PDA

View Full Version : Fifty rejections now. &*!@



underthecity
08-04-2009, 10:04 PM
I received my fiftieth rejection two days ago.

I still haven't heard from 39, although I did send follow-up emails to most of them.

Nothing.

There are still a handful of agencies left to query that accept my genre.

This is so annoying that I can't even bring myself to read any of the "I got an agent!!!" threads in the Goals and Accomplishments forum. I just can't.

I spoke once with an author, who used to post on AW, about his book. He told me that he wrote the book in about four months, then revised it for about six. He submitted it to agencies knowing it wasn't ready. A big agency picked him up and worked with him extensively on rewrites and timelines.

The book sold to a super-big publisher. I've read the book. I thought it was okay. Most of the amazon reviewers also thought it was "okay." Many didn't like the ending.

My one request for a partial ended with a form rejection.

And my book is revised.

Sigh.

bettielee
08-04-2009, 10:10 PM
Hey - at least you're out there! And that guys book wasn't so good - so why go by his story? You have your own. It starts off "I got rejected 50 times..." and then maybe something awesome will happen.

And EVERYBODY turned down Harry Potter. Everybody. So they don't always know what sort of story people are going to like. (please... don't everybody start on the "multi-million sellers aren't necessarily good," I'm not saying Potter is the perfect book, but it was obviously successful....)

Stew21
08-04-2009, 10:11 PM
I got to 48 then laid back on the subs to figure out if it was the letter or the book.


Sorry about the 50!!

Maryn
08-04-2009, 10:51 PM
I'm envious of people who can identify fifty agents who rep their genre. I proceed with ridiculous caution because the list is so short.

Anyway, sorry to hear about the fiftieth. We all know life isn't fair, and that goes double for publishing, right?

Maryn, right

tbrosz
08-04-2009, 10:51 PM
I finally landed an agent last month for my fantasy novel after two years and 119 rejections (and they're still dribbling in from old queries!)

Sometimes persistence isn't enough. But sometimes it is.

Hang in there! It helps if you have more than one project going. I didn't.

Calla Lily
08-04-2009, 10:53 PM
I had more than 200 before I got The Call, so do not despair!

CACTUSWENDY
08-04-2009, 11:23 PM
My hat is off to anyone that can find 50 + agents to send their queries to. We have all heard the stories of the books that were rejected by tons of agents and finally got one only to become the best selling thing around. Sigh.

I agree that you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and just as soon as I get my butt out of this sit-down mode that I am in, I will do it again.

At least we have sisters and brothers here at the AW to lean upon and keep us from doing something stupid like quitting.

Hang in there kiddo. We shall all over come this.

stormie
08-04-2009, 11:30 PM
If it helps, Allen, new agencies that are promising (meaning, the agent had worked in the publishing business before or in an agency as a junior agent) are still starting up, even with the economy the way it is. Don't give up on 50.

Branwyn
08-04-2009, 11:42 PM
I know it doesn't help much, but, you're not alone in the 50& above rejection club. I too am a member.

tbrosz
08-04-2009, 11:49 PM
My hat is off to anyone that can find 50 + agents to send their queries to...

One of the best places I found to discover new agent prospects was this forum's own "Bewares and Background Checks." I'd log in to see the new posts, and check out all the agent names I'd never heard of before. Thanks to people like CaoPaux, there's usually a nice link to the agent's own website and lots of other information on what they like or how good they are. At least a third of my list came from this one source, including the agent I finally ended up working with.

happywritermom
08-05-2009, 12:28 AM
Like many of the others, I had you beat. I'm not sure how many agents I queried, but it had to be at least 50. I finally signed with an agent in May. I sent you a PM. Hang in there!

Shadow_Ferret
08-05-2009, 12:31 AM
This is so annoying that I can't even bring myself to read any of the "I got an agent!!!" threads in the Goals and Accomplishments forum. I just can't.


I right there with you.

RLB
08-05-2009, 01:10 AM
You know, since you've only had one partial request, it's probably not your writing so much as your query letter at this stage. Have you posted in query letter hell? I racked up form rejections at the query letter stage left and right my first time querying. After I revised my query, I started racking up form rejections on partials and fulls...

And yes, The Goals and Accomplishments forum is not for the faint of heart.

underthecity
08-05-2009, 01:39 AM
My query letter went through numerous revisions and rewrites in the QLH forum. After that, I started querying.

I am thinking, though, of running it through QLH again, maybe this time try a different approach.

MsJudy
08-05-2009, 03:52 AM
I'm at more like 75 rejections/no responses. So?

I'm not trying to be flippant or unsympathetic, but that's the reality of this business. It's very competitive, and the gateway to being published is very, very narrow.

There might be an issue with your query. There might be an issue with the premise, that's it's just not something many agents feel they could market. There might be an issue with the writing. Or you may just need to keep going until you find the right person.

But letting yourself get bitter...how is that going to help? So your friend got published easily. Was his book ready? Did it have good sales? Good reviews? Did he go on to build a great following for his next three books?

It doesn't sound like it. So why would you be jealous of his "success"? Sounds like someone pushed his book through before it was good enough, and the readers probably noticed. Did that "big publisher" take any of his next books?

Publishing a bad book is poison. Struggling and honing your craft and finally publishing a really good book is a great thing.

Something about the package you are offering isn't working. So...what are you going to do about it?

vixey
08-05-2009, 03:57 AM
I was at 90-plus rejections when an agent called me out of the blue and asked me to make revisions and send a full. No contract, but...

Keep at it!!!!

xiaotien
08-05-2009, 04:30 AM
i clocked in at 121 agents myself before
landing mine.

i wouldn't compare to other writers or their
journeys to publication. none of it is applicable
to your own personal journey--if you choose to
forge ahead.

it's your story. your writing. your battle.

i love commiserating with other writers because
only WE can understand. and envy (which i have
as well, even as a published author) i use for
inspiration. if you let it turn you to the "dark side"
of why (not) me, etc? then it will become a hindrance
to your success. trust me on this.

/bootay shake! and good luck!

kuatolives
08-05-2009, 04:48 AM
I'm getting close to 600 rejections across a half dozen books. When I hit 500 I tried to kill myself but the gun misfired. :P

scope
08-05-2009, 07:49 AM
It's a bummer to get rejection letters, but for what ever good it might do, know that many others have experienced your sorrow. Basically, the only thing you can control is your story and your query letter. Can you say without doubt that you have a dynamite query letter -- one that intrigues agents or editors so they will request your work? If yes, if you are certain of this, then turn your attention to your manuscript. If you can't say this about your query, or if you have doubts, revise it so it meets these standards. As for your work, lets forget about how well it's written and talk about it's market and potential sales. Is there a large enough market for the book, and have you made this apparent to agents in your query? Same question for potential sales of the book by a publisher?

C.bronco
08-05-2009, 07:52 AM
I don't count mine. Hang in there Allen!

Steam&Ink
08-05-2009, 08:17 AM
I have to second all those who mentioned your query letter. Seeing as 49 out of 50 of these agents have seen only your query letter, it must be your query letter that's killing your chances 98% of the time (wheee, I can do math as well as write mysteries! ;))

I really think you should try a new take on your query. For example, ask one of your beta readers to describe your book to you, and then whip that explanation up into a sexy query letter.
There are probably other ways of doing this, and I'm sure some of the other AW writers know better tips than I do...

Anyway, kudos for hanging in there! :Sun:

Nari
08-05-2009, 10:38 AM
I agree that you might wish to reevaluate your query letter. I, too, have had just over 50 rejections. Two were on fulls, but it has been the encouragement of the response in those two rejections that has kept my effort from going to seed. I've tried different approaches, even a ridiculous one, in the query process and did receive some sound advice from the Query Help section in AW.

It is difficult to condense a full length novel into an articulate and brief query. I would struggle trying to pitch Melville's Moby Dick. What has helped me understand the art of the query letter more is the information I found in Ann Mini's blog (http://www.annemini.com/?m=200908): Author! Author! that you might wish to take a look at.

:)

still alive
08-06-2009, 05:25 AM
Mybe I shouldn't post this, but I think it's funny. I wrote and rewrote my query and did it again, and sent my new pared down to the seed of the novel query to an agent. It's a kinda gritty novel in places, but from my query--and I can see how she saw it that way--I got a quick rejections telling me how sorry she was that she had too much on her plate to take on "this charming story." She said it again in hoping I'd soon find an agent for this "charming" story!

And that came after I'd just read over a part where blood, torn intestines, boar slobber, a cane reed through the eye happened in the climax! I've never had a rejection I enjoyed so much! And through no fault of the agent who went by what I'd sent.

Moral: maybe it's better to use an expanded query and not have your book so wildly misunderstood.

Still Alive

Vespertilion
08-06-2009, 06:45 AM
Got to the end of the fantasy/sci fi agents on AgentQuery today. Not done querying them all, but to see the last page number and no more after it kind of sucked.

Mel A.
08-06-2009, 07:07 AM
I'd be more than surprised if I found a writer who didn't get discouraged from time to time. But don't lament too long. New agents (and new agencies) are popping up all the time, and you never know which one might just be "the one."

The best advice I can offer has been oft repeated in multiple AW threads: start working on something new. Not only does it take your mind off of the dreaded waiting and uphill climb of querying, but it allows you to feel the joy of writing again. After all, that's why we do this, right?

Hang in there!

Calla Lily
08-06-2009, 03:32 PM
Word of caution from the trenches here: 2 years ago I ignored the wise goddess of Writer Beware, Victoria Strauss, and signed with a new agent whose credentials looked okay to me and whose enthusiasm really thrilled me. Victoria had advised me to wait a year to see if this agent had the chops to make a sale. The debacle is chronicled in the B&BC board under Phenom.enon B.ooks (I'm tricking the spiderbots with the title spelled like that because I really, really want that thread to sink into utter oblivion now that I have a legit agent with verified sales). It didn't end well. [/understatement]

Enthusiasm is great, but the right kind of experience, useful industry contacts, and actual sales are essential. It's 100% true that a bad agent is worse than no agent at all.

underthecity
08-07-2009, 02:35 AM
Thanks for the replies. I know fifty rejections isn't that many compared to some, but it is still aggravating and depressing. I mean, it would have been nice if at least one of those rejections was personalized; but no, they were all form.

I posted the query in SYW to see if we can improve upon it.

allen

underthecity
08-07-2009, 06:30 PM
And I'm learning quickly why I've racked up fifty rejections.

jennibly
08-07-2009, 08:07 PM
Kudos for sticking with it and for taking the next steps (SYW, etc) to turn those rejections into requests. Not giving up takes a lot of gumption and your book is totally worth it!

Also, I agree with this:


One of the best places I found to discover new agent prospects was this forum's own "Bewares and Background Checks." I'd log in to see the new posts, and check out all the agent names I'd never heard of before. Thanks to people like CaoPaux, there's usually a nice link to the agent's own website and lots of other information on what they like or how good they are. At least a third of my list came from this one source, including the agent I finally ended up working with.

Two of the three agents who have my manuscript right now are ones that I found through B&BC. I probably wouldn't have found or queried them otherwise. It's a seriously invaluable resource (as is this entire forum, of course).

Calla Lily
08-07-2009, 09:12 PM
Two of the three agents who have my manuscript right now are ones that I found through B&BC. I probably wouldn't have found or queried them otherwise. It's a seriously invaluable resource (as is this entire forum, of course).

I also found my agent through B&BC.

Phaeal
08-09-2009, 06:53 PM
I also found my agent through B&BC.

Me too!

Well, not yet, but the power of positive assertions and all that. I do get one or two new leads almost every day, not to mention invaluable redirection.

Will you marry me, B&BC?