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Sky Lumina
07-05-2010, 12:09 AM
ok, what i thought would never happen, happened: i got discouraged so badly that i quit writing my second novel halfway through. i tried to get my first one out there while starting on the second but after about 50 rejections or so (i didn't count the exact number) i thought f*** it, this isn't how it's supposed to be; with the queries, everything so damn shallow and nice, playing by rules more than by imagination.
this has nothing to do with expressing one's soul. art's supposed to break the rules, not add to them. i'm so angry and disappointed at the whole capitalistic system. nobody cares anymore. and now it's gotten so far that even when i do feel like i want to write, i don't, because then i have to think of stupid mansucrpit formats (WTF??). it seems the world is over the whole poetic way of showing some personality and stuff.
anyone agree?

Polenth
07-05-2010, 12:41 AM
You don't have to take part in the capitalist system when it comes to writing. The internet means you can offer your work for free, without needing to worry about commercial viability. Or you can do a bit of both (I have some free stuff and I sell things).

Whatever you decide, I'd recommend not worrying about manuscript formatting or submission guidelines while you write. Write in whatever way works... then format it for submission when you're finished.

backslashbaby
07-05-2010, 12:57 AM
I was going to say the same thing!

Offer your art on a website. People will enjoy that. Problem solved :)

The publishing business is a business. It might not be what you are looking for, but please don't stop writing!

leahzero
07-05-2010, 02:17 AM
You have to figure out what your goals are.

Is your goal to be published by a publishing house? Then you're going to have to conform to the rules and standards of the publishing game. These formalities are less strict when it comes to smaller, independent presses/publishers.

Is your goal simply to write and share your work with the world? Then all you need is a web site.

Geek_Pride
07-05-2010, 02:19 AM
You have to figure out what your goals are.

Is your goal to be published by a publishing house? Then you're going to have to conform to the rules and standards of the publishing game. These formalities are less strict when it comes to smaller, independent presses/publishers.

Is your goal simply to write and share your work with the world? Then all you need is a web site.

I have to agree with this :)

Drachen Jager
07-05-2010, 05:42 AM
The capitalist system is about earning money from your writing. Most great artists struggled to make a living in their lifetimes, if you want to join those ranks fill your boots!

Personally I love writing but I'm pretty keen on the idea of earning a living by my pen rather than it being an expensive hobby that I can hope sends my name through the ages.

Sky Lumina
07-05-2010, 02:31 PM
thank you all very much for your replies! :)

well i did dream of making a living out of writing, but the only reason for this was the freedom that i expect to come with the whole package of art, you know? if it's the way it is now and half the things i like get censored then i might as well get a normal office job.

the idea of a website and just sharing my work with the world does sound interesting, i'll think about it. at the moment i'm just still so demotivated that it'd take a bunch of people to be interested in reading my stuff. but still right now i'd rather just give up and invest my energy into things that get me more feedback, that again keeps me going, you know?

i'll consider doing the same as Polenth though....if i muster the motivation for it somehow...

Calla Lily
07-05-2010, 06:38 PM
(The Lily resorts to cliche)

The only thing I have control over is my attitude. I repeated this through gritted teeth for many years. Yes, years.

However, I always knew this was a business. Sure, it's art, but everyone needs to make rent. Me, my agent, the publisher. So, I worked to write a book that would make an agent and then a publisher say: We can make a buck off this. Sign her up! What I do is hone my art to lure in readers. This is how it's worked for me. Good luck.

Jamesaritchie
07-05-2010, 07:56 PM
ok, what i thought would never happen, happened: i got discouraged so badly that i quit writing my second novel halfway through. i tried to get my first one out there while starting on the second but after about 50 rejections or so (i didn't count the exact number) i thought f*** it, this isn't how it's supposed to be; with the queries, everything so damn shallow and nice, playing by rules more than by imagination.
this has nothing to do with expressing one's soul. art's supposed to break the rules, not add to them. i'm so angry and disappointed at the whole capitalistic system. nobody cares anymore. and now it's gotten so far that even when i do feel like i want to write, i don't, because then i have to think of stupid mansucrpit formats (WTF??). it seems the world is over the whole poetic way of showing some personality and stuff.
anyone agree?

You're not serious, are you?

Art is also supposed to be about quality, and 99% of what is called art is just crap on a cracker.

I've heard a lot of anger when writers can't sell, but this is the first time I've heard capitalism blamed. Of that unbelievably unfair need publishaers have for format that actually makes writing readable, even though most of it still stinks on ice. Especially when the writer starts calling it "art."

The only real rule is that you have to write something worth reading.

You really do get what you pay for in this life, and free is almost always worth exactly what you pay for it, which is nothing. If you've read any of teh crap called "writing" on teh internet, you should know what I mean. If you don't know, what you write will still be crap, but you can save face by calling it "art."

You aren't being censored for anything except lack of quality. The a lot of BS about great artoists striggling, not taking part, not being part of the capitalistic system, but the truth is that the moment these artists created something worthy, they were paid for it, and they all took the money.

But, oh, that dreadful manuscript format that's so unfair and so incredibly difficult to get right! Oh, that unGodly demand for quality and talent! It's just not fair.

I do think you'll be better off giving your magnificent "art" away on the internet. At least you won't be forcing people to pay for it. It will still cost them time, and that's sad, but at least it won't cost them money. You can stick your nose up in te air, wallow in your great imagination, call yourself an "artist", and justify your failure inside your own mind.

Sometimes not being able to write is the greatest gift the world can be given.

cate townsend
07-05-2010, 09:42 PM
If you're giving up because of rejections, then why are you writing?

Kalyke
07-05-2010, 10:21 PM
I have been thinking of the "alternate strategy" I will use if my work is unpublishable by the popular publishers. e-publishing and contests seem to be fairly good ways to get a first book out there. I want to offer one book to the Amazon new author contest, and also try to find an e-publisher who publishes off-brand kind of semi-literature. I feel that paper bound books will be things of the past very shortly and I am very impressed by e-publishers. I feel shortly, you will see authors who are only found on the internet, and who are never found on book store shelves. I see hard copies of a book as simply advertising devices to get your name out there.

I totally agree with #10 post above. Writer's Write. You should write even if you cannot make any money from it. Obviously, it is much better if you do. I can see the argument that "you need money"-- so do I, and it is "time consuming," -- It certainly is that too, but if you are a writer, you have an inner compulsion to create stories and set them down on a page, and there is no amount of rejection that will make you stop doing this, because it is hardwired. --- Book writing has never been a money making proposition for me. I try to explain this to certain people I know who do not consider anything valid unless money is the end result. -- I personally do not understand them.

Sky Lumina
07-06-2010, 12:14 AM
Use Her Name, it's interesting, in my heart i have to agree with you, but for some reason the wrong thoughts get in my way at this stage.

cate townsend, good question. though i'm currently not writing. or i am in my head but...i dunno, it's weird.

Jamesartchie: i'm not angry about the general guidelines, i even think they make sense. i have seen a horrible example of a manuscript (well, sort of) gone to hell. i get that it's supposed to be enjoyable and great etc etc. what makes me angry is when i do things published authors have done, which are exceptions to those guidelines but good ideas (and really minor things too that no person in his right mind would ever stop to think about 'cause they're just natural) - and from me the same thing that i've already seen a million times in perfectly published books get rejected; that is ridiculous and in no way justifyable in my opinion.
also i get that everyone's trying to make money of course; but they are so damn hellbent on it that they will not take a tiiiny chance to try something new. everyone seems to be on the safe side. and i'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are in fact true artists but who just haven't made it. there are many famous examples of people who died before they made it, even. so what does that tell you?
is something only good if it makes money? if you think so then we'd better agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Polenth
07-06-2010, 02:01 AM
also i get that everyone's trying to make money of course; but they are so damn hellbent on it that they will not take a tiiiny chance to try something new. everyone seems to be on the safe side. and i'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are in fact true artists but who just haven't made it. there are many famous examples of people who died before they made it, even.

I think the point James was making that you're missing is it's unlikely you're being rejected for being too new and different. Most rejections are due to quality issues.

Whether people will read anything you put online will also be down to quality.

There are examples of people who were rejected when they were awesome, but the chances of being one of those people is slim. Getting angry at the system means you're not looking at your writing to see if it could be improved, because you're assuming the rejections were someone else's fault.

If you want to just share stuff with the world, all of that doesn't matter much. We don't care about quality when a five-year-old brings home a painting either. But if you want a big readership, whether commercially or through the internet, quality matters. You won't get a big readership unless you're critical about the quality of your own work.

Miss Plum
07-06-2010, 03:21 AM
art's supposed to break the rules, not add to them.
Have you really thought this through? Every time I encounter this notion, I find very little intellectual rigor behind it.

aadams73
07-06-2010, 03:34 AM
....if i muster the motivation for it somehow...

I think now's a good time to sit down and ask yourself what you want from writing and how much do you want it. Not everyone is cut out for publishing, which is often a grueling and disheartening business. But, as others have pointed out, there are other alternatives. If writing brings you joy, I see no reason to stop. You just never know what's over that next hill.

Chris P
07-06-2010, 03:49 AM
I agree with Leah, you have to decide what your motivation is and understand the publishing is a business while writing is the art.

However, for sake of friendly (and I do mean friendly) debate, what's the alternative to capitalistic publishing? Let's say we do make publishing completely about the merit of the art and not about the almighty dollar. Who, then, determines if the art has merit? It would simply be impossible to publish everything anyone writes, and then let the community decide. There are not enough trees/recycle bins to supply the paper, and I don't have the time to read as much as I want to as it is. The only way I could see it working is if there were some criteria by which art could be deemed meritorious. This can only be done via review, which immediately gets us into cronyism, censorship and the same gripes as before about a system or group of individuals (artists versus capitalists) who determine what we read. At its most innocent it's the hive mind of the group's personal taste that determines what is "art." You've solved nothing by doing this. You have also insulted a great number of people who will pay for art.

Zefiris
07-06-2010, 03:53 AM
also i get that everyone's trying to make money of course; but they are so damn hellbent on it that they will not take a tiiiny chance to try something new. everyone seems to be on the safe side.


I actually get what you mean with this. I've had two rejections so far saying they like my writing, like the concept, characters etc but don't think my novels marketable :(

Tis annoying, I mean come on...take a bloody risk!

Anyway, don't give up fella! Keep trying and eventually, hopefully you'll get your writing published.

Sky Lumina
07-06-2010, 12:36 PM
Polenth; i've had everything proofread, my manuscript is definitely clean and the story is subjective, wouldn't you say?

Miss Plum: i've not only thought this through, i've OVERthought it. of course it depends on how much of the rules are broken. sure there are many who use this point as an excuse, but i still think that with art should come at least SOME freedom.

aadams73: this is exactly why i'm posting here although i'm starting to think even that was a mistake since almost nobody seems to get my point and most mistake me for someone who writes crap and blames others for this (i have experiences that state i'm not among those - not that i should even begin to justify myself).

Chris P: I never said what was being paid for wasn't art. WHERE did you read that in my lines?? Also, I merely stated my opinion. If anyone draws offence from that it's really not my problem.

Zefiris: finally a reply that's actually ecouraging instead of bashing someone you know nothing about! Thank you!
This is exactly what I was talking about; no-one wants to take a risk, even if they could easily afford it.

maryland
07-06-2010, 12:51 PM
I agree with Zefiris and go back to the talent that emerged in the sixties. People in all the arts experimented - it didn't all 'work' but we have benefited from it since. Jack Kerouac with his non-stop roll of paper going through the typewriter - terrible formatting!
Those Samisdat writings from behind the Iron Curtain are probably collectors' pieces now.
Buy a set of ten ISBN numbers, make up a press name for yourself and print out chapbooks from your own computer- that's available to everybody on here, and at least starts the ball rolling. It takes away from that rejected, isolated feeling.
I'm very near to doing this with single (or a couple of) short stories and leaving them on trains! Once you think AWAY from money-making, the entire world opens up into possibility after possibility.
And then...........

Sky Lumina
07-06-2010, 03:29 PM
aha, this is interesting. never heard of that one before! i might look into it, thanks! :)
though at the moment i think that maybe i ought to decide which of my passions means the most to me and invest all of my time and energy into that, rather than put all hope into something i'm not strong enough for. i'm just someone who gets crushed very easily.

kaitlin008
07-06-2010, 04:20 PM
Polenth; i've had everything proofread, my manuscript is definitely clean and the story is subjective, wouldn't you say?

Miss Plum: i've not only thought this through, i've OVERthought it. of course it depends on how much of the rules are broken. sure there are many who use this point as an excuse, but i still think that with art should come at least SOME freedom.

aadams73: this is exactly why i'm posting here although i'm starting to think even that was a mistake since almost nobody seems to get my point and most mistake me for someone who writes crap and blames others for this (i have experiences that state i'm not among those - not that i should even begin to justify myself).


I get your frustration. I really, really do. Querying is hard, it hurts, it makes you question yourself as a writer, feel jealousy towards those who get over the hurdle, etc. There are people who get it on their first try, but for most people, it's not the first book that gets them an agent.

It's hard to see in the moment, but what people are saying isn't necessarily that you are a horrible writer, your book might just not be quite there yet. Just because your writing is free of technical errors doesn't mean the rest is subjective. There are many other things that could be wrong.

Your freedom of creativity isn't taken away by agents, and they aren't mean, and they aren't out to get new people. It doesn't sound to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) like you're doing anything really strange with your book, since you said "what makes me angry is when i do things published authors have done, which are exceptions to those guidelines but good ideas..." which means that agents or publishers are unlikely being turned off by your formatting, but something else. You keep talking about the rules you're breaking--exactly which rules are you breaking that are so horrible? (I'm being genuine with that question).

Everyone in this situation is trying to earn a living, that's just the way it is, but if your book is great, someone will want it. It might not be the first book. Like I said above, usually it isn't. But that doesn't mean you should give up.

However, if you don't want to do it this way (which is totally fair), you've seen lots of suggestions for what you can do instead, and those are all great and valuable ideas as well.

Sky Lumina
07-06-2010, 04:42 PM
kaitlin: "You keep talking about the rules you're breaking--exactly which rules are you breaking that are so horrible? (I'm being genuine with that question)"
i don't even remember all of it but there's one that especially galled me; an agent complained about me using three dots when a sentence wasn't completed in direct speech. sure i've seen it done differently too, but i've also seen it with the dots, so i don't see the big problem. i wasn't even aware of the fact that i had apparently broken a rule (one that is completely unnecessary anyway).

true, it might not be perfect enough. but one can never know. either i keep trying (which i can't, this endeavor will only piss me off even more if i do) or i give up.
and yeah, there are those other options that sound less draining, but i just don't know anymore. i'm not strong enough to be a saleswoman, i'm just a feeble writer (or so i thought).

Amadan
07-06-2010, 05:21 PM
kaitlin: "You keep talking about the rules you're breaking--exactly which rules are you breaking that are so horrible? (I'm being genuine with that question)"
i don't even remember all of it but there's one that especially galled me; an agent complained about me using three dots when a sentence wasn't completed in direct speech. sure i've seen it done differently too, but i've also seen it with the dots, so i don't see the big problem. i wasn't even aware of the fact that i had apparently broken a rule (one that is completely unnecessary anyway).

true, it might not be perfect enough. but one can never know. either i keep trying (which i can't, this endeavor will only piss me off even more if i do) or i give up.
and yeah, there are those other options that sound less draining, but i just don't know anymore. i'm not strong enough to be a saleswoman, i'm just a feeble writer (or so i thought).


Honestly, I think you've got a bit of Special Snowflake Syndrome. "Why will no one recognize my genius? I'm creating art here, why is everyone complaining about rules?"

The thing about writing rules is this: every rule can be broken if you're good enough.

Everyone who thinks they are brilliant and original and creative and too artistic to be shackled by the rules meant to bind lesser writers takes the first part of the above statement to heart, and ignores the second part (or simply assumes that they are, in fact, good enough). Then when they get slammed for breaking the rules, they write rants like yours, accusing the publishing industry of being a bunch of crony capitalists who just don't recognize creativity and talent when they see it.

For example, I find your posts difficult to read because you refuse to capitalize the words beginning your sentences. Maybe you think that is artistic and expressing your personality; I find it distracting and annoying. Do you expect agents to look past things like that to see the hidden genius in your words?

backslashbaby
07-06-2010, 06:12 PM
I support what I think you're saying. Let's see:

-- I'm good at the creative parts, but I might suck at the business side of things, including querying, etc. Why are creative types not allowed to suck a little at business?

-- While the industry is freaked out by things like really crossed genres, the book can still be amazing. They aren't necessarily willing to put their necks out to try something unproven in the marketplace. That clashes with the artistic side of things and is not a quality problem.

Sky Lumina
07-06-2010, 07:33 PM
Amadan: *sigh* firstly, i guess all i wanted by posting here was to find out if there are others who agree with me and to see that i'm not the only one feeling shit about this.
secondly, and it's sad that i have to point this out, when i'm writing in a forum i'm obviously(!!!) not "writing" in that sense. jeez. what a waste of time coming back here.

backlashbaby: thanks. at least a few individuals see some sense after all.

anyway, i'm tired of explaining myself. this has dragged me even further down all day. i'm not going to dwell on this any longer and i'll definitely stop posting in this thread since most people only accuse me of all sorts of things.

MsJudy
07-06-2010, 07:49 PM
I was totally sharing your frustration and going to write an encouraging reply. Then you started getting snarky with the people trying to give you genuinely helpful advice....

Let's see...maybe I can help you out.

If you leave a sentence unended, that takes FOUR dots.
Three dots connects two parts of a sentence, suspended in the middle.

Sure, it's a pain in the ass having to learn those little things. And yes, if your story is good enough, who really cares about the 3 or 4 dots?

Well, apparently that agent did. Or else she didn't think your story was quite good enough for her to ignore the punctuation errors.

If you've read enough other people's threads here, you might have noticed that 50 rejections is nothing. Try 185 or more. Maybe the person who will appreciate your artistry is still out there, but you just have to keep looking.

And of course this is NOTHING NEW. Study artists throughout history. They all had to choose: please their patrons or starve.

Now that we have the internet and e-readers, we actually do have freedom. Self-publish and let the readers decide.

Drachen Jager
07-06-2010, 09:11 PM
What bothers me the most about this thread is that she's not alone.

This attitude of, "It's not that I'm not good enough, it's just the publishing machine doesn't see where I'm coming from because it has no SOUL."

I've seen it over and over, on AW and elsewhere. It's a cop-out, an excuse. Your writing fails to attract an agent/publisher for one (or several) of the following reasons.

1) You didn't work hard enough. (Easy to fix if you put in the effort)

2) You are not good enough. (Harder to fix, but possible in most cases)

3) You've written a book that doesn't have an audience. (Start a new book but think about your audience before you begin)

People in your position like to pretend there's a 4) which says, "My book is perfect, it's just the industry won't take a chance on me." If that were true, if the industry truly missed gems so often then we'd expect to see, at least occasionally, a case where an author queried their best, failed, self published and found a huge audience based solely on the strength of their book. Maybe there are some cases of this happening but I can't think of one. Of the only two self published books that went on to larger success one was never shopped around properly and the other only made it because it was a Christian alternative to Harry Potter, not on the strength of the writing.

But, go ahead. If you REALLY believe your story breaks the mould then self publish. Otherwise, toughen up. This is a rough business, not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for someone who gives up after a single failure.

backslashbaby
07-06-2010, 09:23 PM
What bothers me the most about this thread is that she's not alone.

This attitude of, "It's not that I'm not good enough, it's just the publishing machine doesn't see where I'm coming from because it has no SOUL."

I've seen it over and over, on AW and elsewhere. It's a cop-out, an excuse. Your writing fails to attract an agent/publisher for one (or several) of the following reasons.

1) You didn't work hard enough. (Easy to fix if you put in the effort)

2) You are not good enough. (Harder to fix, but possible in most cases)

3) You've written a book that doesn't have an audience. (Start a new book but think about your audience before you begin)

People in your position like to pretend there's a 4) which says, "My book is perfect, it's just the industry won't take a chance on me." If that were true, if the industry truly missed gems so often then we'd expect to see, at least occasionally, a case where an author queried their best, failed, self published and found a huge audience based solely on the strength of their book. Maybe there are some cases of this happening but I can't think of one. Of the only two self published books that went on to larger success one was never shopped around properly and the other only made it because it was a Christian alternative to Harry Potter, not on the strength of the writing.

But, go ahead. If you REALLY believe your story breaks the mould then self publish. Otherwise, toughen up. This is a rough business, not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for someone who gives up after a single failure.

I disagree. I don't go searching for self-pubbed books because there is zero quality control, so I have no idea how to choose a good one. OTOH, publishers are certainly afraid of publishings things I'd like to read, based on examples of work I've read that can't find an agent or has an agent but no publisher. I'd buy those books. I know I would. The quality is there, but they tend to be too different than what's out there.

I'm not saying the system is entirely imperfect. I just wish there were a way that agents/publishers could take more risks.

Amadan
07-06-2010, 09:50 PM
I disagree. I don't go searching for self-pubbed books because there is zero quality control, so I have no idea how to choose a good one. OTOH, publishers are certainly afraid of publishings things I'd like to read, based on examples of work I've read that can't find an agent or has an agent but no publisher. I'd buy those books. I know I would. The quality is there, but they tend to be too different than what's out there.

I'm not saying the system is entirely imperfect. I just wish there were a way that agents/publishers could take more risks.

The problem is you're asking them to take risks with their money, and the publishing industry operates on thin margins. How willing are you to throw a substantial portion of your savings into a risky venture?

It might be that your tastes are in a very small minority. It would be great if the publishing industry could cater to every individual's tastes, but you can't make money on a book that appeals to a hundred people worldwide.

No doubt there are some hidden gems (and would-be bestsellers) that get passed over by agents and publishers, but if a MS gets 50+ rejections, which is more likely: that none of them saw the potential in the MS, or that the MS ain't all that?

backslashbaby
07-06-2010, 10:00 PM
The problem is you're asking them to take risks with their money, and the publishing industry operates on thin margins. How willing are you to throw a substantial portion of your savings into a risky venture?

It might be that your tastes are in a very small minority. It would be great if the publishing industry could cater to every individual's tastes, but you can't make money on a book that appeals to a hundred people worldwide.

No doubt there are some hidden gems (and would-be bestsellers) that get passed over by agents and publishers, but if a MS gets 50+ rejections, which is more likely: that none of them saw the potential in the MS, or that the MS ain't all that?

I haven't ever subbed a novel, so I don't know how many rejections are usual. I have been very surprised by some of the experiences I've seen, except that it makes sense to go with the largest chunk of the buying public's tastes.

And it does make sense. That doesn't make it the only taste with quality is my point ;)

Polenth
07-06-2010, 10:07 PM
Polenth; i've had everything proofread, my manuscript is definitely clean and the story is subjective, wouldn't you say?

None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes in our stories. I'm not talking about a spelling mistake or a puntuation error, but story mistakes... bits that confuse the reader, don't work or are just plain boring. The only way to see those mistakes is to look for them.

All the while you're sure the mistakes aren't there, you'll never see them.

I've had rejections saying my stories are too strange and different, so I know it happens. But I also know I sold some of those stories after a rewrite for quality issues. Still just as strange, but much better written. When you get a rejection, don't trust the why of the rejection as much as you are. You weren't rejected for using dots instead of a dash. You were rejected for something else, and chances are, no one will ever tell you the truth about why you were rejected. You have to find the problems yourself.

DeleyanLee
07-06-2010, 10:08 PM
If that were true, if the industry truly missed gems so often then we'd expect to see, at least occasionally, a case where an author queried their best, failed, self published and found a huge audience based solely on the strength of their book. Maybe there are some cases of this happening but I can't think of one.

In general, I agree with your post, but I can easily think of an author who started out self-pub'd because he'd been rejected roundly, sold enough copies (he was a marketing exec in "mundane life"--he knew how to do the work, which is the BIG difference between his success and most self-pubs), to net a NYC contract and went on to be a NYT bestselling author. His name is Vince Flynn.

It CAN happen. It's rare, but it can happen. You can't bet the bank that it will happen to you, even if you have all the marketing savvy behind you that Flynn did. You still have to write a damned good book to start with or you won't sell enough copies self-pub'd to get anyone's notice.

Calla Lily
07-06-2010, 10:09 PM
<snip> ...but if a MS gets 50+ rejections, which is more likely: that none of them saw the potential in the MS, or that the MS ain't all that?

Rs on full, partial, first chapter follows query, or query letter alone?

Toward the end of my agent hunt, I was querying 3 different books. Of my 185 rejections/non-responses, at least 160 were on query alone. If I arbitrarily divide that number in thirds, that makes about 53 Rs/NRs each.

There are many potential reasons:

One was a fantasy/spec fic. Hard to categorize. I got a few partial requests for it, and one full, but in the end all passed.

One was a PR with vampires. I got a few full requests for that, but... (see next ms)

One was an ex-nun PI mystery. My agent called to ask for the full and after 2 further phone calls, offered representation 6 days later. After I contacted all the other fulls out there, I accepted. After that, I got at least one request for the PR full, which I politely declined because I was already repped.

One of the reasons agents passed was because they had something similar they already repped. This happens a lot, I understand. It happens with editor passes, too.

Keep in mind that all 3 books were written both because I love the genres AND because I wanted my name on a bookshelf in B&N. They were all edited and beta-read and re-edited multiple times--because I was not quitting. Not. I revised based on agent suggestions, twice. I worked at the craft till I created a book that I loved and that was commercially viable in today's market. If I'd quit at 50 Rs/NRs each, I'd be writing some kind of 4th book and still riding the query-go-round.

So, in my opinionated opinion, a boatload of Rs isn't necessarily a comment on the quality of a ms. As long as I, the writer, was working to improve my skills and keeping in touch with what was selling.

Like the fantasy.spec fic: I'm working with my agent to rewrite it for the YA market. That's hot right now, so i'm learning a new skillset.

/lecture :)

Drachen Jager
07-07-2010, 01:07 AM
I disagree. I don't go searching for self-pubbed books because there is zero quality control, so I have no idea how to choose a good one. OTOH, publishers are certainly afraid of publishings things I'd like to read, based on examples of work I've read that can't find an agent or has an agent but no publisher. I'd buy those books. I know I would. The quality is there, but they tend to be too different than what's out there.

I'm not saying the system is entirely imperfect. I just wish there were a way that agents/publishers could take more risks.

Well the point is not so much that there are NO good books which fall by the publishing wayside. The point is that almost all of the books which DO get overlooked are passed on for good reasons. Yet, a very large number of authors who's manuscripts don't make it seem to believe that it's the industry, not them which is at fault.

I'd wager that fewer than .1% of all books which are written, subbed, rejected and shelved (or self published) would earn a publisher money if they'd taken a risk on it. But it appears to me that about a quarter of authors who struggle and don't get published seem to think their manuscript is completely publishable. Only 1 in 400 is right. The other 399 had better work at improving their craft or find a real job.

People always want to believe the best of themselves. 90% of men and 75% of women believe their IQ is in the top 10%.

Beckstah
07-07-2010, 01:54 AM
Sky Lumina, rejection is really frustrating, I understand that. I've gotten quite a few of them myself. But the people here are trying to help you, and your attitude here isn't doing you any favors.

It may seem heartless to you that the publishing industry is just that - an industry - but this is their career. If they don't sell books, they can't put food on the table. As writers, we can't change that. It means we have to play the game a little. Pure talent isn't enough. We need superhuman determination and a very thick skin.

Your manuscript may be free of grammar and punctuation errors, but how would readers react to it? It might not be a bad idea to send the book to a few people whose opinions you trust, and have them give you their detailed thoughts as a reader. Ask them if they follow the plot, if they're confused at any point, and if they understand and relate to the characters' motivations. It is, as you said, completely subjective, but if you start hearing the same thing from more than one person, you might want to think about it. Even if you feel that there isn't anything you could possibly change, it's worth a shot.

And even if the issue is that your idea is different enough that publishers don't want to take a risk on it, there's nothing you can do about that, either. If you truly believe that this book could find an audience if given the chance, you could self-publish it as an e-book, or as others have suggested, on your own website. And then if you still want to get an agent and get published, you can try again with another book. It's not "selling out" to keep the needs of the market in mind as you write.

If you read this at all, you're probably going to think that I don't know what I'm talking about, but I do. I was told by one of my dream agents that my book would be a "hard sell," and even though I'm still querying and revising, I worry that my book might not be marketable in the end. But I know that placing all the blame on the publishing industry, when I could be improving my writing or working on another book, isn't the way to go. I hope you realize that too.

mscelina
07-07-2010, 02:11 AM
By the way, the story is not subjective. The story has to be saleable. Period. It has to have clearly defined characters, a motivating conflict, a credible resolution. It has to be crafted well and enjoyable to read.

There's no subjectivity in deciding what to publish. You publish what will sell, and not just what you subjectively like. Sure, if you're submitting a fantasy to a horror market, then subjectivity will come into play to a degree. But if you're submitting to the correct markets and no one will buy, then you put that story aside and start submitting the next one.

As long as a writer (or artist) is convinced the industry is out to get him, that writer is doomed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Searching
07-19-2010, 05:41 PM
From your post: (1)


...i'm so angry and disappointed at the whole capitalistic system.


From your info: (2)

Favorite writers
Dan Brown, ...


1->2 Without 1, you wouldn't have a favourite writer.