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Zodiark
01-14-2010, 08:52 PM
Hi there =D I've been following this community for about a year now and have finally decided to join - realizing I probably need to join. I have been sending queries out since August 2008, but I have received rejection after rejection (I know many of you can relate). I haven't sent many out in the last few months due to being busy with school, but last spring semester I had let my college English professor look over my manuscript, and she read a little bit and said it was "brilliant." She had let a friend of hers who was another English professor read some of it and she said it was "definitely publishable." I have now come to the conclusion that possibly my lack of credentials is hindering any progress for me. I have read to join writing groups and such or join a school paper, but my school paper only publishes twice a year and the articles are only annoucements for school activities =/ I am planning to transfer from my community college to a 4 year university for Fall 2010, but I was wondering: should I hold off the queries and wait for the fall to seek guidance from English professors in the university? Is there anything else I can do in the meantime so I can build up my credentials? (the only credential I have in writing is winning a writing contest my senior year of high school at a festival for my area, but I doubt that will impress any agents lol). Thank you so much to anyone who has advice!

Parametric
01-14-2010, 08:57 PM
Hi Zodiark! Lack of writing credentials should not be a deal-breaker. Quick diagnostic to figure out why you might be getting rejected:

1. Does your novel fit wordcount parameters for your genre (http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html) and adhere to genre conventions, eg. a romance should have a happily ever after?
2. How many times did you revise your novel?
3. Did you send it out to multiple objective readers, ie. not friends or family? Did you implement the good parts of their feedback and discard the rest?
4. Did you put the query through a query letter workshop?
5. Are you targeting appropriate agents and following submission guidelines?

If you skipped any of these steps, that might well be the cause. Please let us know and we can provide more targeted advice.

edit: I forgot 6. Have you started writing another, better novel? You learn more from each novel you write, and writing the next one might help you figure out what's wrong with this one.

Zodiark
01-14-2010, 09:02 PM
Thanks so much for the quick response, Parametric! I've pretty much done all of this, but what is a query letter workshop?

Parametric
01-14-2010, 09:08 PM
Thanks so much for the quick response, Parametric! I've pretty much done all of this, but what is a query letter workshop?

Ah! Great. Just checking to see if you sent out a first draft - people seem to do that a lot. :tongue If you revised the novel according to beta feedback, and most readers seemed happy with the final product, and it fits genre parameters, I suspect the problem might be with the query.

A query workshop is a place to get your queries critiqued and critique others' queries, which I find is the best way to learn the mysterious art of the query. There are a few kicking around on the internet, but you might try our own Query Letter Hell (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174). Just be careful to read the stickies first.

Zodiark
01-14-2010, 09:12 PM
Ok, great =D I think I'll try that. Maybe I'll check out the beta feedback area from this forum as well (I'm pretty sure I saw a section for beta reading). Thanks for the help!

Parametric
01-14-2010, 09:15 PM
Good plan! Glad I could help. I'll take a look at your query when you post it. :Hug2:

Zodiark
01-14-2010, 09:16 PM
Thank you! I'll go do that in a few minutes =D

AryaT92
01-14-2010, 09:20 PM
Credentials really don't matter that much in my opinion.. I'm a high school senior with literally NO publishing experience or real writing experience at all and landed several agent contracts along with publisher interest.

I would definitely follow Para's advice and post your query in QLH because it could be tainted. A good query will land you a request for sample material, and if your book is really "brilliant" and "definitely publishable" then you will be fine :D Focus more on making the best query letter / proposal rather then trying to fill up a resume in my opinion.

Good luck!

Zodiark
01-14-2010, 09:27 PM
Thanks AryaT92, that's very good advice and congrats with the agent contracts and such =D

Sophia
01-14-2010, 11:08 PM
Hi Zodiark! Welcome to the forum, and I hope you enjoy it here.

Sophia (also a FF XII fan :D )

Zodiark
01-15-2010, 02:56 AM
Lol, thanks a lot Sophia ^_^ (I just beat that game a couple of weeks ago ha ha!)

jclarkdawe
01-15-2010, 06:23 AM
I haven't sent many out in the last few months due to being busy with school, but last spring semester I had let my college English professor look over my manuscript, and she read a little bit and said it was "brilliant." She had let a friend of hers who was another English professor read some of it and she said it was "definitely publishable."

English teachers and professors should be viewed in the same light as your mother. Most of them have no clue what "publishable" means in the real world.

Having read your query and your opening two chapters, you need to get Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print (http://www.amazon.com/Self-Editing-Fiction-Writers-Second-Yourself/dp/0060545690/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263522014&sr=8-1), 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might (http://www.amazon.com/Reasons-Your-Never-Published-Might/dp/0143035657/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263522038&sr=8-1), and The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile (http://www.amazon.com/First-Five-Pages-Writers-Rejection/dp/068485743X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263522063&sr=8-1). Start there and that should help. Neither professor has a clue what publishable means other than maybe in a college literary press.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Twizzle
01-15-2010, 07:54 PM
I wouldn't totally discount a professor's opinion. Just, most of it.

When I was a freshman at UNH, a wonderful professor sent a wonderful note back on one of my papers. Did she have experience/knowledge in regards to commercial publishing? Heck, no. But she was still a reader, and she saw something in my writing. Or so she said.

I still remember that note.

I still, at times, believe she's nuts.

I went on, to graduate, to other colleges. And I did have other professors who had real experience in regards to commercial publishing, and as typical, literary publishing and poetry. I learned a lot. I learned very different things from them all. But honestly, I'd never ask a one to read my writing. The experience they have still isn't relevant to what I write.

My point? If you want to be a writer, imo, one of the most important lessons you need to learn is who to listen to, what to listen to, and when.

And again, jmo, but trying to determine if your novel is commercially viable by asking the opinion of someone with no knowledge of the commercial publishing industry is fruitless. Doesn't mean they can't see something special in your writing, though.

But as pointed out, special isn't enough. (It's a great start, though, and hang on to that.) If you want to be published, go, learn, read, and find the right people to listen to. :)

Zodiark
01-16-2010, 08:10 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone =] I assumed college English professors were the correct people to go to (considering I don't personally know any professional writers =P ) . I will definitely go to the bookstore one of these days and give the books mentioned above a look.