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Lavinia
10-25-2005, 09:15 PM
I got a nice email from an agent I really respect. He said that there isn't really a market for the book I am writing and that I would be best using something like Print on Demand.

I am so sad about this. I love what I've written and can "see" it on the shelf at a bookstore. I can see it. And I have for the year I've been working on it. NOw that I feel it's close, this is so disheartening. I think it's even more sad to me because it's my fathers story and I want so badly to honor his experience and encourage others to hear the stories of their families.

Anyway - hard to get started writing this morning. Maybe I'll go for a walk.

Lavinia

Jamesaritchie
10-25-2005, 09:56 PM
I got a nice email from an agent I really respect. He said that there isn't really a market for the book I am writing and that I would be best using something like Print on Demand.

I am so sad about this. I love what I've written and can "see" it on the shelf at a bookstore. I can see it. And I have for the year I've been working on it. NOw that I feel it's close, this is so disheartening. I think it's even more sad to me because it's my fathers story and I want so badly to honor his experience and encourage others to hear the stories of their families.

Anyway - hard to get started writing this morning. Maybe I'll go for a walk.

Lavinia

Hey, if you want to read a truly discouraging rejection letter, try this:
http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Reject.html

LeGuin is now considered a great writer, and "The Left Hand of Darkness" is considered a modern classic that has won so many awards you'd need a truck to carry them.

Lavinia
10-25-2005, 11:51 PM
just read it and it is discouraging. Still, this time it's me. I hope I am one of those who has the wear-with-all to make it in this business. I hope it is me who will be able to encourage others years from now.

I don't know why we take these things so personally, it's not like he set out to discourage me or ruin my day. As I always tell parents of a test their child has taken, "The test only represents how your child did on one particular day and one specific time. It doesn't represent what they know on a day-to-day basis." Perhaps that applies to writing too.

This agent represents only one person's opinion on one specific day. He does not represent the entire industry.

Lavinia

Jenny
10-26-2005, 04:18 AM
Lavinia, I'm sorry you received such a nasty-nice rejection. My shoulders slumped just reading about it. Hang in there. If the story is important to you, and you believe it's important for others, too, then don't give up. Now's the time to dig in your heels and going searching for an even better (ie more suited) agent and/or publisher. Good luck.

ANNIE
10-26-2005, 07:07 PM
I remember reading somewhere that Jean Maria Auel (Clan of the Cave bear series) Had something like forty-two rejections before finally being accapted. She actually invented her own genre- Pre-historical fiction. Don't give up!

JohnP
10-27-2005, 05:55 AM
Lavinia,

I understand the hurt you feel in that rejection and give you my shoulder, however, your voice (pen) has conviction. That conviction makes me believe in you. The up side to this is, you will find that sweet YES so much faster now you have that one no out of the way.

I wish you great success, so keep us posted.

Kind wishes

JohnP

KTC
10-27-2005, 02:29 PM
I could not have said it better than John, Lavinia. Just remember that one person's no does not speak for everyone. Keep trying.

J. Y. Moore
10-27-2005, 06:57 PM
Hey, if you want to read a truly discouraging rejection letter, try this:
http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Reject.html

LeGuin is now considered a great writer, and "The Left Hand of Darkness" is considered a modern classic that has won so many awards you'd need a truck to carry them.

Good grief. The rejection letter is more involved and convoluted than it says the MS was.

Levinia, remember that the Harry Potter books were rejected too. Keep plugging.

blackbird
11-27-2005, 09:03 PM
I got a nice email from an agent I really respect. He said that there isn't really a market for the book I am writing and that I would be best using something like Print on Demand.

I am so sad about this. I love what I've written and can "see" it on the shelf at a bookstore. I can see it. And I have for the year I've been working on it. NOw that I feel it's close, this is so disheartening. I think it's even more sad to me because it's my fathers story and I want so badly to honor his experience and encourage others to hear the stories of their families.

Anyway - hard to get started writing this morning. Maybe I'll go for a walk.

Lavinia

According to Sherman Alexie's own account in his preface to the latest edition of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, the first agent to see that particular manuscript told him those stories weren't ready. Being facetious, he quipped, "But The New York Times said I'm one of the greatest literary voices of our time." To which the agent replied, "According to the stories in front of me, you're not even one of the top literary voices on my desk!" She tried to encourage him to take up to a year to work on them; when he balked, she said, well, they would not be working together. He went on to find another agent, submitted the stories (sans first agent's advice) and, as they say, the rest is history. Moral of the story: One agent's opinion is just that-one agent's opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

blacbird
11-28-2005, 01:24 AM
Just for clarification, new member "blackbird" with a "k" is not the same as moi, "blacbird" without the "k". So welcome, bird, and let's try not to confuse folks here too much (some are easier to confuse than others).

caw.

Birol
11-28-2005, 01:32 AM
Lavinia,

I agree that is a very discouraging rejection letter. It sounds as if they might have said what they said because you have written a memoir, which have a reputation for being a tough sell. Have you checked out your shelves and the bookstore shelves to see who might have published personal stories like you have written?

triceretops
11-28-2005, 02:07 AM
As disheartening as this is, I'm afraid Birol is so dead on correct about this. Lavinia, I remember you from months ago and we talked about this project, then you disapeared for a couple months. Obviously you've been working on this and it sounds like it's completed. Family memoires are unfortunately a very tough sell and the markets are limited for this style. You can continue your search for these niche publications and exhaust them until you know what you're up against.

I know how deeply passionate you are about this subject, and so are very many of us about our vets. As a last resort, do you think this story would do well in a narrative non-fiction style? Instead of journalistic or diary format? The Rising Sun comes to mind. We also had an AW writer here who had the exact same problem you had, and I think his name was Dolan or some such. I believe he might have had a request for a re-write, and this story also recounted his father's, or uncle's exploits in the war. I think it was called Hansom Guy or something. You might contact him and see what came of it.

At any rate, best of luck with your story. We desperately need to hear about our vet's stories. We are losing them due to old age at an alarming rate, and soon, there will be no more first-hand accounts.

Bless you,

Tri

Jamesaritchie
11-28-2005, 05:59 AM
If the book is a memoir, the agent is probably right. memoirs are hot right now, but not family memories, and not memoirs of people who aren't rich or famous or heroic. If there's anything on earth harder to market than a memoir of the average person, I've never found it. In point of fact, they just do not sell.

triceretops
11-28-2005, 07:42 AM
Yeah, what James said. Can we think of any personal memoire war accounts that have been successful? Hasn't Oliver North and Caine done books like these? And then there's the JFK PT 109 example, I think. Of course, there's the famous issue coming into play here, so you can see why they were widely accepted. Heck, weren't there a few books about some of the guys that raised the flag on Iwo? The Indian guy? Sargeant York--Murphy? Herein lies the problem--the normal grunt is passed over for the hero or the one that stands out.

The only place to bust into the market might be a written account of a battle (or incident within a battle) that hasn't been accounted for, or done to death. Of course, what are the odds on that? In this day and age I don't even think a C. Medal of Honor winner would have an easy time trying to publish his accounts, then again I might be wrong. I lost two uncles in WWII and thought about their stories, but dad (a fine writer in his own right) advised me against it, due to the difficulty of getting their stories across an editor's desk. Sad but true.

Tri

Greenwolf103
12-09-2005, 04:45 AM
Lavinia, I am so sorry to hear about your rejection. How unkind!! :(

Please don't give up. A good soldier never gives up. Neither does a good writer. ;) Hang in there and never lose faith in your book.

Master Bedroom
12-10-2005, 07:25 AM
I have been told by three agents that there is no market for my work.

No market for Science fiction horror or a supernatural thriller?

Donít listen to agents, who tell you stuff like that. Everybody who I have shown my work to, that isnít an agent, has told me that it sounds good; these are just ordinary movie going people. One person was in stitches just reading the first chapter of my Novella, and yet I have some professional tell me that my book isnít marketable. Blah! Donít worry about this, and keep trying. Remember, one mans meet is another mans poison.

aruna
12-11-2005, 05:22 PM
Hey, if you want to read a truly discouraging rejection letter, try this:
http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Reject.html

LeGuin is now considered a great writer, and "The Left Hand of Darkness" is considered a modern classic that has won so many awards you'd need a truck to carry them.

Does that editor stutter?

...seems to be to become...

Cathy C
12-11-2005, 08:07 PM
I got a nice email from an agent I really respect. He said that there isn't really a market for the book I am writing and that I would be best using something like Print on Demand.

I am so sad about this. I love what I've written and can "see" it on the shelf at a bookstore. I can see it. And I have for the year I've been working on it. NOw that I feel it's close, this is so disheartening. I think it's even more sad to me because it's my fathers story and I want so badly to honor his experience and encourage others to hear the stories of their families.

Anyway - hard to get started writing this morning. Maybe I'll go for a walk.

Lavinia

I'm sorry about this, Lavinia. But notice that the agent doesn't say he doesn't like your writing, or your style, or the subject. He just doesn't think that a memoir of your father will have wide enough appeal to interest a major publisher (and, therefore, earn the agent a reasonable commission). But that isn't to say that a smaller publisher wouldn't just LOVE this book, if your father's life is noteworthy for the region you live, or in his field of employment or a hobby. A "niche" story, for example.

But truthfully -- memoirs are notoriously difficult to sell unless your father had some sort of national acclaim during his life that the publisher could capitalize on.

If the memoir DOES have regional or state appeal, consider your local universities. Many of them have regional publishers (university presses) that might be interested. Also check to see if you have any independent publishers in your state that would consider 1,000-10,000 copies sold to be a perfectly acceptable press run. In other words, don't get discouraged just yet. Just because the book won't appeal to the whole world doesn't mean that it can't still be in bookstores! Chin up! :D