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Elvirnith
07-08-2010, 01:16 AM
Not give up writing, of course. But, give up on this novel/series and move along to something new.

I'm sitting at roughly 80 - 100 queries sent out since April. Many I haven't heard back from yet, a good number have been rejections, and one small press has my full at the moment (over 4 weeks now), another small press requested a partial from a query in april...

But, only one agent has requested anything outside of what I've originally sent. I've revised my query several times (I just sent out some more today with yet another revised query, making it 4 now) and it doesn't seem to be doing much in the way of getting me closer to representation.

On one side, I've gotten some positive feedback from a couple of small presses, but nothing really from agents. And, just FYI, I write dark fantasy geared towards adults. However, one thing I've not really touched is the YA side of things. I have a 16 year old MC, but I've avoided YA agents while I sought after the adult fantasy agents.

I don't know. I'm still waiting on many of them for a response. I know some of them are non-responders, and I just sent out a batch (my last) of 20 queries this past weekend, so it's going to be probably a couple of months until I hear back from some of them.

I'm confident in my writing, but I'm losing confidence in my ability to sell it to an agent. So, should I give up and start a new project?

Maryn
07-08-2010, 01:19 AM
When hardly anybody asks for pages, that suggests one of two things. One, the query, though revised several times, still isn't doing its job, or two, what you have to sell is something nobody's buying.

Since fantasy remains popular, I imagine the query itself is the problem. Have you shared it at Query Letter Hell?

Maryn, who can't write a decent query

KTC
07-08-2010, 01:20 AM
I'm sitting here thinking the same thing myself. I've queried closer to 150 agents. I had a few full requests...a few partial requests. I'm running out of agents and feeling particularly stung this week as I received a few rejects.

Should you give up?

I don't know.

I'm losing confidence in my ability to sell it to an agent too.

What I'm doing...starting a new project to get this one out of my hair for the moment. i still have a few queries out there unanswered (more than a few!)...but i think i'm just going to give my head a shake and get back to writing...write something new to make me remember why i like doing this.

Hang in there. Sorry to hear you're going through it...I know EXACTLY how you feel...you kind of saved me from creating a new thread. I'm having the same kind of day.

GOOD LUCK! Keep on trucking...that's probably what I will do once i get through this latest speedbump.

K

Elvirnith
07-08-2010, 01:41 AM
Maryn: You're probably right. Even with the revisions the query is probably not doing it for me. And no, I'm new here so I haven't put it up for critique. I've already sent out this many queries, so I'm pretty much out of agents. I don't know if working on the query any more at this point would really matter or not.

KTC: Welcome aboard. Help yourself to a drink. We've got plenty of hard liquor in the bar.

KTC
07-08-2010, 01:44 AM
Thank you...i think i will take you up on that!

and by the way...welcome to AW!

Maryn
07-08-2010, 02:12 AM
Aw, gee, am I too late to get a drink?

Elvirnith, if you're just about out of agents, why not set aside that particular writing project for the short term and turn your attention to something else? In a year, you may decide to re-query with a new letter, after you've honed your skills.

Maryn, raising her empty glass and hopeful eyes

Elvirnith
07-08-2010, 02:21 AM
Maryn: Yes, I'm about at that point. I'll probably start a new WIP in the next week and just not worry about my first novel in the mean time. Also, it's open bar, so help yourself. Personally, I'm grabbing myself a few white russians. ;)

Also, if you'd like, I posted up my idea for my next project over yonder (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=185128). I'd appreciate any feedback on it before I actually begin writing the story. :P

Nya RAyne
07-08-2010, 02:32 AM
Don't give up!! I had to send close to 70 queries out before I got my first contract offer for my first novel. Instead of giving up, just sit that one aside and start on a new one and every now and again send out another query. Also, try not to pay attention to the number you're sending out.

Stay strong and good luck!!

Elvirnith
07-08-2010, 02:36 AM
Don't give up!! I had to send close to 70 queries out before I got my first contract offer for my first novel. Instead of giving up, just sit that one aside and start on a new one and every now and again send out another query. Also, try not to pay attention to the number you're sending out.

Stay strong and good luck!!

Thanks :) I believe I'm actually past 70 queries now. If I get a contract offer from a small press I'll probably take it. I figure, even if it's a small press and not the big one that I had hoped for, at least I'll have some sort of publishing credits whenever I get my next book or series of books done.

My fingers are crossed right now.

Drachen Jager
07-08-2010, 04:18 AM
I believe you should only give up on a book once you know what's wrong with it and you're pretty sure the problems run so deep you're better off starting fresh. Even if you don't ever get it sold, polishing it up until it's the best it can be and learning everything you need to know to properly buff it into a professional-grade work will give you the skills you need to sell the NEXT one. Most agents will take re-subs if you've significantly changed the manuscript and enough time has passed.

If you don't learn how to FINISH a book this time around when will you?

dawinsor
07-08-2010, 04:43 AM
IMHO, you need a new project no matter what happens with this one. Writers write.

Elvirnith
07-08-2010, 04:47 AM
IMHO, you need a new project no matter what happens with this one. Writers write.

I'm four chapters into book two. I've been writing, but if I can't sell the first book in the series, then I don't believe it's worth continuing with the second book until I can sell the first book.

MsJudy
07-08-2010, 07:08 AM
Yeah, don't devote time to book 2 of a series without getting better responses to book 1. Start something completely different.

And you never know. I shelved my "first" book several years ago. Then I wrote a first draft and got stuck. Then I wrote and queried a shorter book, got some specific feedback about why agents were passing on it. Wrote another that I'm querying now. And...suddenly I know exactly how to make that "first" book so much better. And that's what I've been working on this week.

So, "giving up" on something may actually mean, I don't know what else I can do with this story right now. But maybe someday, I will...

Phaeal
07-08-2010, 07:23 PM
Hmm, the YA angle.

If you still love the first book, give it a sharp re-reading and another draft with an eye to making it YA-friendly. Though, as far as I can see, there's actually little difference these days between young and old adult fiction -- YA is increasingly sophisticated and certainly open to the edgy. The main requirement does seem to be a young protagonist.

Then get your new query letter polished by the Query Letter Hell squirrels and start hitting the YA agents.

MsJudy
07-08-2010, 08:26 PM
If it can work as YA, your odds improve. YA is hotter than adult fantasy right now.

Elvirnith
07-09-2010, 12:05 AM
My MC is 16 years old, but the rest of the characters are adults. It is pretty dark and I do have some elements in it which I think fit better with adults, but I could probably make it work as YA too.

Georgina
07-09-2010, 12:47 PM
Hi, Elvirnith.

If you're not sure whether your work could be considered YA, some resources that may help:

Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=164605) by katiemac.

All the stickies in the Young Adult forum (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=117).

I recommend reading some modern YA, too. Whenever somebody says they think their work is too dark for YA, I suspect they haven't been in the YA shelves for a while. There's a lot of dark content there these days.

Cheers.

EagerReader
07-09-2010, 06:09 PM
YA is very hot right now, I think that is excellent advice, if you can make it fly.

Don't be too discouraged. There are so many of us in this same boat of wondering how many knocks in the head does it take to give up. Well, a helluva lot, I think. So, know you are in good company and keep at it.

triceretops
07-12-2010, 11:23 PM
I had an 18 year old female protag, with the rest adults. They definitely classified it as YA. So, absolutely go the YA route! YA is blisteringly hot right now and I think this trend is going to continue for quite a while. You have a whole new roster of agents ready and willing to consider your work.

Break a leg.

Tri

Suzan
07-12-2010, 11:36 PM
On giving up: What's the difference between a writer and an author? There's only one... Authors are writers who never gave up. So if you want to be published, the answer's no, don't give up. That said, there's nothing wrong with taking a break so that you can come back even stronger! Good luck!

SomberBee
07-16-2010, 07:51 AM
I'm four chapters into book two. I've been writing, but if I can't sell the first book in the series, then I don't believe it's worth continuing with the second book until I can sell the first book.

I'm feeling this. Every. Single. Day. I'm about 30K words into the second book of what I feel should be a three- (four-?) book series, I love these characters (as we all do with our babies), but I'm totally stumped. Blocked. Constipated. This project has been my first foray into YA, and fantasy, for that matter, and I'm afraid if I go back to what I usually write, which is depressing, real-life stuff, it's gonna feel like I'm on a floor with multiple offices, working in the one office where the light is dim and the air is sort of stale, while the folks down the hall in the YA/urban fantasy room are having one hell of a party.

What to do, what to do? These posts are all so helpful in their own little way. I've been feeling really adrift, and I can't bring myself to start on another project. I feel like I'm...cheating...or something.

I've only queried about 15 agents, which, judging by what I'm seeing here, is nothin'. But I'm FREAKED because I'm going to run out of agents here soon. Aren't I? Where is this ginormous cache of potential agents to query? Out of the queries so far, I've had two full requests (both turned into harsh, soul-tearing rejections). Most others have resulted in "not right for our list" and "I'm not the most appropriate agent for your work." Then there are the ones who've not answered either way...

I'm going to haunt this forum a lot. I give up several times a day, but always find my way back to the MS, for better and for worse. Now I'm hoping to find me some betas outside my daughter and her (amazing) circle of bookaholic friends.

So, yeah. Thanks for the chat. I feel a little better to know I'm not the only crazy one doing this to herself. ;)

Snowstorm
07-16-2010, 06:22 PM
I had a similar dilemma with my first novel (the first in a hoped-for series), but the novel was rejected so many times. My protag was a 19-year-old college student. "The protag wasn't old enough" was a common feedback from agents. ?????? And just how old must a person be to solve a mystery?

I attended a writing conference and scored a six-minute pitch meeting with an agent. I pitched the novel and she explained why likely the novel wasn't being picked up: the protag was in that gray area of too old for Young Adult and too young for Adult. She said college-age protags just don't do well. She recommended a rewrite to make the protag either younger or older.

I was relieved--and excited--to know what the problem was and why. Since I believe in my story, I'll gladly rewrite it. ETA: of course, after it's rewritten, it could be rejected for other reasons.

If there's a way to find out what the problem is and why, that can help you rewrite the manuscript and save the series you'd like to write.

It's tough having your oft-rejected manuscript and not know what the problem is. I was there too.

MsJudy
07-16-2010, 07:39 PM
Snowstorm makes a really good point. Sometimes there is a problem with a book that has very little to do with the writing. A premise too close to what's already been done, or too far outside what's being done. No amount of query-buffing will fix that kind of problem.

If you have the opportunity to attend a conference, go. It will give you the chance to ask agents or editors that kind of question, and help you decide whether you need to refocus your book in some way.

SomberBee
07-16-2010, 08:55 PM
Good feedback. I've racked my brain on this, obsessed, fall asleep/wake up thinking about it (today included). Because the MC lives with a circus, there are circus elements in it (this story started long before I'd heard anything about Water for Elephants, for the record), but I had one agent tell me he wanted MORE circus. Now, that's just silly. The story isn't about the circus; it's about a girl, and a very, very old book. I can't trump up elements I don't want to become characters in themselves.

Conferences...yeah. I live very near the Surrey International Writers Conference venue, and I've gone in the past; alas, I waited too long to consider it, and now all the agent/editor appointments are (likely) snatched up as it is in October. Same with Willamette Writers down in Portland, which I just found out about.

JudScotKev, you're absolutely right about the query buffing...and I know when an agent asks for that first 10 pages only, I'm doomed. There are pieces presented in the first 10 pages that you need at least the next 10 to make any sense.

Hmmph. Thanks again, amigos.

And just for fun, check out Slush Pile Hell (http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/page/1) for a giggle. My sides are still burning...

Ineti
07-17-2010, 08:44 PM
I'm confident in my writing, but I'm losing confidence in my ability to sell it to an agent. So, should I give up and start a new project?

Got some bad news for you. You'll never sell anything to an agent. Why? Agents don't buy manuscripts. Editors and publishers do.

Have you sent the manuscripts to editors or publishers? They're the ones who can offer you contracts and money for your work.

Good luck!

Elvirnith
07-18-2010, 08:56 AM
Got some bad news for you. You'll never sell anything to an agent. Why? Agents don't buy manuscripts. Editors and publishers do.

Have you sent the manuscripts to editors or publishers? They're the ones who can offer you contracts and money for your work.

Good luck!

Um... yes, I know. I'm trying to "sell" my manuscript to them. As in, present it in such a way that they'll want to gobble it up and preach to all of the editors and publishers out there about how amazing the story is. Obviously, I'm not quite there yet, thus I've found some new beta readers to get some fresh eyes on my MS and continue my edits on it while I work on the new novel for the time being.

You seem to have misunderstood the context I'm using the word "sell" in here.

In this case: "Sell - to persuade or influence to a course of action or to the acceptance of something."

Hopefully that clears up your misunderstanding.