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EnnaEnoch
06-24-2010, 04:03 AM
I started querying some agents. A few have asked to read partials and fulls but I find myself getting this response:

"Your writing is very strong,I enjoyed reading this, and I can definitely see why you have interestóbut Iím afraid that I just didn't connect with this in the way that I'd hoped."

Can someone please explain to me what they mean by not being connected as they hoped? If they enjoy the writing, story and everything else, why do they pass?

What is this "connection" they are talking about? Because honestly, every single book and agent accepts can't have this amazing connection. I've read too many book to count where I found no connection what so ever.

Any advice? Thanks

ChaosTitan
06-24-2010, 04:08 AM
It's a form rejection. It's a polite way of passing on the project, and you can't read any further into it than that.

EnnaEnoch
06-24-2010, 04:10 AM
I thought so. But so close, especially when agents are reading your full.

ChaosTitan
06-24-2010, 04:11 AM
It is very close, and it's frustrating to not get anything more specific. But keep at it. The simple fact that you're getting requests is awesome! :)

EnnaEnoch
06-24-2010, 04:12 AM
Oh I know! :) I was surprised by the responses so fast. Just trying to keep positive.

kellion92
06-24-2010, 04:56 AM
The other one is "didn't love it enough." It just means the person wasn't the right agent for you. Keep querying -- if you're getting request, your query is working.

One question: Have any partials turned into fulls? That could be another clue to see where you are losing the agents' interest... If not, you may want to have a tough reader look at your opening chapters.

EnnaEnoch
06-24-2010, 04:59 AM
So far I had a mix with the rejections between the full and partials. And I worked with an editor on my manuscript also.

But in less than a week I've gotten a wide variety of responses.

triceretops
06-24-2010, 05:02 AM
"Didn't fall in love with it like I'd hoped" is another variation of the form.

Keep subbin'

Tri

Drachen Jager
06-24-2010, 06:30 AM
Agents are often quite vague. That's why I bought some books which deal with these sorts of issues. After a week of reading and tweaking I feel like I have a really strong chapter 1 now (at least it's MUCH stronger than it was before). My only feedback on it from agents was, "Didn't connect", "Didn't connect with the voice.", and "Didn't connect with the voice of the lead.", but, even with that meagre input I think I've pinned down the problems with the help of a few books.

IMO it's seriously worth having a second look at your writing. Worst case scenario you learn a few good tips and your writing improves.

Everyone SAYS that writing is highly subjective but the truth is only a book that's mediocre will receive rejection from most agents. If it is TRULY REALLY good then most agents will go for it. Don't let the rejection get you down, but don't let people's well-meant words get in the way of your self improvement either. Rejection is the industry's way of saying you CAN do better and if you want to be truly successful you MUST do better.

EagerReader
06-24-2010, 06:49 AM
I also think there are books that we "really like" and books that we fall in "love" with. I can only imagine with the volume of books an agent gets, they would pick the ones that they fall in love with. And that might mean they turn away some wonderful books. As cliche as it is, the subjectiveness comment is dead on.

arkady
06-28-2010, 06:56 PM
"Your writing is very strong,I enjoyed reading this, and I can definitely see why you have interestóbut Iím afraid that I just didn't connect with this in the way that I'd hoped."

It means "I don't think I can sell this."

Drachen Jager
06-28-2010, 08:26 PM
It means "I don't think I can sell this."

No, it means you have the bones of a good story but you need to work on your technique. I think it's foolish, so many people here try to blow off rejections as something tangential, like it isn't really about YOUR book.

Even form rejections should tell us something, it's not specific but you know there's SOMETHING wrong. Find it and fix it or educate yourself so you can find it or get help, paid or otherwise. If you don't you're just spinning your wheels and not learning anything.

You cannot improve if you don't acknowledge that there is a need to improve.

arkady
06-29-2010, 01:09 AM
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.

Jamesaritchie
06-29-2010, 04:41 PM
As Arkady says, it means "I can't sell this." Unless an agent asks for a rewrite, this is all a rejection ever means. It isn't about connecting, it isn't about grabbing, it isn't about hating, liking or loving.

Agents use all sorts of code for things they can't sell.

But any good agent or takes on books she personally hates, if there's a market. Likewise, and good agent or editor rejects books she personally loves, if it won't sell.

The "help" a writerneeds usually has nothing at all to do with technique, technique is easy, it has to do with learning what does and doesn't sell.

lilacat
07-09-2010, 06:55 PM
Requests are as significant as rejections. Remember that. You are getting interest--run with that. Find the right agent.

SomberBee
07-16-2010, 07:36 AM
This is a great thread. I was wondering what the hell the "didn't connect strongly enough" meant, especially after the full request, from a DREAM agent, was received within four hours of my initial query email. Humbling. Talk about depressing...

lemonhead
07-30-2010, 02:00 AM
Yeah I'm glad I came browsing. Out of a meager handful of queries (five) two agents asked to see more, one read a full and came back with "liked it but couldn't get as excited about it as I need to in order to sell it" and considering the time the other agent is taking with my partial, I'm expecting the same.

I guess I need to work on it some more. As soon as this lady rejects me, I'll get to work- thanks to this thread I am now convinced it needs work.

Drachen Jager
07-30-2010, 02:17 AM
You may never see that rejection lemonhead, don't wait for it. Quite a few agents fail to respond to partials when they're not interested and too many do that with fulls too.

lemonhead
07-30-2010, 02:55 AM
You may never see that rejection lemonhead, don't wait for it. Quite a few agents fail to respond to partials when they're not interested and too many do that with fulls too.


to be fair to her- it's only been like 10 days- and she's been on vacation.

I'm just a wee bit impatient.

But I did start working on it again already. lol.

Drachen Jager
07-30-2010, 04:03 AM
Ten days is nothing, she probably hasn't read it yet. Still, unless it's exclusive it's worth querying more. Only a very small percentage of requested material leads to an offer of rep. Better to have a few in the fire.

kellion92
07-30-2010, 05:13 AM
Lemonhead, I agree that it's early. Don't tinker if you don't know what to fix -- if you DO know, go ahead, but all that one rejection on a full tells you is that that one agent wasn't the agent for you. Better to bring your query total to ten first... Two requests out of five is excellent!

GrammarGoddess
08-31-2010, 12:03 AM
I've gotten the same responses lately. I liken it to dating in that there are a lot of people we could potentially like and spend a small amount of time with, but only a few we can love enough to spend a LOT of time with. And if these agents choose to represent us, they will have to spend a lot of time with our manuscripts. I know I wouldn't be able to talk enthusiastically about a "date" that I wasn't so wild about. I'd never be able to "sell" him to my friends; they'd see right through me.

This is just what I tell myself, of course, so I'll mope less and drink less wine after getting rejected. :)

Mr. Anonymous
09-01-2010, 05:18 AM
Everyone SAYS that writing is highly subjective but the truth is only a book that's mediocre will receive rejection from most agents. If it is TRULY REALLY good then most agents will go for it. Don't let the rejection get you down, but don't let people's well-meant words get in the way of your self improvement either. Rejection is the industry's way of saying you CAN do better and if you want to be truly successful you MUST do better.

I beg to differ. Let's think about this for a moment, shall we? I am an agent. I get, say, 100 emails a day. Let's say I'm a real hard ass, and I request material from 1% of queriers. That is 1 manuscript per day. That's 365 manuscripts per year. Again, I'm a real hardass, so 90% of these manuscripts aren't very good. The other 10%, read as 36-37, are at least good. 10 might be quite good. But if I'm a high profile agent with a long list of clients and a pretty full plate yada yada, I'm not going to take on 10 quite good novels and add them to my plate. Because next year I'll have to take on ten more. And ten more after that. I will bury myself in manuscripts I think are quite good from writers I think are quite good. And so I will choose 1 or 2 that I like most and/or that I think are sure sells.

The other thing is that some people just won't GET what you're doing. This isn't an artsy fartsy defense. It is just reality. This is why when you get personalized feedback, it is often contradictory.

I've had one top agent say my first 10 pgs (included in the query) were overwritten, needed a lot of work, and when I asked her if I could try her again if I went back and revised, she said no (she did, however, tell me she liked the query a lot.)

On the other hand, I've had a something like 15 or so agents request material based on query + pages. One agent declined my query on my current project, but she asked me to keep her in mind for my future work because the writing in my writing sample was "very good." I've had agents say they couldn't connect with my characters and I've had agents say they found my characters very likable/sympathetic. One assistant told me my writing was "very good" and an intern fell in "love" with my partial. If I had written this book 5 years later, when the intern was a literary agent in her own right and queried her with it, I might not still be searching for representation. Instead, all her love can do is pitch it up to the actual agent.

Of all the agents who rejected my materials, only one big-shot old timer made absolutely no comment about what he liked or didn't like and simply said, read it, looked over my list of editors, and came to the conclusion that I don't know the right people to have a good shot at selling this.

I think what most agents are looking for is a combination of something they really LOVE as well as something they can sell, and it is VERY hard to make someone fall in love with your work. So no, I don't believe that if most agents reject your work, it automatically makes it mediocre.

flygal716
09-21-2011, 06:12 PM
I'm bumping up this old thread, as I recently received two of these "it's not you, it's me" rejections. One said, "I ultimately didn't fall in love with the manuscript as much as I had hoped...I wasn't as engaged by the plot as I would have to be to take this on." I had laid out the plot in my query and synopsis. ?? The other R said, "I love your writing and the plot is very clever, but somehow I did not really get into the flow of the story."

What is the flow?? Is it different from the plot?

Just feeling a bit down here. I've had 3 fulls and 1 partial rejected so far. 7 more out there in the ether. Trying not to obsessively check my inbox.

Drachen Jager
09-21-2011, 08:25 PM
Flow can mean a few different things. IMO she's probably referring to either the connectivity of scenes, or the curve of events. I've actually blogged about both of these, because it was a problem I encountered and (I hope) overcame in my own writing. With some support from Kurt Vonnegut and the creators of South Park.

http://brassbolts.blogspot.com/2011/06/curves.html
http://brassbolts.blogspot.com/2011/09/and-then-vs-but-and-therefore.html

kenpochick
09-21-2011, 09:17 PM
Everyone SAYS that writing is highly subjective but the truth is only a book that's mediocre will receive rejection from most agents. If it is TRULY REALLY good then most agents will go for it.


I don't agree with this at all. I have read a number of best sellers that I thought were absolutely terrible, but clearly other people liked them. On the other hand I've had series that I love that don't get continued because of poor sales. Everyone has different interests and tastes. It's finding the match that matters.

flygal716
09-21-2011, 09:53 PM
Flow can mean a few different things. IMO she's probably referring to either the connectivity of scenes, or the curve of events. I've actually blogged about both of these, because it was a problem I encountered and (I hope) overcame in my own writing. With some support from Kurt Vonnegut and the creators of South Park.

http://brassbolts.blogspot.com/2011/06/curves.html
http://brassbolts.blogspot.com/2011/09/and-then-vs-but-and-therefore.html

"And then vs. but and therefore" -- terrific lesson there. Think it couldn't hurt to take another look at my flow. :)

Thanks for sharing these links. I enjoyed reading other posts on your blog, too.

Undercover
09-23-2011, 12:26 AM
Well, yet another request of mine came back...that makes 4 declines (one full/ three partials) I have 8 left, but I have a bad feeling it's just not going to work. Call it pessimistic, but I can't get passed the query. All who've requested it (the ones that only want a query at first and NO writing sample) have declined so far. And all I am getting is, "didn't fall in love with it"..."didn't grab us enough" and "the narrative didn't resonate enough".

I sincerely don't know what these agents want. I put (as all of us writers do) all the heart and soul I could conjure up and pump it out that way. But even then, it doesn't work.

RobJ
09-23-2011, 12:31 AM
Chin up. All these rejections will make that acceptance so much sweeter.

Undercover
09-23-2011, 12:48 AM
I just made a "love me not" thread too and shoulda just put my woes here, it's pretty much the same darn thing.

Flygal, no worries...you have quite a few requests out there still. Promise to think of that, and I will too on mine.

Calla Lily
09-23-2011, 12:58 AM
Merging this thread with the "Loves book but not connecting" thread.

Please move your tray tables to their upright and locked positions. Merging in 3...2...1...


ETA: You are now at your thread destination. Thank you for flying R&D Air. :)

Undercover
09-23-2011, 01:38 AM
Haha...thanks Calla, i appreciate that!

Sage
09-23-2011, 01:49 AM
Well, yet another request of mine came back...that makes 4 declines (one full/ three partials) I have 8 left, but I have a bad feeling it's just not going to work. Call it pessimistic, but I can't get passed the query. All who've requested it (the ones that only want a query at first and NO writing sample) have declined so far. And all I am getting is, "didn't fall in love with it"..."didn't grab us enough" and "the narrative didn't resonate enough".

I sincerely don't know what these agents want. I put (as all of us writers do) all the heart and soul I could conjure up and pump it out that way. But even then, it doesn't work.
You are getting past the query. You have 12 requests.

You have twice as many agents still reading it than you've had reject their requests, so keep up the hope.

I understand your frustration about the generic "didn't fall in love with it" rejections. You're hoping for feedback you can use, but these don't tell you anything particularly constructive. They might mean that there's something seriously wrong or it might just mean that it wasn't the novel for them or it might mean that one little element rubbed them the wrong way. Who can say?

But stay positive. You still have 8 requests out there. It's a good sign, though not a guarantee of an offer (speaking from experiences). If they fall through, there are other agents to query, but if you do get rejected by the rest, get a fresh batch of betas to give you feedback and see if you can suss out what the problem is.

It's a hard road, I know. Good luck. :Hug2:

Stacia Kane
09-23-2011, 02:32 AM
What is this "connection" they are talking about? Because honestly, every single book an agent accepts can't have this amazing connection. I've read too many book to count where I found no connection what so ever.


Actually, I think in general they do accept books they feel that amazing connection with. Almost every agent I know talks about their clients' books with that kind of enthusiasm; they talk about how much they loved/identify with/feel for the characters, and/or how the writing sucked them in, and how enraptured they were.

Agents are readers, just like any other; sure, they read for business, but don't you read books that you connect with like that? The fact that you don't connect with every book you read explains it perfectly, really. Agents don't connect with every book they read, either. But just because Book A doesn't connect with you doesn't mean it isn't capable of connecting with someone else. I hear from readers all the time who connected very strongly with my heroine, but there are some out there who don't get her at all. That's just the way it is. That's what "subjective" means. That book in your hand that you just think is okay? Some agent out there loved it, and so did an editor, and so, probably, do quite a few readers.

Kellion has it right here:


It just means the person wasn't the right agent for you.




I've gotten the same responses lately. I liken it to dating in that there are a lot of people we could potentially like and spend a small amount of time with, but only a few we can love enough to spend a LOT of time with. And if these agents choose to represent us, they will have to spend a lot of time with our manuscripts. I know I wouldn't be able to talk enthusiastically about a "date" that I wasn't so wild about. I'd never be able to "sell" him to my friends; they'd see right through me.



I've actually described it that same way myself. There are a lot of good people out there, but you're not going to connect with them all the same way. There are people out there you like a lot but just don't fall in love with, and that's just as it is with books, too.





Call it pessimistic, but I can't get past the query. All who've requested it (the ones that only want a query at first and NO writing sample) have declined so far. And all I am getting is, "didn't fall in love with it"..."didn't grab us enough" and "the narrative didn't resonate enough".

I sincerely don't know what these agents want.


I apologize for my bluntness here, and mean no insult, but it appears pretty clearly that what they want is stronger writing.

They all like your query, but no one who sees the actual writing wants more. That tells you something important. Again, I don't mean to be rude or cruel or anything, but perhaps it's time to take a break from querying and really focus on the craft of writing?

Did you ever go back to the very good crits you were given in SYW (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222898), and incorporate those suggestions?

Have you read SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS (http://www.amazon.com/Self-Editing-Fiction-Writers-Second-Yourself/dp/0060545690/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316729250&sr=1-1)? Studied it, and done the exercises? How about THE FIRST FIVE PAGES (http://www.amazon.com/First-Five-Pages-WriterS-Rejection/dp/068485743X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316729346&sr=1-1)? I found SELF-EDITING to be particularly helpful, and also really enjoyed Pat Walsh's 78 REASONS WHY YOUR BOOK MAY NEVER BE PUBLISHED (http://www.amazon.com/Reasons-Your-Never-Published-Might/dp/B0048BPDRW/ref=sr_tc_2_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1316729624&sr=1-2-ent) to be useful and fun to read. (There's another craft book I liked that I recently re-read but I can't remember the title; it was kind of tongue-in-cheek, like Walsh's. It may have been this one (http://www.amazon.com/Write-Novel-Them-Misstep-Misstep/dp/0061357952/ref=pd_sim_b24)?) All of those books taught me something when I started getting serious about writing; I still enjoy rereading all of them (though it's been a while); and all of them got me excited about my work when I read them, which of course you probably are anyway but it's just fun (and the reason why I occasionally re-read them).

And of course there's ELEMENTS OF STYLE (http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-4th-William-Strunk/dp/0205313426/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316729808&sr=1-1), which is always useful, and also a good dictionary and thesaurus. I notice you often make homophone/homonym errors in your posts (like in the quote above, you'd written "passed" instead of "past," but I fixed it). I see basic grammar and punctuation errors, and awkward phrases. I know this is just an internet forum and we all make the occasional typo or unthinking error, but I've seen them in the pages you've posted in SYW as well, so thought I'd mention it.

Again, I really am not trying to hurt you or upset you or tell you that you have no talent or anything. But judging from the excerpts you've posted in SYW and especially from the reactions your queries and partials are getting, I think there's some work to do before your actual writing will interest agents who actually sell to major houses.

I really, really hope you find this post--and the books I recommend--helpful. I think your ideas are truly fantastic and I'd love to see your name on my bookshelves. I just think there's still some work to do, especially because your ideas are so fantastic; once your writing hits a publishable level and lives up to the promise of those incredible story ideas, there'll be no stopping you, and I honestly believe that. And I hope those books (and posting in SYW, and critting for others, and really studying the way your favorite books are written and why the authors chose every word they used and all of that--I recommend you do as much of all those things as is humanly possible) can help you get there.

DeaK
09-23-2011, 03:01 AM
What is the flow?? Is it different from the plot?


Drachen Jager has some good ideas of what to look into. Also, it could be pacing that's the issue.

Actually, I just read something really useful about how to control pace Ė here (http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/2009/05/big-mistake-2-problems-with-pace.html) it is.

flygal716
09-23-2011, 03:50 AM
I just made a "love me not" thread too and shoulda just put my woes here, it's pretty much the same darn thing.

Flygal, no worries...you have quite a few requests out there still. Promise to think of that, and I will too on mine.

Same number of requests as you have, actually. 4 rejections (3 fulls and 1 partial), 8 still hanging out there. Be optimistic! Any of those 8 or others that you query soon could fall in love with your story.

flygal716
09-23-2011, 03:51 AM
Merging this thread with the "Loves book but not connecting" thread.

Please move your tray tables to their upright and locked positions. Merging in 3...2...1...


ETA: You are now at your thread destination. Thank you for flying R&D Air. :)

:-)

flygal716
09-23-2011, 04:03 AM
Drachen Jager has some good ideas of what to look into. Also, it could be pacing that's the issue.

Actually, I just read something really useful about how to control pace Ė here (http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/2009/05/big-mistake-2-problems-with-pace.html) it is.

Thanks! Good article. My main trouble spot in my book, I believe, is the first 50 or so pages. Once the book gets going, there's more of an inevitability to the sequence of events and chapters. As I got toward the end, I felt that the flow came more easily.

The beginning was very difficult for me and needed many rewrites over years (don't ask how many), because there was so much to get in there. Back story, action, hints and clues, and most of all voice and strong character depiction. I was a picture book writer before and did not have much experience with developing a story, working with flashback, or any number of other things. So, maybe the beginning reads a little like starting a car in winter.

Just a guess at what the problem might be. The book has been read by two teams of beta readers and gone through years of critique groups. I think I will see what other responses come. Maybe I'll know what to do with it next.

Undercover
09-23-2011, 02:09 PM
Thank you both, Sage and Stacia for your input.

Old Hack
09-23-2011, 04:31 PM
Lmc, you might find it painful listening to Stacia's advice but from my point of view (and remember, I was an editor for years and have all sorts of experience of dealing with slush) I think she's spot-on.

Take a few deep breaths and re-read Stacia's post, then think again how it might apply to you. We only want to help you get published: we're not trying to upset you or single you out.

Undercover
09-23-2011, 04:53 PM
It's all good. I've been reading and listening and ingesting it all and I'm sure she is right. It's probably not strong enough. But it's too late for the ones who have it. So I'm just going to consider those all a bust. Time to move on. Thanks again.

ChaosTitan
09-23-2011, 05:45 PM
It's all good. I've been reading and listening and ingesting it all and I'm sure she is right. It's probably not strong enough. But it's too late for the ones who have it. So I'm just going to consider those all a bust. Time to move on. Thanks again.

Move on how? What is your plan now?

Are you going to quit querying for a few months and focus on improving your writing? Are you going to print out the posts from your SYW threads and examine, really examine, the reasons for the crits given? Not just each specific error, but the why behind each thing the critters pointed out? Are you going to hit the library or your local bookstore and find the books Stacia mentioned? Are you going to spend some time reading them, studying them, and then applying the things you've learned to your writing?

Venting here and then thanking us for our advice is all well and good, but you're the only person who can make your writing better. And the only way it's going to get better is through education and hard work.

And the hard work? It never ends, no matter how many books you've written or published.

Lady MacBeth
09-23-2011, 06:21 PM
I've had one top agent say my first 10 pgs (included in the query) were overwritten, needed a lot of work, and when I asked her if I could try her again if I went back and revised, she said no (she did, however, tell me she liked the query a lot.)

On the other hand, I've had a something like 15 or so agents request material based on query + pages. One agent declined my query on my current project, but she asked me to keep her in mind for my future work because the writing in my writing sample was "very good." I've had agents say they couldn't connect with my characters and I've had agents say they found my characters very likable/sympathetic.

I think what most agents are looking for is a combination of something they really LOVE as well as something they can sell, and it is VERY hard to make someone fall in love with your work. So no, I don't believe that if most agents reject your work, it automatically makes it mediocre.


This has been my experience too. You have to be open to the fact that your book might need more work, but on the other hand, different people have different opinions.

DeaK
09-23-2011, 08:19 PM
Thanks! Good article. My main trouble spot in my book, I believe, is the first 50 or so pages. Once the book gets going, there's more of an inevitability to the sequence of events and chapters. As I got toward the end, I felt that the flow came more easily.

The beginning was very difficult for me and needed many rewrites over years (don't ask how many), because there was so much to get in there. Back story, action, hints and clues, and most of all voice and strong character depiction. I was a picture book writer before and did not have much experience with developing a story, working with flashback, or any number of other things. So, maybe the beginning reads a little like starting a car in winter.


Sounds like you might know what the problem is, then. Good luck :)

Phaeal
09-23-2011, 10:41 PM
What connection means, in my opinion, is "WOW!" rather than, "Well, that was pretty good."

A reader invests relatively little in a book that's just "pretty good." An agent will be investing far more energy and effort into selling a book, so she's likely to save herself for the "WOWs!" and let the "pretty goods" go. And, of course, one agent's "pretty good" could be another agent's "WOW!"

You definitely want the "WOW!" agent, rather than the "Meh, I've seen worse. I'll give it a shot, I guess."

Stacia Kane
09-24-2011, 04:25 AM
Just adding here...I didn't pull the "It's the writing" answer out of my ass. This is something countless agent/editor/industry blogs have said repeatedly over the years. A few minutes with Google and a couple of blogs netted me these examples, just a few out of many:


http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2006/10/chances-are.html


If you are getting is form rejection letters, the odds are it's your writing. (50% of the writing I get is just not good enough to consider further).


http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2007/04/when-is-enough.html


If you're getting form letter rejections of full and partials, you need fresh eyes. Time for some beta readers with teeth.


http://emilycaseysmusings.blogspot.com/2011/07/define-rejection-and-make-it-work-for.html


Because if you're getting form rejections from all the agents who requested pages, but you're getting personalized rejections or even partial requests from agents that only saw your query letter, you've learned something. It's your writing, and not your premise. Your query letter is fine. It's the writing sample that was weak.


http://jmeadows.livejournal.com/665020.html


All that to say, if your query letter works (you've had smart crit partners approve, or you're getting requests off it when no sample pages are asked for), and you're not getting what you want still, the next place to look is the manuscript itself.


http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/02/art-of-reading-rejection-letters.html


So let's say you received twenty-five rejections from agents on the query to your new novel. If you didn't get any requests for partials at all, and you only got form letters in return (i.e. a rejection that didn't specifically mention an aspect of your work), something's wrong. It could be that your project isn't marketable, your query letter wasn't good, you queried the wrong agents... something that is preventing you from getting in the door. It doesn't necessarily mean you're a bad writer, it just means that you're in for a reevaluation of your project and your approach.

If, however, you're getting requests for partials (hooray for you!) and fulls (even better!), but you're not getting an agent to bite, it may mean that you're close but that something isn't quite right, and maybe you can make some changes that will make your project better.


http://querytracker.net/success/jeanniel.php (an interview with author Jeannie Lin)


Oh yes, and every form rejection means one thing: your writing is not strong enough.



So lest anyone think the general concept of my reply was aimed directly at Lisa, it was not. I did make some specific comments to her, yes, but the overall reply wasn't based on my opinion alone; it's commonsense, industry-standard advice that I've seen hundreds of times.

flygal716
09-24-2011, 02:37 PM
What connection means, in my opinion, is "WOW!" rather than, "Well, that was pretty good."




That makes a lot of sense. Looking for someone out there to feel the "wow."

Undercover
09-24-2011, 04:16 PM
A lot of helpful information in this thread...it's enlightening! Thanks Stacia for all those links. It's a huge maze full of goodies to guide and direct you where you wanna go in telling you what level you're on as far as your writing goes.

Thanks again Stacia. And I know you weren't directing it to just me. This goes for everyone here. Like I said, everyone wants the same thing, but what everyone needs to know is that some writers are at different levels and stages of the game then others. And some have really been through the ringer. It pains me to see such a thing when all you want is the best for them. Don't give up! Stay positive. Even if you have to convince yourself of that. I too, am the very same way as far as my writing goes. If I get a rejection, yes, it is a set back and it stings for a day or two...but I move on and move on with challenging myself that much harder to achieve my goal. Again, rejections can and sometimes will get you off track. Just a long as you don't stay off track, I think that's what matters most.

So with that in mind, hopeful thoughts to everyone and good luck too. Let's keep the hope and most of all keep your writing alive! If you recieve a rejection, challenge yourself to do better, whatever it takes.

I know I can talk out of the two sides of my mouth sometimes, which can get me into trouble, but I usually bounce back into the positive and forge ahead. So if anyone ever runs into my bleak posts, I apologize. Anyways...rambling on and on...

FlyGal, keep me posted okay girlie? Will give you a buzz later.

Undercover
09-26-2011, 10:24 PM
Well I got another "I just didn't feel passionate enough to offer representation"...

feeling bummed out again

Stacia Kane
09-27-2011, 03:13 AM
Sorry, Lisa, that sucks. :(

Was that on a partial or a full? Just curious.

Paul
09-27-2011, 03:15 AM
I started querying some agents. A few have asked to read partials and fulls but I find myself getting this response:

"Your writing is very strong,I enjoyed reading this, and I can definitely see why you have interest—but I’m afraid that I just didn't connect with this in the way that I'd hoped."

Can someone please explain to me what they mean by not being connected as they hoped? If they enjoy the writing, story and everything else, why do they pass?

What is this "connection" they are talking about? Because honestly, every single book and agent accepts can't have this amazing connection. I've read too many book to count where I found no connection what so ever.

Any advice? Thanks

I wonder are there many sites to advise agents in the art of rejection, as there are query ones for writers.

there's 3 answers folks, only 3.

yes
no
maybe. (revisions)


i really dont think writers need much more.

ok. some clarification

no, loved it but i dont think i can place this is acceptable, if its just one sentence! (ok, not just one sentence, but one meaning - dont think i can sell it! end of)

yes is always acceptable.

maybe with revisions is acceptable.

that's it.

who needs to know if someone has 'connected' or not? name any book, many will not have connected. who cares? 'I can't sell it', grand - no prob. of course, that might imply lack of contacts or something, but to me its the only acceptable type of comment other than a straight yes.

Undercover
09-27-2011, 03:27 AM
Sorry, Lisa, that sucks. :(

Was that on a partial or a full? Just curious.

it was a query to a full...there was no writing sample in the beginning. i still don't understand why agents would want to jump from just seeing a query to wanting the full when they haven't seen the writing sample.

Why do you ask? Now you got me curious too. Wondering if there's a pattern there.

Sage
09-27-2011, 03:31 AM
I wonder are there many sites to advise agents in the art of rejection, as there are query ones for writers.

there's 3 answers folks, only 3.

yes
no
maybe. (revisions)


i really dont think writers need much more.
Well... there is and there isn't.

There's "no" but that comes across as pretty harsh. Sure, it's no less informative than "I just didn't fall in love with it," but you're sure going to get more people thinking of you, as an agent, favorably with the latter. And then there are the "no"s that come with extensive notes on why it's a "no." Agree with the feedback or not, those rejections are like gold. And the agents giving that feedback probably see promise in that author and want to help them with not only that book, but the next one too, which they might get to see (if the author doesn't grab an agent with the first)

Obviously, a maybe needs more than "maybe," since you have revisions. Boiling it down to "maybe" makes no sense.

And "yes" needs to be much more than "yes." It needs to be gushing about all the things the agent loves about the book and asking about other books the author has written/may write and discussing things that they might want changed (specifics, please). Most authors go with the first agent to offer, even if they get many others. You know why? Perceived enthusiasm.

Paul
09-27-2011, 03:38 AM
Well... there is and there isn't.

There's "no" but that comes across as pretty harsh. Sure, it's no less informative than "I just didn't fall in love with it," but you're sure going to get more people thinking of you, as an agent, favorably with the latter. And then there are the "no"s that come with extensive notes on why it's a "no." Agree with the feedback or not, those rejections are like gold. And the agents giving that feedback probably see promise in that author and want to help them with not only that book, but the next one too, which they might get to see (if the author doesn't grab an agent with the first)

Obviously, a maybe needs more than "maybe," since you have revisions. Boiling it down to "maybe" makes no sense.

And "yes" needs to be much more than "yes." It needs to be gushing about all the things the agent loves about the book and asking about other books the author has written/may write and discussing things that they might want changed (specifics, please). Most authors go with the first agent to offer, even if they get many others. You know why? Perceived enthusiasm.
ok, ok.

what i'm really saying is the 'gushing letter of love', but 'no thanks', not even considering revisions is counter-productive. (to me a critique is only valid if there's a re-send at the end of it.)

(of course more detail is required for a yes or maybe but you get my point. i hope)

Sage
09-27-2011, 03:40 AM
A gushing letter of love that's still a "no" tells me to query that agent FIRST with my next book

Paul
09-27-2011, 03:41 AM
argggh.

:D

I submit.


to your sageness :)

Undercover
09-27-2011, 04:23 AM
And "yes" needs to be much more than "yes." It needs to be gushing about all the things the agent loves about the book and asking about other books the author has written/may write and discussing things that they might want changed (specifics, please). Most authors go with the first agent to offer, even if they get many others. You know why? Perceived enthusiasm.


It is so this that every writer waits for. We all want this agent too. Not the one that says, "Well I guess so" "Maybe if you do this that and the other" (which may or may not be so good if there are all these revisions to be made) Cause some STILL can say no even after that!

You want that WOW, I love this thing till no end. Sage is right on the money, it's that one specific agent that shows the most enthusiastic interest and wants you to sell that book and be a part of it all.

And it's very few and far between agents that help you in a detailed way out of the kindness of their heart's. If that would be cooler then a "Going to pass, sorry" but again, hard to come by.

Sage
09-27-2011, 06:02 AM
it was a query to a full...there was no writing sample in the beginning. i still don't understand why agents would want to jump from just seeing a query to wanting the full when they haven't seen the writing sample.
Because there's no reason not to request the full if it's being e-mailed. Once it arrives in the inbox, the agent can choose whether they want to see just a few chapters first or the whole thing, but they have it and can read the whole thing without further requests if they fall in love with it. It just takes out an extra step for them.

Phaeal
09-27-2011, 05:41 PM
Because there's no reason not to request the full if it's being e-mailed. Once it arrives in the inbox, the agent can choose whether they want to see just a few chapters first or the whole thing, but they have it and can read the whole thing without further requests if they fall in love with it. It just takes out an extra step for them.

This. I wouldn't be surprised if e-submission of requested material didn't make the partial obsolete.

If I were an agent, I would want to see a five page sample with the query, though. No use raising hopes by requesting a full, only to reject on the grounds that the writing itself doesn't work for me, which I can tell from five pages, or less.

Undercover
09-27-2011, 07:23 PM
If I were an agent, I would want to see a five page sample with the query, though. No use raising hopes by requesting a full, only to reject on the grounds that the writing itself doesn't work for me, which I can tell from five pages, or less.


This should be standard procedure for agents as in the submission guidelines. You are so right Phaeal. If the agent doesn't even like the writing itself then it's a no go. The writing is what's going to sell, not the concept. Nothing is original anymore. All new ideas stem from some other idea, or a mix of new ideas that were from old ones before it. You can have an awesome super idea that's top notch...but if the writing sucks, the book sucks. Then again writing is so damn subjective you really never know.

Alwaysinspired
09-27-2011, 07:33 PM
Most agents are very very picky when it comes to choosing to represent someone. There's a lot of variables involved, but the most important one is do they think they will be able to sell the book to a publisher and will the book make them and the author money. Personally, he or she could connect to a book, but if they think it won't be "marketable to the masses" (I hate that phrase btw), then they'll pass. I know it's frustrating, especially when they've requested material. Use that frustration to keep persevering, because eventually someone will listen. Have you thought about bypassing the agent and going right to the source? I did and so far so good :)

Undercover
09-27-2011, 07:50 PM
It all boils down to money. That's pretty much it.

ChaosTitan
09-27-2011, 07:52 PM
It all boils down to money. That's pretty much it.

Well, yeah. Publishing is a business. And year after year, business that don't make money fail.

Calla Lily
09-27-2011, 08:08 PM
Well, yeah. Publishing is a business. And year after year, business that don't make money fail.

+1

No one in commercial publishing is running a charity. We all have to learn to write something that will sell, or choose to write for personal pleasure only.

Undercover
09-27-2011, 08:10 PM
Well, yeah. Publishing is a business. And year after year, business that don't make money fail.


Very true. I was surprised to see Virtual Tales go under...the last I read of that publishing house. I don't know what's happened to it now, but. I see it all the time. It's scary. You have to be careful who you submit to. I remember reading that thread and feeling so horrible for those poor authors involved.

but this is off the mark. sorry. just sayin'.

Fuchsia Groan
10-12-2011, 12:35 AM
I got yet another rejection along these lines yesterday, but it contained a phrase about finding lots to like in the book. Still the standard form rejection with a friendlier tone? Probably. I got a lit magazine rejection recently that read something like "We were very impressed with your writing; please try again." Obviously still a form letter, but hopefully not the only one they send.

When I reject books for review at my (newspaper) editorial job, I try to be as neutral as possible, talking about how I get lots of submissions and can't cover everything, etc., so the author doesn't get illusions one way or the other. So these warmer rejections do throw me a bit.

That said, after what feels like a million rejections (maybe 70 on two books), I recently got an offer from an agent who did connect with one of them. So maybe it's time to stop parsing the rejections. Will my book not sell because the volume of rejections proves my writing sucks? Since I was revising and learning about the market throughout the submission process, and my recent submissions have drawn more full requests than early ones, I hope that's not the case.

I know a writer who claims he sent out 800 queries before getting an agent. His book was well reviewed in major mags and newspapers but didn't sell well. His agent dropped him. What does that story prove? In my view, he's a great writer (technically speaking), but he's from another generation, and most readers don't "connect" with his stuff, and he doesn't want to try to connect with most readers. It happens.

Old Hack
10-12-2011, 09:43 AM
I got yet another rejection along these lines yesterday, but it contained a phrase about finding lots to like in the book. Still the standard form rejection with a friendlier tone? Probably. I got a lit magazine rejection recently that read something like "We were very impressed with your writing; please try again." Obviously still a form letter, but hopefully not the only one they send.

If the rejections you're getting are personalised, and mention some of your plot points or characters, and highlight something that was good or bad in your book, then you have reason to be pleased: it means that some sort of connection was made. But it is still a no.

If those rejection letters are friendly but not personalised, they're still a form rejection.


That said, after what feels like a million rejections (maybe 70 on two books), I recently got an offer from an agent who did connect with one of them. Hurrah!


So maybe it's time to stop parsing the rejections. Will my book not sell because the volume of rejections proves my writing sucks? Since I was revising and learning about the market throughout the submission process, and my recent submissions have drawn more full requests than early ones, I hope that's not the case.

I know a writer who claims he sent out 800 queries before getting an agent. His book was well reviewed in major mags and newspapers but didn't sell well. His agent dropped him. What does that story prove? In my view, he's a great writer (technically speaking), but he's from another generation, and most readers don't "connect" with his stuff, and he doesn't want to try to connect with most readers. It happens.

You gain nothing by trying to analyse your rejections; having had lots of rejections at query stage doesn't necessarily predict how your book will be received by editors, as there are so many factors involved; and you don't know why that writer got dropped by his agent. The agent could have been retiring, the writer could have been difficult to work with, he might have changed direction as a writer; you just don't know.

Just write the very best books that you can, make them shine, then send them out to the most appropriate places you can think of. Focus on those steps, not on trying to decipher rejection letters that have no deeper meaning.

AgathaChristieFan
10-26-2011, 12:03 AM
Hello, I'm new to this board. Sorry if this question belongs somewhere else, but how many rejection letters should a writer receive before moving on to their next story to try and get published?

Old Hack
10-26-2011, 12:48 AM
You shouldn't wait until you get those rejections before starting work on your next book. Get writing. Write all you can. Don't assume that your first, fourth or nineteenth book will be published: just write your socks off, and submit when you have time between chapters.

AgathaChristieFan
10-26-2011, 08:01 PM
You shouldn't wait until you get those rejections before starting work on your next book. Get writing. Write all you can. Don't assume that your first, fourth or nineteenth book will be published: just write your socks off, and submit when you have time between chapters.


Thanks for the advice. I've been writing as a hobby for a long time. Now, I'm in the mindset of wanting to get published to share my stories with others. I was just curious of the publishing process and what I can look forward to.