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virtue_summer
01-03-2010, 03:19 AM
I just received another rejection on my novel. This makes 27 (either form or non responses) and it's starting to get me down. And the usual arguments to cheer myself up aren't working. I just wish there was a way to find out why it's being rejected. I don't expect this from agents. I understand they're busy. But where else can I get feedback? The novel has been beta read, including by a professional author. The first chapter went on SYW and garnered nothing but positive comments (the only time I remember that happening). The query went on SYW and thanks to helpful comments was revised multiple times before being sent out. I researched agents as much as possible to try to target the ones who seemed most appropriate and personalized queries when I could do so legitimately. So I followed all of those recommended steps. I just don't know what I could have done differently and I don't know where to go from here. Should I try to revise my query again since that's the stage at which it's being turned down (although most of my queries went out with at least the first five pages attatched)? Should I forget about this novel altogether and just focus on finishing the next? What if whatever is turning agents off of this one does the same with the next? Since I don't know what the problem is I don't know if it's unique to this novel or this query or not. Sorry, guys. Just had to vent.

dawinsor
01-03-2010, 03:31 AM
Oh wow, Virtue Summer, I feel your pain.

It looks to me like you've done the best you can and been very sensible. There are things you have no control over and you can't worry about them.

My suggestion is to keep querying this one while you work on the next one. Make a list of agents and as soon as you get a rejection or pass the time limit you've set for not hearing, send the query out again. Treat that as a business action, not something you spend time and emotional energy on. In the meantime, write the next one. Writers write and a writer doesn't write just one book. You'll be happier thinking about your new characters and plot.

Best wishes. Hang in there.

William Haskins
01-03-2010, 03:52 AM
if you have more than 27 people on your mailing list, you keep submitting it.

you have to realize that 2009 was something of a miserable year, economically speaking, for publishers. to what extent that impacted your submissions, i have no way of knowing.

but if you believe in the work and have truly had positive comments from worthy readers, you just have to hang in there.

or cry and go crawl into a corner.

DWSTXS
01-03-2010, 04:03 AM
well, at 27, I'd say you got a good start. I queried 185, and got nothing. I decided that novel no. 1 was done, and I finally trunked the novel, and just consider it as my 'learning experience'. Now I'm working on no. 2.

There's someone here on AW that has a line in their sig that says that Gone with the Wind was rejected 132 times, or something like that, so at least you know that you're not alone in your rejections.

Calla Lily
01-03-2010, 04:07 AM
Oh wow, Virtue Summer, I feel your pain.

It looks to me like you've done the best you can and been very sensible. There are things you have no control over and you can't worry about them.

My suggestion is to keep querying this one while you work on the next one. Make a list of agents and as soon as you get a rejection or pass the time limit you've set for not hearing, send the query out again. Treat that as a business action, not something you spend time and emotional energy on. In the meantime, write the next one. Writers write and a writer doesn't write just one book. You'll be happier thinking about your new characters and plot.

Best wishes. Hang in there.

This.

I completely understand your sadness and frustration. I had more than 150 Rs for 3 books before my agent signed me. Hit the good chocolate and keep writing!

Mharvey
01-03-2010, 07:16 AM
I just received another rejection on my novel. This makes 27 (either form or non responses) and it's starting to get me down. And the usual arguments to cheer myself up aren't working. I just wish there was a way to find out why it's being rejected. I don't expect this from agents. I understand they're busy. But where else can I get feedback? The novel has been beta read, including by a professional author. The first chapter went on SYW and garnered nothing but positive comments (the only time I remember that happening). The query went on SYW and thanks to helpful comments was revised multiple times before being sent out. I researched agents as much as possible to try to target the ones who seemed most appropriate and personalized queries when I could do so legitimately. So I followed all of those recommended steps. I just don't know what I could have done differently and I don't know where to go from here. Should I try to revise my query again since that's the stage at which it's being turned down (although most of my queries went out with at least the first five pages attatched)? Should I forget about this novel altogether and just focus on finishing the next? What if whatever is turning agents off of this one does the same with the next? Since I don't know what the problem is I don't know if it's unique to this novel or this query or not. Sorry, guys. Just had to vent.

Not sure what your situation is exactly, but if you have gotten 27 rejections without any sample requests, take heart in one thing: it's not your novel. It's your query letter.

Write a good query letter, and it doesn't matter how bad your novel is - you will get sample requests. It's when the sample requests come back with form rejections several times that you might have to *really* worry.

If folks are saying your novel is good, it probably is. I've been working for almost a half-year now, on and off, on my query alone. Dozens upon dozens of drafts - all of them have sold me short. When it comes to writing Query Letters, I'm the worst writer in the world.

Take heart. Chin up - it's a New Year. Post your query letter in the section, and let's take a look at it.

OctoberLee
01-03-2010, 07:39 AM
I agree with what's been said above. I think you definitely need to take a look at your query letter. Parse it down. Is it more than 300-400 words? Even though the first five pages are attached, the agents probably aren't even reading them if they have already decided to reject by the time they hit the bottom of your query.

Another thing to look at might be the word count. Are you querying a 100,000 word YA novel? (Just an example, but a lot of agents might be put off by that word count for YA, despite the success of longer YA novels recently). Probably not, as you said you put your query in the SYW.

Finally, maybe send it to Janet Reid, the Query Shark. Just make sure you follow the directions!!! She'll tell you what's wrong with it if she picks your query.

Best of luck! :)

suki
01-03-2010, 07:53 AM
I just received another rejection on my novel. This makes 27 (either form or non responses) and it's starting to get me down. And the usual arguments to cheer myself up aren't working. I just wish there was a way to find out why it's being rejected. I don't expect this from agents. I understand they're busy. But where else can I get feedback? The novel has been beta read, including by a professional author. The first chapter went on SYW and garnered nothing but positive comments (the only time I remember that happening). The query went on SYW and thanks to helpful comments was revised multiple times before being sent out. I researched agents as much as possible to try to target the ones who seemed most appropriate and personalized queries when I could do so legitimately. So I followed all of those recommended steps. I just don't know what I could have done differently and I don't know where to go from here. Should I try to revise my query again since that's the stage at which it's being turned down (although most of my queries went out with at least the first five pages attached)? Should I forget about this novel altogether and just focus on finishing the next? What if whatever is turning agents off of this one does the same with the next? Since I don't know what the problem is I don't know if it's unique to this novel or this query or not. Sorry, guys. Just had to vent.

Could be one of a few things that are causing the results you list - 27 rejections without any partials or fulls requested: (1) your query isn't as solid as you think, or something in it is causing an autoreject response; (2) your first five pages aren't hooking the agent; or (3) you just haven't found the right agent yet.

Even in the craptastic year that 2009 was, if your query was adequate and your first five pages great, you'd probably be seeing at least one or two partial requests out of 27 queries (assuming you queried the "right" agents - agents who rep your genre and are looking for clients, and assuming you followed their guidelines). So, something is not working for you. Let's take it apart.

I went looking in SYW - I found your query, but not the first part of the novel. Did you post the first 1,500 words of the novel under a different AW screen name?

If you've been querying with something close to the last version posted in QLH, then I'd say the problem is likely your first five pages or you simply haven't found the right agent yet, because the query was a bit emotionless but it was clear - so at least some of the "right" agents should have scrolled down to the pages (ie, assuming they rep supernatural thrillers, some of 27 should have looked at the attached pages).

So, I'd say repost your first 1,500 words of the book in the appropriate SYW forum for comment. And I might even go ahead and take another shot in QLH with the exact query you have been sending out - just to make sure something in it isn't sabotaging you.

Assuming after the additional comments on the first 1,500 words and the query, both still seem solid, then you really can only keep querying until you run out of viable agents to query. Some folks here queried 100+ agents until they found one. So, if the pages and query check out, keep going. And in the meantime, start working on a new book, so if (and it's a hard thought, but if) this book doesn't land you an agent, you are ready to go with something new.

good luck.

~suki

backslashbaby
01-03-2010, 09:01 AM
Honest crit? I think the query lacks voice to the degree that I'd question how the novel sounds. And the supernatural part came too out of the blue (or just too late?) in the query. Let me know the kidnapper is the MIL before I envision a thriller-type story, and I want to feel the spooky in a story like yours, from the start.

You should post the first 5 pages in SYW :)

virtue_summer
01-03-2010, 09:26 AM
Wow. Thanks for all the support. Yes. I suspect the problem has to be with the query. It's so difficult to get across the plot coherently and with a sense of character in so few words. Anyway, if anyone wants to check here's my query letter (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140188). My first chapter is here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82644), so if you're interested you won't have to go searching (it's an early version but this chapter didn't undergo any big changes in editing). Would it make sense to try running the query through SYW again?

suki
01-03-2010, 10:24 AM
Wow. Thanks for all the support. Yes. I suspect the problem has to be with the query. It's so difficult to get across the plot coherently and with a sense of character in so few words. Anyway, if anyone wants to check here's my query letter (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140188). My first chapter is here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82644), so if you're interested you won't have to go searching (it's an early version but this chapter didn't undergo any big changes in editing). Would it make sense to try running the query through SYW again?

It cant hurt to run the query through QLH again - you might get different critters this go round. And to make sure it does you the most good, actually post what you've been sending - ie, if you have been personalizing, put in one or more of the personalizations, etc. I've seen some only vet the "meat" of the query, and then it's some part the add without vetting it in QLH that does them harm.

~suki

Jamesaritchie
01-03-2010, 09:59 PM
As others have said, your novel isn't being rejected, your query letter is. My first question is are you including the first three to five pages of your novel along with the query? If not, you should be. Good sample pages can often save the worst query letter.

My next question is are you just giving a list of plot points in your query letter, or are you using the query letter to tell an exciting, riveting story in its own right?

I still maintain that the best opening to a query letter I've ever read came from an agent's post a couple of months back. The very first words said nothing about the plot of the novel, nothing about it's length, etc. They were: She had a plan. She had a Goddamn plan.

Hook the agent. Don't tell her about your story, tell her the story itself.

dawinsor
01-03-2010, 10:17 PM
You might be interested in this recent post from Janet Reid, Virtue:

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/