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View Full Version : Today: My First Rejection!



Mike Martyn
12-17-2005, 02:02 AM
An agent writes...


"...I found your material intriguing but I will not be able to offer you representation. ... Editors want books that appeal to low common denominators with respect to plot but are well enough written to maintain a pace that holds the writer's attention. I do not feel that your book succeeds in that regard. My feeling is that the writing does not stand out and I found the plot rather convoluted. It did not strike me as the kind of story that would appeal to the editors to whom I regularly make my submissions.

..... Best of luck etc. etc."


Well, it's a kinder rejection than some of you have received based on what I've read here. Hell, it's only my second book and I can only get better, right? Maybe I should have blown lots of cars.


Any thoughts on the above? Now I will go and reread the letter for the fourty ninth time.

Aconite
12-17-2005, 02:04 AM
Mike, congratulations on your first rejection. You may now check that off on your list of Writers' Rites of Passage.

SpookyWriter
12-17-2005, 02:08 AM
Mike,

I'd say congrats, but I rather say congrats on finding an agent. I know it sucks, but at least he was kind enough to offer some words rather than the two form letters I got yesterday in the mail.

Keep at it!

Jon

triceretops
12-17-2005, 02:12 AM
Mike, I'm trying to discern what he's saying in regard to plot. Is he saying that the plot should have been more simpler and generic? "Common denominator" seems to imply this. Do you have multiple subplots going on? "Does not stand out"--could this be voice and style? Maybe you could jazz it up a bit?

I'm just tossing out some ideas. I love to (over) analyse agent's comments, sometimes delving into deeper meanings and depths that weren't intended. But this rejection does come across with some clues.

Send her back out there and let her get kicked around.

Tri

Vuligora
12-17-2005, 02:15 AM
Well, it's nice that the person made suggestions. I tend to agree with his idea that it needs to be well written so that the reader can follow along. It may be the world's greatest idea, you just need to work on expressing it better. Maybe you need to edit it more.

KTC
12-17-2005, 02:19 AM
Congrats Mike! A rejection only means that you are persuing your dreams. Submit again. And then submit again. Good luck!

Mike Martyn
12-17-2005, 03:20 AM
Mike, I'm trying to discern what he's saying in regard to plot. Is he saying that the plot should have been more simpler and generic? "Common denominator" seems to imply this. Do you have multiple subplots going on?

....I have two main plots that intertwin and three subplots but since I'm not an outliner, I "discover' the plots after I've finished. I recall somebody, maybe Steven King saying that subplots are the foot prints your characters leave behind.

....That being said, there is a lot of stuff about quantum theory but what's not to love about some kids that convert an old minivan into a "transdimensional" "hyperdrive" ship and forget to take off the bumper sticker that reads "Mom's Taxi"?

Maybe I'll add a talking dog. Yeah, that's it. People love dogs!



"Does not stand out"--could this be voice and style? Maybe you could jazz it up a bit? ---

....Jazz it up? How about talking dogs playing poker! I could do the cover art on velvet!

Seriously thanks for your thoughts.




I'm just tossing out some ideas. I love to (over) analyse agent's comments, sometimes delving into deeper meanings and depths that weren't intended.

... I hear ya!

But this rejection does come across with some clues.

Send her back out there and let her get kicked around.

Tri Thanks again

Ken Schneider
12-17-2005, 03:24 AM
An agent writes...


"...I found your material intriguing but I will not be able to offer you representation. ... Editors want books that appeal to low common denominators with respect to plot but are well enough written to maintain a pace that holds the writer's attention. I do not feel that your book succeeds in that regard. My feeling is that the writing does not stand out and I found the plot rather convoluted. It did not strike me as the kind of story that would appeal to the editors to whom I regularly make my submissions.

..... Best of luck etc. etc."

This is an excellent rejection. The agent has given you direction, and told you what you need to work on. I'd say that is more than most would receive.

Mike Martyn
12-17-2005, 04:03 AM
This is an excellent rejection. The agent has given you direction, and told you what you need to work on. I'd say that is more than most would receive.

I quite agree. Now to put it into practice!

Thanks for your comments.

reph
12-17-2005, 04:11 AM
The agent might have meant the plot isn't clear enough. Too many side trips?

DivaNicoletta
12-17-2005, 04:12 AM
I framed my first rejection letter. You should keep all of them, and then send them back to the publishers that rejected you when your book becomes a bestseller with the words " HAHA" written in large letters over it. :banana:

pianoman5
12-17-2005, 05:11 AM
That's what I call a quality rejection. The agent has clearly read your work, thought about it, and taken the trouble to write to you personally with some useful observations.

And what a telling piece of market intelligence he has revealed:-

"Editors want books that appeal to low common denominators with respect to plot but are well enough written to maintain a pace that holds the writer's attention."


While not exactly cheering news for anyone hoping to address a more sentient readership, at least it explains what's going on here. No need for stuff to be well written, only 'well-enough written to maintain a pace ...'. Even The Da Vinci Code scrapes by on that definition.

If that's your first rejection, Mike, you're doing OK. A personal, considered reply including some valuable feedback shows that you're already on the right track.

ChaosTitan
12-17-2005, 06:33 AM
What a coincidence, Mike?! I received my first rejection letter today, as well. I sent a query to a small press for my novel (see sig line). It actually made me smile, because my writing has been acknowleged by someone besides my beta and close friends. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/emoteJump.gif

And it was a pretty positive note, too:

Thank you for your submission to the **. Unfortunately, I don't think that we can use your novel at this time. While it does sound quite interesting, we're sort of a small company at the moment and don't have a lot of books on the shelf. Because of that, we just can't publish all the books that we receive, even though a lot are worth publishing. If we were a larger company and had a larger catalog we might be more open to your novel, but as things now stand, we really can't use it.


Thanks again for considering the **, and good luck getting your novel published!

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/emoteCheers.gif To us, Mike!

-Kelly

September skies
12-17-2005, 06:43 AM
How sweet those first ones are. Makes you realize you're a writer and you're doing "writer" things. Congratulations. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

p.s. I framed my first one so that I would never forget.

Sage
12-17-2005, 06:44 AM
Chaos, that sounds VERY positive! (Funny, being excited by a rejection, though ;) )

egem
12-17-2005, 07:55 AM
Is the agent saying that your plot was too complicated? That would seem to be a good thing. Before you make a lot of changes maybe find some books that are like your book and submit to the agents that rep those authors. If you've done that than take his advice and change it. You should look over it again anyway.

Congrats on your first rejection. I would take it as a very good sign that the agent wrote anything at all about your work. I think it at very least means you got his/her attention (hard to do for most). I know rejections suck, but it is one of the ways we get better.
I hope this rejection is your last:)

ChaosTitan
12-17-2005, 08:12 AM
(Funny, being excited by a rejection, though ;) )

I suppose it's either excitement :snoopy: or depression :( , and who needs that, right?

-Kelly (who just read the news about John Spencer passing away, and is depressed all the same :cry: )

Yaslan
12-17-2005, 09:00 AM
Mike, you are absolutely right! You can only get better :Sun: May you always climb higher mountains and drink from the cup of life...

Lilybiz
12-17-2005, 09:00 AM
That's what I call a quality rejection. The agent has clearly read your work, thought about it, and taken the trouble to write to you personally with some useful observations.

And what a telling piece of market intelligence he has revealed:-

"Editors want books that appeal to low common denominators with respect to plot but are well enough written to maintain a pace that holds the writer's attention."


While not exactly cheering news for anyone hoping to address a more sentient readership, at least it explains what's going on here. No need for stuff to be well written, only 'well-enough written to maintain a pace ...'. Even The Da Vinci Code scrapes by on that definition.

If that's your first rejection, Mike, you're doing OK. A personal, considered reply including some valuable feedback shows that you're already on the right track.

Ditto what pianoman5 says: the agent read your work, and has made a considered, considerate reply. It's a very nice rejection.

Keep in mind that this is just one agent's opinion. I wouldn't go changing my manuscript until I heard the same suggestion from at least one more reliable source. Also, the editors to whom this agent refers are probably only the editors this agent deals with, and not all editors. (Though maybe it's most of them--it would explain The Da Vinci Code, after all.)

Now wait just a second here. Am I crazy, or did that agent say "maintain a pace that holds the writer's attention"? Now I know what I've been doing wrong. All this time I've been trying to entertain the damned reader.

CampCreek
12-17-2005, 02:45 PM
Congrats, Mike! I'm not ready to start submitting anything yet, but when I do, I hope my first rejection letter is atleast half that nice! Yep, there's lots of good insight in that one. A jewel for sure.

cwilliard
12-17-2005, 09:03 PM
Congratulations on receiving such a concise rejection on your first query. Iíve been rejected by 71 different agents and have never gotten that much information in any of the rejections.:Hail:

gomi
12-18-2005, 10:37 AM
Hmmmm, am I the only one here who does NOT find that to be a very 'nice' rejection letter? I mean, he did take the time to write a little something, which doesn't often happen. But, if I'm reading that right, he basically said you have a story with no plot and writing that wouldn't hold a readers attention.

Whatever the case, as someone else said, you don't want to take one agents view to heart and start mucking about with your MS. He may have been having a bad day and decided to take it out on you. It happens.

EJ

pianoman5
12-18-2005, 12:13 PM
Well, as a rejection it's 'nice' in the same way as a rose-scented dog turd is, in part, agreeable.

Should Mike let it ruin his day? Hell, no; it's just one person's opinion. But it's an opinion from someone who might know about these things, which can be hard to come by for a newbie. (Agents rarely elaborate in their rejections, largely for fear of reprisals from writers who may turn feral.) It's more of a 'Strike one!' situation, and no cause to start messing around with his script. But if he's 'lucky' enough to get a second qualified opinion along the same lines, that might suggest a close review.

gomi
12-18-2005, 09:12 PM
Well, as a rejection it's 'nice' in the same way as a rose-scented dog turd is, in part, agreeable.

Should Mike let it ruin his day? Hell, no; it's just one person's opinion. But it's an opinion from someone who might know about these things, which can be hard to come by for a newbie. (Agents rarely elaborate in their rejections, largely for fear of reprisals from writers who may turn feral.) It's more of a 'Strike one!' situation, and no cause to start messing around with his script. But if he's 'lucky' enough to get a second qualified opinion along the same lines, that might suggest a close review.

Indeed. A rejection should ruin about 5 seconds of your day. Read it, shed a single tear, put it aside, move on.

EJ

CampCreek
12-19-2005, 11:34 AM
Hmmmm, am I the only one here who does NOT find that to be a very 'nice' rejection letter? If you're meaning "nice" as in "kind", probably not, but if you're meaning "nice" as in "helpful, handy, something with value", then probably.

banjo
12-19-2005, 02:46 PM
Help me, I'm a bit confused.

What does the agent mean when he says the story is not well written enough to hold the writer's attention. Is he saying that you lost interest in your own story? Or did he mean the reader's attention?

triceretops
12-19-2005, 03:46 PM
He's infering that the reader lost attention. I think the agent made a slight mistake in his line where he's trying to describe the problem. It should be "reader"

Tri

Mike Martyn
12-19-2005, 10:07 PM
Hmmmm, am I the only one here who does NOT find that to be a very 'nice' rejection letter? I mean, he did take the time to write a little something, which doesn't often happen. But, if I'm reading that right, he basically said you have a story with no plot and writing that wouldn't hold a readers attention.

....EJ



Actually he said the plot was convoluted and readers want "simple" plots.

I don't consider it a "bad" rejection. The following would be a "bad" rejection.

"Your book is both interesting and new. Regretably that which is new is not interesting and that which is interesting is not new."