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Colossus
02-20-2012, 02:08 AM
This is almost a rhetorical question, but how many agents should I query with this MS before I give up and go another route?

I have published two previous works, one POD and another with a small independent publisher that got great reviews and feedback. I list this in my history, but it appears to carry no weight. Now that I'm nearing 100 rejections on this, I'm thinking of going that route again but I hate to do so since I really believe this work is better than the others.

Advice?

Drachen Jager
02-20-2012, 02:26 AM
Hit Query Letter Hell (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174) (password vista) you need 50 posts on AW to start a thread there, so spend your time critiquing other queries (you'll learn a lot that way, and by reading other critiques). Make sure your query is up to snuff.

Find a good beta partner (there's a forum here for that too) or post a chapter on Share Your Work (appropriate genre forum of course).

Make sure it's all ready to rock and roll, then hit the bricks again. As long as your genre is fairly well represented you probably haven't burned half your bridges yet. I queried about 240 on my first novel before I ran out.

Colossus
02-20-2012, 02:31 AM
I appreciate the advice Drachen, it's sound and encouraging. It's just very frustrating to keep hitting this wall. I'll do what you suggested before hitting the self-publishing approach again. My faith in agents is depleting rapidly however...ha.

tengraceapples
02-20-2012, 03:04 AM
I can understand being worn out my the agent search.
I had to look for agents more times then I care to recall.
Don't get discouraged. Try and hit 300 before you give up. Also as they said here before really look at your query.

This is not to brag at all but I'm usually very good at queries.
I think its bc I used to write for soaps. And with them you have to put as much
Sizzle as you can in the short time you have. It helps if the query has questions. The tag line is your first chance to get them hook, so make sure its strong.
Something that makes them want to click on it.

Or if you have been focused on the action of the story try focusing on the love story.
Or the other way around. I really hope this helps:)

Drachen Jager
02-20-2012, 03:04 AM
Also hit the Query Shark blog, there's lots of good advice there.

I queried my first novel in batches, pulling it and the query occasionally to make improvements. After about 6 rounds of improvements it was getting some interest, but the pool of agents was too small to carry on. Did the same with my second novel and about midway through the list of agents I found a fit.

Rejection just means you need to do it better next time. If agents are rejecting you then your odds of doing well with a small publisher are small. Their entire job revolves around spotting what can sell well, so if they're turning you down it's worth fixing the problems even if you don't get an agent in the process it will make your work better.

Colossus
02-20-2012, 03:33 AM
Great advice guys, and much appreciated.

tko
02-20-2012, 09:31 AM
Well, I'm over a hundred rejections. The most important thing is to query, then improve, query, then improve. Use this board, contribute, keep pushing, keep reading.

Querying is kind of obsessive, because you don't know how close you are to the magic ring. Maybe if I just fix this . . . Querying is good because it pushes you to be better and better. Admit it. If you did self pub w/no intention of querying, your novel wouldn't be as good. Everytime I thought my novel was a good as it could be I found a way to make it better.

On the other hand, querying can take away from writing. I haven't done any real writing for months now, because I'm just polishing stuff over and over.

The last thing is to learn to think like an agent. The are business people. They want to sell your work. Doesn't matter if they like it (although he/she usually does, but ignore that thought because it's not relevant.) Write your query in terms they can relate to. I found this the hardest part. I probably over think my query, when I should be keeping it straightforward.

I think the most frustration thing is not knowing why your novel/query didn't work. If you don't know, how can you fix it? So, my answer to your question would be to kept querying till you have at least an inkling as to what didn't work. In my case I'm not sure what I did wrong, but I'm very certain of how I'll proceed on the next novel to simply sidestep a lot of the issues people have pointed out.




This is almost a rhetorical question, but how many agents should I query with this MS before I give up and go another route?

I have published two previous works, one POD and another with a small independent publisher that got great reviews and feedback. I list this in my history, but it appears to carry no weight. Now that I'm nearing 100 rejections on this, I'm thinking of going that route again but I hate to do so since I really believe this work is better than the others.

Advice?

popmuze
02-20-2012, 08:43 PM
You really have to answer two questions. Is everyone rejecting your query--or have 100 agents rejected your manuscript. If you get a good percentage (10-20%) of requests, there's probably nothing wrong with your query. If you're getting a lot of reads, then you have to see what kind of rejections you're getting. If they're all form rejections, there might be problems with your first 5-10 pages. If you get some detailed rejections or some revise and rewrites, you should pay attention to what those agents say. If you get a bunch of rejections that are all over the place, where the very things one agent loves, the next agent feels is your big problem, then you're in the same boat as me. Just keep querying until you figure out that the box is unfixable or how to fix it. When the nature of the agent responses start to change, it could mean you're getting closer. At least I hope so.

Drachen Jager
02-20-2012, 09:40 PM
Good editorial notes or a good beta reader can make a huge difference too. So long as you're committed to digging in there and really fixing the problems, not just surface edits.

quicklime
02-20-2012, 10:39 PM
This is almost a rhetorical question, but how many agents should I query with this MS before I give up and go another route?

I have published two previous works, one POD and another with a small independent publisher that got great reviews and feedback. I list this in my history, but it appears to carry no weight. Now that I'm nearing 100 rejections on this, I'm thinking of going that route again but I hate to do so since I really believe this work is better than the others.

Advice?

I think you need to decide what you want to do with this book, for real--if you want it pubbed, you pick a media and work to get it accepted in that media--you don't say "it wasn't good enough for an agent; shit--I'll just self e-pub it." That is WHY there is a sea of horrible, horrible self-pub out there, and why your book will have a horrible, horrible time being found in that ginormous e-slushpile.


If your work has the potential, either keep working on and tweaking it or start a new and even better one, but the handful of folks who succeed in self-pubbing get there with a shit-ton of savvy and a lot of work, plus at least passing fair readability.....it isn't a realistic model to say this is "where you make money off something a publisher won't buy".

tengraceapples
02-20-2012, 10:56 PM
I know its really hard.I mean who gets to say what's a good story
And what's not? Here are 3 things that helped me decide.

1 take some time away frm ms. Start something new. Give it at least two weeks

2. Give a copy of ms to someone who you are not close to. Not another writer. Someone who is in the age range you want to target and likes the genre you write. Let them read and give feed back. I find readers who dont write tend to be more....open.

3. Take a look at your query. Start over. What would the billboard for the movie version of you book say? What's your hook?

Hope this help:)

OohLaLaura
02-24-2012, 05:18 AM
I'm glad to hear your suggested number of agents is so high. I need to thicken my skin and start looking forward to rejection letters, huh?