a manila envelope won't tell them that, and they don't care. To them, you're not unique. There's nothing to tell them that your MS is worth more (or any) time when compared to the next MS they also never asked for.

These people are incredibly busy (I worked in a publishing house; I can vouch for it), and given the recent turn of events in the American economy, triply stressed. You are not the only person to have this hope for unparalleled luck and singularity; in truth, you are one of the innumerable writers who think that somehow, the house opens every envelope and ponders over the work no matter what. Your submission will likely never see the light of a sorting room, let alone an office, if it's unsolicited. The reason they only take agented work is that they don't have the time and energy to devote to sifting through every submission from every John Q. ranging from the great and salable to the laughably bad. They want work to be submitted to them by people they trust when it comes to taste and common sense, people who work in the industry and do the sifting for them--AGENTS.

Get. An. Agent. First.

Do your research and be careful to avoid scams (Bewares and Background Checks is likewise your friend, and there are plenty of other resources to deter you from bad agents). It will do you and your hard work a world of good. You've worked hard enough to write a book, polish it, and stake your hopes on it. Why waste so much time on the nearly-impossible? Do what's right by your work and yourself, and do things right the first time.

And chances. In an industry like this, in times like these, you should do everything you can to increase and strengthen your chances.

Best of luck; welcome to AW. :)

PS As easier-said-than-done as this is (seriously), don't take rejections personally; don't let them get you down. In the end, they're only mail, a simple business transaction.

KikiteNeko
12-05-2008, 07:43 AM
I'm seconding selkn, because that about sums it up. I queried well over a dozen agents before I found one, and I was fresh out of college with not so much as a newspaper article to my name. If you only queried two and got rejections, that's because it usually takes a lot more than that. I would suggest querytracker.net. It's a free site where you can look for agents who represent your genre. Also, it's a common misconception that agents won't take you seriously just because you're unpublished. Most agents are excited to find a brand new talent, and their websites and blurbs say that they welcome new blood. Unless the agency says they aren't taking anything new, you'd be surprised how interested they are. I even got a couple of rejections that said nice things about my writing and took the time to personally tell me why it wasn't their thing. I also got more than one or two "no, k bye".. One or two agents don't speak for them all.

Sending a manuscript to a publishing house unagented is kinda like throwing it into a fireplace.

frisco
12-05-2008, 08:55 AM
Thanks for your advice. I found a few potential agents at Agentquery.com so I'm going to send out some snail mails and hopefully one of them will take an interest in the work.
It probably is a lot better of an idea than just sending it to Bantam books and hope to get lucky. In the meantime I can always start work on my next project and hope to hear from the manuscript I already have in play at Dorchester.

ishtar'sgate
12-05-2008, 10:20 AM
If Dorchester accepts unsolicited manuscripts you should have heard back by now. I had the same problem. After eight or nine months I phoned the editor and asked about the status of my manuscript. Turned out they were considering it for publication and it had to go through a few more readers before they reached a decision. Maybe that's what's happening with yours. Emails get lost in the shuffle. Phoning is scary but gets results. Good luck.

frisco
12-05-2008, 10:43 AM
It wasn't an unsolicitated manuscript. I sent them a partial and they asked for the full. It wasn't sent by an agent, but Dorchester is one of the few publishers that accepts manuscripts without agents.
At any rate your reply is encouraging enough for me to call them tomorrow. It can't hurt to ask, and if I were to at least hear that they are "considering it" I'd feel one whole heck of a lot better.

IceCreamEmpress
12-05-2008, 09:54 PM
Dorchester does accept unagented manuscripts. That said, nine months is not a long time for them to take on turning around an unagented manuscript.

And what everyone else has already said. frisco, it is MUCH easier for a first-time writer to get an agent than to get an unagented publication deal. Most of the first-time writers here who've acquired agents (and then publication deals) have queried ten, twenty, thirty, even a hundred agents before they found the right one.

scope
12-06-2008, 04:48 AM
Exactly what selkn.asrai said.