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Annmarie09
06-11-2010, 03:42 PM
Ah, so, me again. I was wondering though, how many rejections do you think it takes until you should just give up and move onto writing your next book? Is there a certain number, when you've run out of agents, or is it something more philosophical?

I've had a full and a partial out, and I just got the partial back today. It was a personalised rejection which made me smile, and she suggested that I need to 'develop more emotion throughout' and 'elaborate on my prose' and 'further relationship development'. I understand what these phrases mean of course, but trying to bend my story until it fits them is another matter. I honestly have no idea how to do it. I've gone through it and edited it so many times already I probably know most of it off by heart. And honestly, I'm just sick of editing now.

So, what should I do? Just keep sending out queries, have one more attempt at fixing it, or just give up and move on and leave it alone to collect cyber dust in my computer?

tirial
06-11-2010, 05:31 PM
I'm not sure at what point you quit. I think it depends on the book and how happy you are with it.

With the first manuscript, I queried five times (getting a range of rejections) and then trunked it. With the current one I queried until I ran out of agents, then started looking up publishers in that field and submitted it to their slushpiles (it might put you at the bottom of the barrel as a blogger said, but at least you're in the barrel). It worked for me, and the book got picked up. Even though it is unlikely, I can't help wondering if the original one would have been published if I hadn't stopped submitting it.

If you are confident in your book, keep submitting it. There's no reason you can't write something new while it's on submission.

Phaeal
06-11-2010, 06:26 PM
If you think you can make the book stronger, using someone's comments or your own evolving insights, do it. It's that simple.

My cut-off point for submissions is infinity. And beyond.*



* Pixar paid me to say that.

cate townsend
06-11-2010, 08:32 PM
If you are confident in your book, keep submitting it. There's no reason you can't write something new while it's on submission.

Exactly.

Ineti
06-11-2010, 11:09 PM
Quit submitting once you've exhausted all of your options for submitting to agents and editors and have researched to find as many options as possible. While the manuscript is making the rounds to all the many many editors and agents out there, work on the next manuscript and work on making it stronger than the one you just wrote.

Good luck!

auntybug
06-11-2010, 11:32 PM
I queried 'till I ran out of agents then I started with publishers. If you have people that love it and you think you have a shot then the answer is never.

If you're tired of it - maybe put this aside for now and write something else. You can always go back to it later. I find after 2 or 3 months - I can fix a WIP in ways I never thought of when I was going through it constantly.

Chin up!

James M M Baldwin
06-12-2010, 12:18 AM
Ahh. The age-old query quandy. You should continue to query and continue to write. If their is sometihing you think you need to change in your book, change it. If there's something specific an agent suggests you change, that's great. take a serious look at it. While you're querying, start your next project, but above all, never give up. Good luck to you.
James

Drachen Jager
06-12-2010, 01:01 AM
I say if the bones of the book are good then keep working on it.

The hardest part of anything artistic is getting it that final 10% from good for an amateur, to fully realized professional work. If you don't learn to do that final 10% now, when are you going to learn it?

Chris P
06-12-2010, 01:10 AM
I'm just starting to query in earnest, so I have no actual experience. What seems like a reasonable course would be to collect any personalized input (if any) from the first batch of Rs, and see if there is a consensus input. If there is and it makes sense to make the changes suggested, then do so and get subbing it again.

I have a feeling I'll know when to quit. Maybe when I'm out of agents to ask, maybe when I identify a fatal flaw that simply cannot be fixed, or when seeing the book in print no longer motivates me. I can't say at this point.

Wordwrestler
06-12-2010, 01:55 AM
Annmarie, I'd suggest leaving this one alone for a month or so, then tackling some revisions based on that feedback. If you see real merit in that feedback, then hold off on querying this project to any new places and give your brain a rest from it.

The way my brain works, I would probably brainstorm ideas for other projects, but make a commitment to myself that I would come back to the original project on a certain date. Or if I were really burned out, I'd just take a few weeks to read, live, etc.

Of course you have to figure out what works for you, but if you are getting personalized, specific comments on partials, I wouldn't give up on this project just yet. Just because you're sick of it (or just sick of editing) right now, doesn't mean there's nothing more you can do with it. And it doesn't mean you won't reach the point where you'll enjoy revising this project.

And trust me, I know all about revising, again, and again. Each time I think I just can't do it again, I find not only that I can, but that after a short break, I can enjoy trying to figure out yet another way to solve this puzzle.

sheadakota
06-12-2010, 02:12 AM
You've recieved excellent advice- I will only add- If you think the stroy is worth it, then work on it- don't give up until its published! I put out over 155 queries before my book was published, I rewrote it 10 times, changed it from first to third person and made a main character out of a minor one- Yes I was sick of it, yes I almost trunked it, Yes I'm glad I perservered!

Wayne K
06-12-2010, 02:19 AM
For editors my number is 19.

Just found out :(

Agents are different. I love querying agents. My number is ?

I haven't hit it yet

Drachen Jager
06-12-2010, 02:40 AM
Oh yeah, if it's any help Annmarie, my final count is 255. I have a bunch of subs out but I'm not sure whether they'll make it or not. There's also probably a few dozen rejections and MAYBE one more request pending but then that's it. If I don't get relatively positive feedback from one of the subs or an invitation to re-submit after some of the problems are fixed (or, of course an offer!) then I'll see.

I still think the book concept and the overall story arc is good so I might re-write the whole thing and try again in a few months.

David Poellot
06-12-2010, 05:23 AM
Quit submitting once you've exhausted all of your options for submitting to agents and editors and have researched to find as many options as possible. While the manuscript is making the rounds to all the many many editors and agents out there, work on the next manuscript and work on making it stronger than the one you just wrote.

Good luck!

Good comments! Thanks for giving me that extra kick!

Annmarie09
06-12-2010, 05:51 PM
Wow, great comments and advice from everyone! I'm really surprised by how many people commented on this...I think everything said on here so far makes sense, it's just that I'm honestly out of ideas about how to improve the book. I know it needs a lot of improvement and I have an idea of where to start, I just don't know how to go about it.

Ah well, I guess I will just come back to it in a few weeks after exams are over and try again, maybe. Querying agents gets quite addicting after a while and I don't want to give up just yet, so hopefully there is still hope. My overall query count (about 35 I think) is not all that high compared to others I've seen, so surely there must be many more eligible agents out there to shoot me down :)

Mystic Blossom
06-16-2010, 07:32 PM
The agent might not be asking for it to fit the agency. To me, that sounds like the agent is concerned that it won't get placed without those edits, though I don't know the whole story. I know querying is the fun part, but you got to get through the muck before you can get an agent, and if you think those edits will help, well, then suck it up and do them. And make sure, if you decide not to edit further, that it's really the best thing for your manuscript and not just you saying, "Meh, I don't feel like working on it anymore." I say this from experience. I might have had a book published by now if I'd been willing to edit the hell out of one of my older manuscripts.

I know. It's harsh. And for all we know, the book may be done and that just might not have been the right agent. But you gotta do what's best for your manuscript, otherwise you're never going to get what you want.

xiaotien
06-16-2010, 08:37 PM
when you don't feel passionate enough
about your novel to keep pursuing it any longer.
when the fire is dimmed, then let go and
move on. it takes a lot to pursue this, so
you must Want It with all your heart.

/bootay shake! and good luck!

alvin123
06-18-2010, 07:30 PM
Weirdly, and I am telling the truth when I say this, but I've completely rewritten my manuscript several times before ever attempting to finding an agent. (The reason I haven't rewritten the manuscript now, for the 8th time D:, is because I feel that it is finally publish-worthy. And guess what? I was still rejected XD
So rejection is normal. They're going to reject you whether you like it or not. It's not that they don't like your work, it's just that they're not "looking" for what you've written at that time.

So far, my rejection count is at 2. The ones that I really really want, still haven't replied yet, so my hopes are still high.

best of luck to you and I hope that you do find someone who takes in the heart and soul that you've created.

kaitie
06-22-2010, 02:26 PM
I've received probably 175 already, and I'm about to throw in the towel on that one. Not so much because I've given up hope on it. I think it's a great story, and publishable, and I've got people telling me that it is all the time and encouraging me. Mostly I'm just almost out of people on my list, and the ones left are left because they aren't likely to be a good fit. I'm not anticipating any more requests, but I'll probably keep sending stuff out just to finish off at least most of them. I've also put in a lot of rewrites myself, and I really do think it's good. I guess it's just not as good as it needs to be.

I'm already writing my next story, though. I started before I even started querying the last. I plan to start sending it out as soon as humanly possible. Hopefully this one stands a bit more of a chance.

KTC
06-22-2010, 02:36 PM
I just keep going and going and going and going. But every once in a while I have this thought:


'Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.' ~Albert Einstein

That keeps me wondering if I'm doing the right thing by believing in my manuscript. But still...I keep trying.

Wordwrestler
06-22-2010, 08:13 PM
KTC, I think there's a fine line between insanity and perseverance, and it's hard to know if we've stumbled onto the wrong side of that line. Personally I'd rather be a little crazy than wonder if I gave up too soon.

Shadow_Ferret
06-22-2010, 11:28 PM
How many rejections does it take to get the point across?

For me, 64.

Jamesaritchie
06-23-2010, 12:05 AM
Ah, so, me again. I was wondering though, how many rejections do you think it takes until you should just give up and move onto writing your next book? Is there a certain number, when you've run out of agents, or is it something more philosophical?

I've had a full and a partial out, and I just got the partial back today. It was a personalised rejection which made me smile, and she suggested that I need to 'develop more emotion throughout' and 'elaborate on my prose' and 'further relationship development'. I understand what these phrases mean of course, but trying to bend my story until it fits them is another matter. I honestly have no idea how to do it. I've gone through it and edited it so many times already I probably know most of it off by heart. And honestly, I'm just sick of editing now.

So, what should I do? Just keep sending out queries, have one more attempt at fixing it, or just give up and move on and leave it alone to collect cyber dust in my computer?

You should move on to writing your next book the moment your previous book is finished.

And you shouldn't pay too much attention to agent requests for rewrites. If an agent gives you a suggestion that you completely agree with, and definitely know how to implement, you do it. If you don't completely agree, or simply have no clue how to implement it, you move on to the next agent. When you run out of agents, you start with editors. But you never give up on submitting the book.

The main thing, however, is that nothing should stop you from beginning your next book, and from making serious progress on it day in and day out.

One of the biggest mistakes new writers make is spending too much time on a book that's already written. Keep submitting it, yes, but do NOT keep rewriting and tinkering with it unless you're absolutely certain the changes will help, and that you know how to implement them.

Seriously, stop messing with the old book. Either it's good enough or it isn't. Get started on a new one, and the moment it's finished, start a third. Rinse and repeat as often as possible.

cate townsend
06-23-2010, 08:53 AM
You should move on to writing your next book the moment your previous book is finished.

Definitely.

Cassiopeia
06-23-2010, 09:08 AM
If being published is your goal, then what is the point of giving up? You never know when just around the corner might be that acceptance. It might not be THIS book or the next one, but don't give up until the dream you have fades away willingly and something else rises up to take its place.

What are we if not our dreams? Never give up, never give in.

shaldna
06-23-2010, 03:50 PM
When you run out of agents then it's time to perhaps put that novel aside and pitch something else.

mario_c
06-28-2010, 08:14 AM
OK you've got a list, right? When you go through the entire list and have applied to every appropriate person on the list, start over with manuscript 2. Lather, rinse, and you know how it goes.
I do scripts so it's a little different - I sent 250 queries out for spec #1. They don't like a (manu)script that's been queried ("out on the town") for too long, it smells like a dud. About a month ago I started over in the list and basically sending a query for spec #2 OR the most appropriate script for them (now that I have five total :D), and when I get to the end I'll start over with what I have by then. The loop takes months, so most of them forget after that time and you can move on to the next one. Meanwhile I'm still writing specs #6, #7 and poking #8 with a stick.
You have to be organized, dedicated and have no life to succeed at this job.

Jamesaritchie
06-28-2010, 05:05 PM
When you run out of agents then it's time to perhaps put that novel aside and pitch something else.

When you run out of agents, it's time to start on the editors.

arkady
06-28-2010, 06:26 PM
I've received probably 175 already, and I'm about to throw in the towel on that one. Not so much because I've given up hope on it. I think it's a great story, and publishable, and I've got people telling me that it is all the time and encouraging me. Mostly I'm just almost out of people on my list, and the ones left are left because they aren't likely to be a good fit. I'm not anticipating any more requests, but I'll probably keep sending stuff out just to finish off at least most of them. I've also put in a lot of rewrites myself, and I really do think it's good. I guess it's just not as good as it needs to be.

Or maybe "good" isn't the deciding factor here. It is also possible that no one is picking it up because it isn't enough like what's on the shelves already, and agents are worried that they won't be able to sell it easily.

As long as a manuscript meets certain basic quality criteria, I very much doubt that many agents are concerned with how "good" it is. The first thought on their minds is "how easily can I sell this?"

I get handwritten rejections all the time. They tell me how much the agent liked the characters, the story, the writing itself, ad nauseam. But at the end is always "but this isn't for me."

Drachen Jager
06-28-2010, 11:34 PM
Or maybe "good" isn't the deciding factor here. It is also possible that no one is picking it up because it isn't enough like what's on the shelves already, and agents are worried that they won't be able to sell it easily.

As long as a manuscript meets certain basic quality criteria, I very much doubt that many agents are concerned with how "good" it is. The first thought on their minds is "how easily can I sell this?"

I get handwritten rejections all the time. They tell me how much the agent liked the characters, the story, the writing itself, ad nauseam. But at the end is always "but this isn't for me."

Don't kid yourself. Quality will always win out. It's easier for a poorly written book to slip through in a highly sought-after genre and it's harder for a well written book to make it in a tough genre but remember two things.

1) If your writing is absolutely top notch you will pick up representation and your books will sell.

2) Your writing could always be better.

Don't make excuses for yourself, they just stand in the way of you and success. Sorry if I'm unloading on you but I'm getting sick and tired of the excuses people make for themselves on the R&D forum.

If you're not getting anywhere it's because you need to improve. The industry is not going to change to suit your needs.


Also, as a general note, a lot of people are suggesting that moving on to the next book is a good strategy. That doesn't make any sense unless you KNOW what is wrong with your current manuscript. If you don't know what's wrong how are you going to fix it in the next attempt? Writing is hard work, if you give up on every manuscript when the going gets tough you're unlikely to accomplish anything.

DeleyanLee
06-28-2010, 11:37 PM
Ah, so, me again. I was wondering though, how many rejections do you think it takes until you should just give up and move onto writing your next book?

Umm...I normally start working on the next book before the last one gets submitted. Or at least the week the last one gets submitted. Sometimes I start writing the next one while the previous one is still going through edits.

Writing, editing and marketing/submission are all different tasks and I'm good at multitasking. Never thought anything about it.

arkady
06-29-2010, 12:07 AM
Sorry if I'm unloading on you but I'm getting sick and tired of the excuses people make for themselves on the R&D forum.

And I'm getting sick and tired of the same old "the one and only reason you're not published is because your writing is crap" mantra. There's more than one reason for not getting published yet. You think you're being "realistic" and "hard-nosed." You're just being naive.


If you're not getting anywhere it's because you need to improve. Have you ever read any of my manuscripts? My handwritten rejections? No? Next, please.


The industry is not going to change to suit your needs.Did I suggest it ought to? Anywhere? No? Then it's a straw man. Next, please.


Also, as a general note, a lot of people are suggesting that moving on to the next book is a good strategy. That doesn't make any sense unless you KNOW what is wrong with your current manuscript. If you don't know what's wrong how are you going to fix it in the next attempt? Careful, "Dragon Hunter." That sounds an awful lot like expecting the industry to change to suit your needs.

Sorry to unload on you, but...

No, I'm not.

DeleyanLee
06-29-2010, 12:23 AM
Have you ever read any of my manuscripts? My handwritten rejections? No? Next, please.

I haven't read yours, but I've read mine. 20 years worth of personalized, hand-written rejection letters, some including requests to "submit your next book directly to me." You want infuriating, try 10 years of "Love your writing, hate this story."

And, yeah, it's because I failed as a writer, plain and simple. Either I didn't tell the story well enough, I didn't tell a story that was worth telling, or I marketed it to the wrong publishing house. All of that is my failures and no one else's.

And that fact is empowering. It means that >I< am responsible and that all changes are up to me. It's luck of the draw, it's not the evil, nasty market, it's all me and I can change me and what I do going forward.

YMMV, of course, but I found that information very freeing.

Drachen Jager
06-29-2010, 12:31 AM
And I'm getting sick and tired of the same old "the one and only reason you're not published is because your writing is crap" mantra. There's more than one reason for not getting published yet. You think you're being "realistic" and "hard-nosed." You're just being naive.
I didn't say your writing is crap. But it has to be in the top 1% for highly publishable genres and .1% for less publishable genres. It can be GOOD without being GOOD ENOUGH.


Have you ever read any of my manuscripts? My handwritten rejections? No? Next, please.

Oh http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146865 isn't yours?


Did I suggest it ought to? Anywhere? No? Then it's a straw man. Next, please.

Well, you say your failure is not about you, then who do you blame? God?


Careful, "Dragon Hunter." That sounds an awful lot like expecting the industry to change to suit your needs.

Sorry to unload on you, but...

No, I'm not.

You're a very angry person. That's unhealthy and unnecessary. If this is how you take constructive criticism it's no wonder you struggle.

arkady
06-29-2010, 01:30 AM
Oh http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146865 isn't yours?My Lord, you actually went to the trouble of tracking down my SYW posting so you could say I'm a "very angry person?" Did you actually read it the first time around, or did you simply want to prove that you'd read something of mine? Why is it so important to you? Never mind.


Well, you say your failure is not about you, then who do you blame? God?Excuse me, but where have I said anything at all about "my failure?"

My comments to the OP were simply that there's more than one reason to be rejected, and taking it for granted that bad writing is always it is wrong. None of this was intended or in any way represented as pertaining to me personally.


You're a very angry person. That's unhealthy and unnecessaryThank you, doctor.


If this is how you take constructive criticism it's no wonder you struggle.What "constructive criticism?" I replied to the OP's question, and you responded with a tirade -- one that was apparently supposed to be softened by "sorry if I'm unloading on you." When I got angry at being unloaded on, you retreated into "You're a very angry person. That's unhealthy and unnecessary." None of this was in any way "constructive criticism." Since you seem to enjoy reading my SYW postings, you might keep right on and go through all of them, in order to see how I take genuine constructive criticism.

Since you've already jumped on me in another thread for stating that manuscripts can be rejected solely for marketing reasons, I'll end this -- and end my participation in this thread -- with the same quote from James Ritchie:


Jamesaritchie, 11/17/09

"Doesn't grab me" means the same thing as any other no. It means, "I can't sell this novel." I don't always agree with James, but that one was a real eye-opener for me. And I have gone on that axiom ever since.

Drachen Jager
06-29-2010, 01:43 AM
What "constructive criticism?" I replied to the OP's question, and you responded with a tirade

Wow. You think that was a tirade? I think you'll find most people wouldn't agree.

I think the reason it angers you is that you WANT me to be wrong.

And yes, by the way I did read your SYW before my initial post and yes, I think your writing needs to be improved before you'll get anywhere, and yes, I still think you're foolish for continuing to bash ahead with your writing, 'career', without first looking at your work and how you can improve it.

Also, one rejection is a rejection, on it's own a meaningless bit of data. Thoroughly querying a book and having it rejected has a meaning. That is the difference between what I said and what Mr. Richie said. Anyone can be proven wrong if you take them out of context to make a straw man.

Peace out.

Eddyz Aquila
07-06-2010, 05:37 AM
Don't kid yourself. Quality will always win out.

Then how do you explain the amount of crap that's out on the market?



Also, as a general note, a lot of people are suggesting that moving on to the next book is a good strategy. That doesn't make any sense unless you KNOW what is wrong with your current manuscript. If you don't know what's wrong how are you going to fix it in the next attempt? Writing is hard work, if you give up on every manuscript when the going gets tough you're unlikely to accomplish anything.

Good point, but once you've done so many drafts and you just cannot work any more on it, what's left to do? From your case, you do not know what's wrong with it. You can either hire an editor to work over it or you just continue.

Pisarz
07-06-2010, 09:32 PM
I'm at the point of giving up on my current MS and moving on to the WIP exclusively. I've had about a dozen requests for material, all rejections. I have a few still pending, but it isn't hard to read the tea leaves. I have no reason to think someone is going to suddenly love this novel.

Oh, and I'm also out of agents to query.

It sounds like you are a loooong way from that point, so don't do what I'm doing right now. Keep going!

Annmarie09
01-14-2011, 01:25 AM
Woah...this topic has been dead for a long time. After temporarily leaving AW, I didn't expect to come back to so many posts. But thank you, everyone. Despite the little squabble, everyone here has been really supportive and it's nice to know that I'm not the only insane one, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
Keep going, guys. We'll get there eventually.