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Better
08-14-2013, 01:12 AM
I don't want to bluntly say Agents act stuck up, or are self centered (although for a few, that would be considered valid). Also note, this thread post isn't in any way intended to flam or belittle anyone, or be considered as a rant. I would like an discussion.

What I don't get: If agents make a percentage, why do they turn down projects only because it does not relate to them. But choose projects that they feel "will sell", only because it relates/connects to them? How does that benefit them, or the Literary Market?

MOST Agents,
from what I've read, interned, and/or graduated from various colleges etc, and are in / have been in the literary world most of their lives. So I can't help but think that's the reason why most Agents create a fictitious element bubble of what they believe is good, or not good based on their interests and/or idols/successful Authors.

I always thought the reason why so many stories of this generation lacked originality and thought, was because of the lack of original writters. But now, I believe it's due to the fact that most Agents/Publishers are closed minded, or are tainted to their fears of the market, to "what's in". Including if they have factual evidence to support their fears.

Honestly, some of the greatest work of our time if had not been published yet, attempted to be published now, would probably never make it.

First of all, the literary world (businesses, writer's, reader's) is very small in percentage compared to the broad world of entertainment. Let's face it, not many people read. So with that said, the market's main influence is only shaped by the people who are regular readers or are active in the literary world. BUT there are some books that reach beyond the literary world, to those many people who don't usually read, but learned, or heard of a story so great they couldn't help but read or find out more information about this once project, that happened to be given a chance, and strived.


PEOPLE BUY THE STORY NOT THE BOOK
A genre is mainly for classifications, agreed? it's the story/ uniqueness of the story that truly wins people over for years to come. EX: What's the genre of novels such as twilight? Sure you did your homework, you might know it. I don't, and many of the readers/non readers don't either, they just know the story. People who do not usually read, had read that book. This goes for with the harry potter series etc etc. It wasn't because of the "brilliant writing" techniques or the "Amazing Author" It was because of the brilliant/unique story.

So my question is, how can an agent or even publisher really represent the interest of (in a broad sense) everyone? And how can they really "not feel connected" to a story, without actually reading it, or being open enough to see how it could relate/interest a very broad amount of people even if it doesn't relate to them, or to their knowledge, fit into the literary market.

A standard query, in most cases is not enough to even begin to elaborate on the greatness of a project, A paragraph pitch of each chapter would be even be better suited, but people stick to laws and normality. However even the perfect query is no match for the average agent, who cares more about their reputation than their job.
Again, how is it beneficial, not only the Literary Market, but to the Literary World, if doors are shut to scared, closed minded individuals who are brainwashed in their own sense of securities.

You can learn to judge, you can learn to write/edit. You can read all the facts, and historical works. You can study the market, and leech your opinions off of previous success stories.

But sometime in your career you have to realize, you are not just an agent. You're a key to Literature, and you can impact the market yourself, and a world broader than the one you're currently craving to be a part of.

That is what an Agent should strive to be. A key, not a lock.

So can someone explain to me why this happens?

FYI: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh*

Again, I don't know the business, I'm just wondering.


- EDIT: If this seems a little immature, then I'm sorry for being 19. -

Medievalist
08-14-2013, 01:30 AM
Better I think you need to do a lot more reading into publishing, and agents.

I'd start with this: Slushkiller (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html).

It'll probably upset you; that's ok. Keep reading, read all of it, even the comments.

Goldenleaves
08-14-2013, 01:43 AM
I think it would be hard for a person to throw their weight behind a book that they didn't truly believe had some financial potential. Agents have to eat and pay rent and keep their rep for presenting saleable ms.

Also, I don't think I'd want anyone to represent my writing if they didn't have at least some belief in it's economic viability.

Nowadays people can self publish so there is always the option of doing without both agents and publishers if none are willing to take the risk. I've heard the e-book option is not too difficult or expensive.

Better
08-14-2013, 01:48 AM
Medievalist, (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=29)

The relevant portion of that, which I'm currently reading only makes me
want to bluntly question are agents in for the commission, literature, or attempting both and failing? I guess it all depends on the Agent, and their beliefs... like I imagined, but it still doesn't truly answer my questions. Then again I haven't gotten feedback such as the examples.

I'm fairly aware of how things work in the process, and I know by far I am not the only one who might feel a certain way. But i still want to know.

WriterTrek
08-14-2013, 01:51 AM
I haven't got an agent, I'm not an agent, and I don't know a ton about this... but I'd assume it's just them doing their jobs for the most part.


What I don't get: If agents make a percentage, why do they turn down projects only because it does not relate to them. But choose projects that they feel "will sell", only because it relates/connects to them? How does that benefit them, or the Literary Market?I might be misunderstanding you here, and I'm sorry if so, but it seems like if they were constantly representing things that they couldn't sell, and pushing manuscripts that no one wanted to buy, and it would make them look bad. That might diminish their future abilities to sell a book they truly believe in.

I think you're saying that they could just represent everything and try to sell it, hoping that some of them will hit and they'll make a percentage. But I'd think it'd be better for everyone (save perhaps the rejection letter recipient) for them to represent fewer books that sell well and area really good than more books that aren't?

Maybe? Again, I don't know. But that's just the impression I've had.

Siri Kirpal
08-14-2013, 01:58 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

You're not the first person to ask this question.

Back when I was querying a book that hasn't been published, the agent said in essence, There's nothing really wrong with this, but it doesn't do much for me and that means I won't be your best advocate.

That's the key: You can't be a good advocate for what you're not rooting for body, mind and soul.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Better
08-14-2013, 01:59 AM
Goldenleaves (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=47730),

I agree! lol. I still question where an Agent's "potential ability to sell" would even come from, as I stated, the literary world is small, and unpredictable at times. In which in most cases it's the author or series who sells. But if an agent thinks a ms will sell, but doesn't completely enjoy the book. What does it matter? Where does that set their morals, if one takes on a project he/she likes, but probably won't sell very well?

Medievalist
08-14-2013, 02:02 AM
The relevant portion of that, which I'm currently reading only makes me
want to bluntly question are agents in for the commission, literature, or attempting both and failing? I guess it all depends on the Agent, and their beliefs

Being an agent is a job. It's not a vocation like the church. They only get paid if they pick books that publishers want to publish. If they don't pick successfully, they have no income.

It's not about the literature, as you put, other than that agents do tend to truly believe that the books they're repping are really extraordinary books.

They can't rep all the clients they'd like to; there isn't time enough or energy enough. So they have to rep the ones that they think will successfully appeal to editors and other readers.

If you want a career about literature, spend 70k and ten years and get a Ph.D. in English or another language, or comp lit.

I note that I don't think legit agents are failing, at all. I think you might do well to read some agent blogs; Janet Reid (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/) and Jennifer Laughran (http://literaticat.blogspot.com/) are two of my favorites because they're honest, smart, and love books.

Neither of them reps my primary genres, but I've bought book they've repped or just recommended (i.e. they aren't the agents for the author) because they know good books.

I'd also suggest you might read everything on both these FAQs:

[Business of Writing] On Agents (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245100)

[Publishing]: Stuff Every Writer Ought to Read (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=244710)

Aggy B.
08-14-2013, 02:03 AM
I would never want someone trying to sell something I wrote if they didn't love it as much as I do.

Which is why I appreciate when an agent tells me they don't connect to my work. Even if it means I have to keep looking.

wampuscat
08-14-2013, 02:05 AM
FYI: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh*

Do you like every book in a book store? Would you want to spend months and years of time devoted to each book in a book store? They can't take everything, even if they think it would sell. Because who wants to spend so much time on something they don't love?

Also, I hate to say it, but are you getting personalized rejections? Are you sure? A lot of agents' form rejection includes a line about not fitting their list or not connecting with the story or not taking many authors per year.

Have you been on QueryTracker? From my experience, those who use QT tend to be more savvy authors, and still most agents only ask for more material from less than 10% of queriers. The percentage of people who get offered representation is in the low single digits.

Better
08-14-2013, 02:08 AM
I haven't got an agent, I'm not an agent, and I don't know a ton about this... but I'd assume it's just them doing their jobs for the most part.

I might be misunderstanding you here, and I'm sorry if so, but it seems like if they were constantly representing things that they couldn't sell, and pushing manuscripts that no one wanted to buy, and it would make them look bad. That might diminish their future abilities to sell a book they truly believe in.

I think you're saying that they could just represent everything and try to sell it, hoping that some of them will hit and they'll make a percentage. But I'd think it'd be better for everyone (save perhaps the rejection letter recipient) for them to represent fewer books that sell well and area really good than more books that aren't?

Maybe? Again, I don't know. But that's just the impression I've had.

No, that statement did NOT mean take on every project. I meant, if an Agent looks at a ms, and knows it will mostly sell to a broad audience but decides not to take it on because of their personal interests, who is it benefiting, especially if many other agents state the same. Alot of Agents have a certain element for their genre selections, and I can not make sense of it, for the life of me.

Is the Agent going to be ruining their reputation if they have a successful project that they weren't completely into?

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 02:14 AM
Looking at the end of your post, maybe they didn't want to rep your book and were trying to let you down easy? it's frustrating to get rejected, but I highly doubt the problem is a weakness of the publishing industry.



It's not that hard to figure out from a query if you wanna rep the book.

buz
08-14-2013, 02:17 AM
First of all:


FYI: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh*

You got form letters. Do not look for meaning in form letters. Form letters don't mean anything but "no"--they don't actually reflect anything about you or the manuscript.

Second, that "they don't sign many authors a year" matters because once they've taken on all they can take on, they can't take no more. So they must be very selective, you see. There's only so much time to spend on a manuscript. They can't take on stuff they think is a "maybe"--they need "hell yes."

Whether the manuscript "fits" the agent or agency is also important. You don't want an agent who doesn't care about your manuscript to be representing it. You don't want an agent who only knows how to sell YA fantasy to take on your erotica series or whathaveyou. It's about best outcomes for both parties--one of the parties being you.


What I don't get: If agents make a percentage, why do they turn down projects only because it does not relate to them. But choose projects that they feel "will sell", only because it relates/connects to them? How does that benefit them, or the Literary Market?What do you mean by "relate to them"? Do you mean they only take on projects that they like?

See above--if an agent doesn't care about the manuscript, why would they throw all the faith of their paycheck behind it?

Unless you mean something else by "relate to"?


MOST Agents,
from what I've read, interned, and/or graduated from various colleges etc, and are in / have been in the literary world most of their lives. So I can't help but think that's the reason why most Agents create a fictitious element bubble of what they believe is good, or not good based on their interests and/or idols/successful Authors.
What? Can you explain what you mean with specifics?

Good agents believe what they believe is good BECAUSE they are plugged into the industry and know what will sell, i.e. what is "good." Or is this more about what agents do or don't like? Dood, if I was an agent, you don't want me representing your erotica novel. Know why? I don't read erotica. I know nothing about the erotica market. I'm completely asexual, in fact. I wouldn't know what makes an erotica book "good." You want an agent who knows what they're on about. Who reads what you write. Who knows about that market.


I always thought the reason why so many stories of this generation lacked originality and thought, was because of the lack of original writters. But now, I believe it's due to the fact that most Agents/Publishers are closed minded, or are tainted to their fears of the market, to "what's in". Including if they have factual evidence to support their fears.I don't understand what this means either. If there's factual evidence that a manuscript won't sell, and I'm an agent, I'm probably not taking it on. Being an agent is a job. This means I, hypothetical agent, need to sell manuscripts in order to pay rent and stuff. So I'm going to rep ones that I think I can sell.


First of all, the literary world (businesses, writer's, reader's) is very small in percentage compared to the broad world of entertainment. Let's face it, not many people read. So with that said, the market's main influence is only shaped by the people who are regular readers or are active in the literary world. BUT there are some books that reach beyond the literary world, to those many people who don't usually read, but learned, or heard of a story so great they couldn't help but read or find out more information about this once project, that happened to be given a chance, and strived.I'm afraid I don't follow at all. Do you have an example of this?



PEOPLE BUY THE STORY NOT THE BOOK
A genre is mainly for classifications, agreed? it's the story/ uniqueness of the story that truly wins people over for years to come. EX: What's the genre of novels such as twilight? Sure you did your homework, you might know it. I don't, and many of the readers/non readers don't either, they just know the story. People who do not usually read, had read that book. This goes for with the harry potter series etc etc. It wasn't because of the "brilliant writing" techniques or the "Amazing Author" It was because of the brilliant/unique story.
What does genre have to do with any of that?


So my question is, how can an agent or even publisher really represent the interest of (in a broad sense) everyone? And how can they really "not feel connected" to a story, without actually reading it, or being open enough to see how it could relate/interest a very broad amount of people even if it doesn't relate to them, or to their knowledge, fit into the literary market.Back in my hypothetical "I'm an agent"-land: If I don't care about the story, and it doesn't fit into the literary market, then it doesn't sell, and I as lit agent have fucked myself over, as well as fucked over the author I am representing.


A standard query, in most cases is not enough to even begin to elaborate on the greatness of a project, A paragraph pitch of each chapter would be even be better suited, but people stick to laws and normality. However even the perfect query is no match for the average agent, who cares more about their reputation than their job.

Again, how is it beneficial, not only the Literary Market, but to the Literary World, if doors are shut to scared, closed minded individuals who are brainwashed in their own sense of securities.I'm afraid I don't follow this either.


You can learn to judge, you can learn to write/edit. You can read all the facts, and historical works. You can study the market, and leech your opinions off of previous success stories.

But sometime in your career you have to realize, you are not just an agent. You're a key to Literature, and you can impact the market yourself, and a world broader than the one you're currently craving to be a part of.
Agents do not decide what sells.

Readers do.

....


I'm afraid I don't understand a lot of the argument (and really, some of that might be on me because I've kind of a slow head), but I sense that you are reading way too much into form rejections. Please don't take form rejections as commentary on yourself or your manuscript; they only mean that the agent doesn't want the manuscript.

Have you had your manuscript critiqued? I'm concerned by some of the writing I'm seeing in the post. That could be the rather more boring reason for the form rejections...

Better
08-14-2013, 02:19 AM
Also, I hate to say it, but are you getting personalized rejections? Are you sure? A lot of agents' form rejection includes a line about not fitting their list or not connecting with the story or not taking many authors per year.
Have you been on QueryTracker? From my experience, those who use QT tend to be more savvy authors, and still most agents only ask for more material from less than 10% of queriers. The percentage of people who get offered representation is in the low single digits.

If by personal you mean directed towards me individually, yes. If you mean personal as in their personal opinions, then I cannot say for sure. I know they are directed towards me because they always specify on the project characteristics and to my background, giving me sites to check for other agents.

I am not upset about my rejections/replies They actually encouraged me in a way! But I just wonder, why. and to answer the book store comment, If i was actively looking for something to read, and someone offered me a unique book that I found interesting even if I didn't usual read those kinds, I would read it.

MatthewHJonesAuthor
08-14-2013, 02:24 AM
The way it was broken down for me was, imagine if there were thousands, possibly millions of agents and only a few hundred writers.

If, in that world, an agent emailed me and said, "I'm like to represent your Women's fiction novel", and talked about all of his connections in Women's fiction markets, I'm gently have to tell him "I don't write Women's Fiction. I don't know how to a Women's fiction novel. I don't think I've ever even read Women's fiction."

That's the situation that agents are in. They're specialists and they specialize in things that they'd read anyway. Just like I couldn't write a women's fiction novel, they can't sell something they wouldn't read on their own.

Cyia
08-14-2013, 02:31 AM
MOST Agents,
from what I've read, interned, and/or graduated from various colleges etc, and are in / have been in the literary world most of their lives. So I can't help but think that's the reason why most Agents create a fictitious element bubble of what they believe is good, or not good based on their interests and/or idols/successful Authors. Read a slushpile sometime. It won't take you long to adjust your definition of "good."


I always thought the reason why so many stories of this generation lacked originality and thought, was because of the lack of original writters. But now, I believe it's due to the fact that most Agents/Publishers are closed minded, or are tainted to their fears of the market, to "what's in". Including if they have factual evidence to support their fears.It's a business, and a business has to be run at a profit or it folds. The trendy projects create revenue that allow the quirky or quiet ones to exist, even if quirky and quiet don't get as much fanfare.


Honestly, some of the greatest work of our time if had not been published yet, attempted to be published now, would probably never make it.^ This is what you call a literary paradox.

Could Shakespeare or Jane Austen be published now? Probably not, but if they hadn't been published in their established time / market, then the market as we know it now wouldn't exist.

However, if you look at interpretations of Shakespeare and Jane Austen, or any of the other classics that have been reset and retold, then YES, they would be and have been published in the modern market.


EX: What's the genre of novels such as twilight? Sure you did your homework, you might know it. I don't, and many of the readers/non readers don't either, they just know the story. People who do not usually read, had read that book. This goes for with the harry potter series etc etc. It wasn't because of the "brilliant writing" techniques or the "Amazing Author" It was because of the brilliant/unique story.Genre is for marketing purposes, whether the reader knows what it is, or not. Even if you've never heard of "urban fantasy" or " paranormal romance," you likely still find books by grouping them together, even if that group is "I want a book like Twilight, but different." Given that information, a bookstore clerk (or Amazon's "recommendations") will point you to the right genre.

And "brilliant/unique" isn't nearly as important as you think it is. Readers like familiarity, not originality in most cases. That's why retellings are so popular.



So my question is, how can an agent or even publisher really represent the interest of (in a broad sense) everyone?They don't. They specialize. Urban fantasy agents don't rep cozy mysteries, and young adult editors don't acquire literary novels about middle aged men and women out to relive their youth via road trip.


And how can they really "not feel connected" to a story, without actually reading it, or being open enough to see how it could relate/interest a very broad amount of people even if it doesn't relate to them, or to their knowledge, fit into the literary market.1 - they read until they lose interest, so the decisions aren't made without reading.

2 - it's not just one person making the decision. Acquisitions is an entire department of a publisher that works with marketing to make their best-educated judgment of the piece in question.


A standard query, in most cases is not enough to even begin to elaborate on the greatness of a project, Agreed - which is why adding the first chapter is standard practice.


However even the perfect query is no match for the average agent, who cares more about their reputation than their job.
Again, how is it beneficial, not only the Literary Market, but to the Literary World, if doors are shut to scared, closed minded individuals who are brainwashed in their own sense of securities.*haz 100 ft pole*
*won't touch this*



: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh*
Those are form rejections.



Is the Agent going to be ruining their reputation if they have a successful project that they weren't completely into?

No, but taking on a project they don't have the contacts to sell won't benefit the author or the agent. An agent who handles mostly horror or erotic romance may love a religion themed novel, or may feel that a certain MG book will have mass appeal, but those aren't the editors that agent works with. They aren't in the best position to make the author the best deal.

wampuscat
08-14-2013, 02:35 AM
and to answer the book store comment, If i was actively looking for something to read, and someone offered me a unique book that I found interesting even if I didn't usual read those kinds, I would read it.

But would you stake your salary on whether or not you could sell those books? Wouldn't you prefer to take on only what you love? Agenting is a big risk in a lot of ways.

Better
08-14-2013, 02:41 AM
buzhidao,



What do you mean by "relate to them"? Do you mean they only take on projects that they like?

See above--if an agent doesn't care about the manuscript, why would they throw all the faith of their paycheck behind it?

Unless you mean something else by "relate to"?

I mean, if an agent could understand clearly understand and state the potential. why not AT LEAST READ It.



What? Can you explain what you mean with specifics?

Good agents believe what they believe is good BECAUSE they are plugged into the industry and know what will sell, i.e. what is "good." Or is this more about what agents do or don't like? Dood, if I was an agent, you don't want me representing your erotica novel. Know why? I don't read erotica. I know nothing about the erotica market. I'm completely asexual, in fact. I wouldn't know what makes an erotica book "good." You want an agent who knows what they're on about. Who reads what you write. Who knows about that market.

Interestingly enough I am Asexual as well. What i meant here, is that being "plugged" into an industry does not limit the potential. Everyone does not read or buy books, many people can.
so how can you limit a book's potential only based in the current lit market


I don't understand what this means either. If there's factual evidence that a manuscript won't sell, and I'm an agent, I'm probably not taking it on. Being an agent is a job. This means I, hypothetical agent, need to sell manuscripts in order to pay rent and stuff. So I'm going to rep ones that I think I can sell.

I meant here for examle, dystopian is a genre which is said not to be a good seller, but how does the genre represent the story entirely. meaning it could be dystopian but also have contemporary or thriller accents etc.


I'm afraid I don't follow at all. Do you have an example of this?
What does genre have to do with any of that?
should have kept reading ^^ But I only Used genre because some agents dont take multi genres. I also used to signify that great stories defeat their genre classification, or does not enitrely fit into it. Or could be represented as another.


Agents do not decide what sells. Readers do.
Which is exactly why I'm asking how can an Agent truly judge place in the range of readers.

mccardey
08-14-2013, 02:42 AM
Better - agents have a job to do. It's about money. Your sense of entitlement means nothing to them. And being 19 means you're an adult. So maybe just settle down and read what people are saying, because learning is good and productive. Ranting - not so much.

Better
08-14-2013, 02:45 AM
Thanks guys learning a lot.

Better
08-14-2013, 02:47 AM
Better - agents have a job to do. It's about money. Your sense of entitlement means nothing to them. And being 19 means you're an adult. So maybe just settle down and read what people are saying, because learning is good and productive. Ranting - not so much.

Including you, many of you guys missed the purpose of the post. I'm only asking questions to learn or have an sense of idea versus being unaware/lost. Also others could learn from this as well. kthx

mccardey
08-14-2013, 02:50 AM
Including you, many of you guys missed the purpose of the post. I'm only asking questions to learn or have an sense of idea versus being unaware/lost. Also others could learn from this as well. kthx

Well if you're a writer I'd suggest checking your words for tone. And if you're a professional I'd suggest looking around a bit to see how the site works. Hint: a hello in a newbie thread might not have been a bad start. Also, charging into a thread where agents give their time to help people learn and making your first post there an attack on agents is was maybe not the way to go...

ETA: But it's a nicer post now, I note - so, yes, learning is good. :Sun:

wampuscat
08-14-2013, 02:52 AM
If your goal really is to learn, I suggest reading the boards as well as agent blogs. The fact that your first post at AW was to post this thread and you've only posted in this thread makes it seem like learning is not your goal.

As for why an agent wouldn't read a novel they thought had potential, most agents are so busy that they read unagented MSs on their weekends. They get hundreds of queries a week. They can't read every novel they see potential in. I've heard several agents say they can tell in the first two pages whether the book is something they'd be interested in reading.

thothguard51
08-14-2013, 02:53 AM
There is always self publishing...

Better
08-14-2013, 02:57 AM
If your goal really is to learn, I suggest reading the boards as well as agent blogs. The fact that your first post at AW was to post this thread and you've only posted in this thread makes it seem like learning is not your goal.

As for why an agent wouldn't read a novel they thought had potential, most agents are so busy that they read unagented MSs on their weekends. They get hundreds of queries a week. They can't read every novel they see potential in. I've heard several agents say they can tell in the first two pages whether the book is something they'd be interested in reading.

You are quick at assuming, but I can assure you the only reason I posted this, was because it was the only thing I didn't understand. I actually did a lot of reading, and have wondered about this for months. This was a last resort kind of deal for me. I wanted an discussion, not an argument that many of you are so eager to feed me.

thothguard51
08-14-2013, 03:02 AM
I think it has to do with your tone.

OctoberLee
08-14-2013, 03:05 AM
I think of it like the cover blurb on the back. I read the blurb, maybe I read a few pages, a chapter (uhhhh maybe 2/3 if I'm treating B&N like my personal library for the day). I do that to ten books, maybe buy one. Maybe I'm being cheap and nothing really grabs me so I don't buy ANYTHING. Every book I looked at may have been a good book... they just "weren't for me"

Time is money. More valuable, really. So why would an agent ever pick up a book they weren't completely in love with, completely sure about when they're going to be spending an indefinite amount of time on it, possibly for zero payout?

Just because one agent reads the blurb and some pages and doesn't 'buy' your book, and the next doesn't buy it either, doesn't mean there isn't an agent out there, eventually, who will.

But yeah, it's pretty frustrating :D

buz
08-14-2013, 03:05 AM
You are quick at assuming, but I can assure you the only reason I posted this, was because it was the only thing I didn't understand. I actually did a lot of reading, and have wondered about this for months. This was a last resort kind of deal for me. I wanted an discussion, not an argument that many of you are so eager to feed me.

Sorry--this sounded quite argumentative:



Again, how is it beneficial, not only the Literary Market, but to the Literary World, if doors are shut to scared, closed minded individuals who are brainwashed in their own sense of securities.

If you did not mean that in a confrontational way, then you do need to work on tone. Grammar, etc. Flowing thoughts from one to another. Again, I'm pretty sure you got non-personal form rejections--have you had your work critiqued?

That "this has potential but it's not for us" line is a polite and businesslike way of saying no; it doesn't mean anything but no.

Little Ming
08-14-2013, 03:10 AM
Suddenly I have a new found appreciation for the "no response means no" policy.

Better
08-14-2013, 03:10 AM
I think... it would probably go a little better if more agents or wondering writers joined in, as this is more targeted for them, as opposed to those seeking to defend Agents, which is not needed.
I took nothing out of the conversing in a such a tone, but words carry emotion, to each it's own.

Marian Perera
08-14-2013, 03:14 AM
I think... it would probably go a little better if more agents or wondering writers joined in

Is there any reason agents should join in when they could, I dunno, be going through their slush piles instead?

wampuscat
08-14-2013, 03:17 AM
You are quick at assuming, but I can assure you the only reason I posted this, was because it was the only thing I didn't understand. I actually did a lot of reading, and have wondered about this for months. This was a last resort kind of deal for me. I wanted an discussion, not an argument that many of you are so eager to feed me.

I apologize if you think me argumentative. I am not. I think it's great that you are trying to get information and do your research. That said, I do think you've gotten several answers here already, or at least points of discussion.

I'm not trying to defend agents. I'm just passing along the information I've gathered.

Better
08-14-2013, 03:17 AM
Sorry--this sounded quite argumentative:



If you did not mean that in a confrontational way, then you do need to work on tone. Grammar, etc. Flowing thoughts from one to another. Again, I'm pretty sure you got non-personal form rejections--have you had your work critiqued?

That "this has potential but it's not for us" line is a polite and businesslike way of saying no; it doesn't mean anything but no.

Yeah, blame the grammar, my fault on that one. I meant IF

Also i didn't get the potential line, I mainly got their particular agency couldn't /shouldn't represent. But then again, Maybe I have not gotten enough rejections.

buz
08-14-2013, 03:18 AM
I think... it would probably go a little better if more agents or wondering writers joined in

Who do you think we are? Magic forum banshees? ;)

Better
08-14-2013, 03:19 AM
Is there any reason agents should join in when they could, I dunno, be going through their slush piles instead?

Good point,

Better
08-14-2013, 03:25 AM
Who do you think we are? Magic forum banshees? ;)

YAY banshees! Magical ones,

buz
08-14-2013, 03:29 AM
In seriousness, though, nobody here is "defending agents" so much as we are stating how things are. If you only want responses that agree with your position, you may not get any--at least none that will do you any good.

I'm not sure what led you to believe that agents turn down manuscripts they think will be successful that they could also sell (if that is in fact what you're arguing--it's hard to tell because, as I may have hinted at, your writing is hard to follow). You could be more specific, with examples and whatnot, if you want to clear that up.

If that's not what you're arguing, I suggest going over the answers you've already gotten, as many people have explained the reasons an agent won't take on a certain project.

Stacia Kane
08-14-2013, 03:33 AM
What's the genre of novels such as twilight? Sure you did your homework, you might know it. I don't, and many of the readers/non readers don't either, they just know the story. People who do not usually read, had read that book. This goes for with the harry potter series etc etc. It wasn't because of the "brilliant writing" techniques or the "Amazing Author" It was because of the brilliant/unique story.

So my question is, how can an agent or even publisher really represent the interest of (in a broad sense) everyone?


Well, they certainly did in the examples you listed above...

Better
08-14-2013, 03:38 AM
In seriousness, though, nobody here is "defending agents" so much as we are stating how things are. If you only want responses that agree with your position, you may get any--at least none that will do you any good.

I'm not sure what led you to believe that agents turn down manuscripts they think will be successful that they could also sell (if that is in fact what you're arguing--it's hard to tell because, as I may have hinted at, your writing needs work and is hard to follow). You could be more specific, with examples and whatnot, if you want to clear that up.

If that's not what you're arguing, I suggest going over the answers you've already gotten, as many people have explained the reasons an agent won't take on a certain project.

I have a good idea of how things works, (written two novels in which one has been rq for ms). I was clearly wondering why they work the ways they do, in which I have learned a lot. Mainly because the responses I found odd with my first novel.

WendyN
08-14-2013, 03:38 AM
I think... it would probably go a little better if more agents or wondering writers joined in, as this is more targeted for them, as opposed to those seeking to defend Agents, which is not needed.
I took nothing out of the conversing in a such a tone, but words carry emotion, to each it's own.

Well, I'd consider myself a wondering writer, as in, wondering when I'm going to find the agent who is the "right fit" for my novel(s), and although there is probably much room for improvement in the querying process itself to make it more efficient and effective in matching writers & agents, I'm not sure why the blame should be placed on the agents themselves. They're just people offering a necessary service, and since there are so many more writers than agents, they have to be more selective about the clients they take on. There's simply not enough time to represent everyone.

As for agents' personal feelings for a particular work, as a "wondering writer," I want to "hire" the best person for the job of representing me, and the best person for the job is going to be someone who is as enthusiastic about my story as I am, not someone who just thinks, "Well, I guess it was pretty good."

Also, from what I've read about agents from their own blogs, interviews, and twitter feeds, they do seem very willing to take a chance on something out of the ordinary... IF it's something that they love and are passionate about. I'm sure there are plenty of agents who would take on a dystopian novel (going with the original poster's example)... IF it was something fresh and new and interesting that wouldn't remind them (and everyone else) of a dozen other dystopian novels already out there. Many readers like dystopians, but most of them are getting sick of the same-old same-old ones that reuse the same themes and plotlines.

As a reader, I want to pick up something that stands out, not something that's just like the last four books I've read. And it's an agent's job to know these things... to read reviews, to communicate with other readers, to watch the bestseller list, to talk to writers and attend conferences and to read WIDELY in their specialized genres (part of the reason agents tend to only take on a few genres -- they can only read so many books at once, and they need to be knowledgeable about what's out there and what's hot).

I understand being disillusioned by rejections -- I'm right there in the trenches, too -- but if you DON'T trust agents you're querying to know "good literature" when they see it, then maybe traditional publishing isn't the right route for you as a writer.

thothguard51
08-14-2013, 03:46 AM
Better,

Not sure how wondering writers joining in this thread is going to give you an answer that makes sense from an experience view. Or is it you only want answers that satisfies your view on the topic? I mean, if the wondering writer has no more experience than you, then what are their answers to your questions about agents worth?

This is not to say writers who have similar questions should not join in, only that I doubt they can give you answers based on experiences.

As to experience, I will say this...several members who responded have been slush pile readers and they know what the agent/editors are getting and looking for at that particular time. Are these members answers not relevant?

What about the members who have responded that have agents and have sat and talked with their agents? Are these members answers any less relevant than a wondering writer who does not have equal experience?

I am very confused on what exactly any additional conversation can provide that has not already been stated.

Better
08-14-2013, 03:48 AM
Well, I'd consider myself a wondering writer, as in, wondering when I'm going to find the agent who is the "right fit" for my novel(s), and although there is probably much room for improvement in the querying process itself to make it more efficient and effective in matching writers & agents, I'm not sure why the blame should be placed on the agents themselves. They're just people offering a necessary service, and since there are so many more writers than agents, they have to be more selective about the clients they take on. There's simply not enough time to represent everyone.

As for agents' personal feelings for a particular work, as a "wondering writer," I want to "hire" the best person for the job of representing me, and the best person for the job is going to be someone who is as enthusiastic about my story as I am, not someone who just thinks, "Well, I guess it was pretty good."

Also, from what I've read about agents from their own blogs, interviews, and twitter feeds, they do seem very willing to take a chance on something out of the ordinary... IF it's something that they love and are passionate about. I'm sure there are plenty of agents who would take on a dystopian novel (going with the original poster's example)... IF it was something fresh and new and interesting that wouldn't remind them (and everyone else) of a dozen other dystopian novels already out there. Many readers like dystopians, but most of them are getting sick of the same-old same-old ones that reuse the same themes and plotlines.

As a reader, I want to pick up something that stands out, not something that's just like the last four books I've read. And it's an agent's job to know these things... to read reviews, to communicate with other readers, to watch the bestseller list, to talk to writers and attend conferences and to read WIDELY in their specialized genres (part of the reason agents tend to only take on a few genres -- they can only read so many books at once, and they need to be knowledgeable about what's out there and what's hot).

I understand being disillusioned by rejections -- I'm right there in the trenches, too -- but if you DON'T trust agents you're querying to know "good literature" when they see it, then maybe traditional publishing isn't the right route for you as a writer.

True, thing that sort of disappoints me is this particular novel was a screenplay equivalent to 10 chapters after i developed it into a book/ms, thinking I would have a better chance. It's way too complex to build a screenplay as it is, but eh as i said maybe i haven't gotten enough rejections quite yet to give up.

Better
08-14-2013, 03:58 AM
Better,

Not sure how wondering writers joining in this thread is going to give you an answer that makes sense from an experience view. Or is it you only want answers that satisfies your view on the topic? I mean, if the wondering writer has no more experience than you, then what are their answers to your questions about agents worth?

This is not to say writers who have similar questions should not join in, only that I doubt they can give you answers based on experiences.

As to experience, I will say this...several members who responded have been slush pile readers and they know what the agent/editors are getting and looking for at that particular time. Are these members answers not relevant?

What about the members who have responded that have agents and have sat and talked with their agents? Are these members answers any less relevant than a wondering writer who does not have equal experience?

I am very confused on what exactly any additional conversation can provide that has not already been stated.

Hmm? I was more looking into agent's motives, not worth.
I am satisfied, and thankful for all the replies, in case it hasn't been evident already. I only meant it might have went better if many didn't rush to defend Agents initially minus the very helpful things that were stated. Which I am looking into.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 04:17 AM
Something I haven't noticed being said is that the agent might already have a novel or several of similar type that they are representing. Especially if they've sold some of those novels. For that reason, they may not think they can sell it.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 04:23 AM
FYI: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh*

Again, I don't know the business, I'm just wondering.



Dude, this seriously contradicts the rest of your posts. Down-thread you claim to have a good idea of how the business works, but here, you say you don't know the business.

Further, you present what appear to be direct quotes from your rejection letters. Those quotes are absolutely form rejections, end of story. Period. But you base your critique of agents on the rejections you got, by assuming they are meant literally.

I've written many template form rejections. The only thing those words mean is "We don't want to accept your query/submission." That is what people have bee trying to tell you. That is why no one will agree with you. Because your premise is obviously faulty.

quicklime
08-14-2013, 04:32 AM
Hmm? I was more looking into agent's motives, not worth.
I am satisfied, and thankful for all the replies, in case it hasn't been evident already. I only meant it might have went better if many didn't rush to defend Agents initially minus the very helpful things that were stated. Which I am looking into.


motives?

do you believe the free market is uniquely ignored in writing?

they want something they can sell. To users who rarely buy under duress. That may be 10 million copies of a page-burner or 10 thousand (or fewer) hardbacks of something deep and profound (and neither are exclusive of one another) but....they want to pay for their kids braces, their mortgage, etc. Ideally doing something they believe in. There's not a lot of mystery, I am afraid....

as for the rest, nobody is defending so much as pointing out you sort of came in from post 1 whipping your dick around the place waiting for a chorus of "hells yeah!" and maybe some pitchforks......a lot of the folks here KNOW agents.....and their "defense" comes more from trying to help you with how it really works than a desire to protect the Secret Cabal of Evil Agenthoodness or whatever you seem to believe is going on. Agents want to sell. Hopefully good books, but in the end, also to....sell. That's all.

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 05:00 AM
So my question is, how can an agent or even publisher really represent the interest of (in a broad sense) everyone? What's the genre of novels such as twilight? Sure you did your homework, you might know it. I don't, and many of the readers/non readers don't either
Well I chose to go the digital first route and write for the digital first market in erotic romance (maybe because I was a bit cowardly, having heard all the stories about how busy agents are, and how long they take to get back to you.) So I don't have an agent and I haven't tried to get one as yet.

However my answer to the above is that they simply don't try to represent "the interests of everyone." How could they? How can one person do that?
Each agency and each agent has their own little niche. Your job (besides making your book the best it can be) is to do your research, and find the agent most interested in your niche.

You say you don't know what genre Twilight and Harry Potter are??? That's really not hard. They are both YA paranormal, although some might call Harry Potter YA Urban Fantasy, and Twilight YA Paranormal Romance.
Many books on writing will explain the concept of genres, and what the genre definitions are. You should know them. Then you look for agents who represent your genre.

You also have to realize that the agents you approached are trying to be kind in their feedback, and send the least hurtful rejection possible.

But it also sounds like you may not be submitting to agents relevant to your genre.

Submitting to the wrong agents is a good way to ensure failure.

I studied my genre hard, and only submitted to publishers who wanted my genre, and whom I knew had an excellent reputation.
In fact I write specifically with those publishers in mind, but within that framework there are still endless possibilities for creativity.

So although I have yet to try for an agent I have approached respected publishers directly with a manuscript, and some of the same principles are involved in terms of genre, and marketing.
My publisher only accepts 4% of manuscripts sent, because they have to be the kind of books they publish, and they have to be of the quality they are known for. (I don't say this to brag, but hopefully to help you understand where I am coming from in terms of knowledge.)

Now all that being said, I think it was good that you mentioned you are 19, and I hope people will understand that that is very young and so you are still learning. :)

(Liosse de Velishaf she knows the business more than some people her age, because she at least knows to try sending the manuscript to real agents. I talked online to a person about her age today, who thinks you have to "pay fees" and all that nonsense and misinformation scammers are trying to suck naive people into.

The OP knows more than some people, and less than others. She may know more than most people she hangs out with in real life, so it's not exactly a contradiction. She is perhaps realizing from this thread that she knew less than she thought she did, and that's fine.)

Better
08-14-2013, 05:04 AM
Liosse de Velishaf, (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=23269)
Getting someone to agree was no intention of mine what so ever. Everyone sort of made up in their minds what they thought this thread was going to be about, lol. I did use partial quotes but there was more in the letters than usual form rejections, which I have them as well.

quicklime (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=42114),

I would reply but I'd be going in circles. However I think by some of that you meant Agents just play it safe to pay the bills, which doesn't completely contradict the post.. jk. But I love Agents, most just make me wonder.

Better
08-14-2013, 05:11 AM
However my answer to the above is that they simply don't try to represent "the interests of everyone." How could they? How can one person do that?
Each agency and each agent has their own little niche. Your job (besides making your book the best it can be) is to do your research and find the agent most interested in your niche.

Many books on writing will explain the concept of genres, and what the genre definitions are. You should know them. Then you look for agents who represent your genre.

You also have to realize that the agents you approached are trying to be kind in their feedback, and send the least hurtful rejection possible.

But it also sounds like you may not be submitting to agents relevant to your genre.

Submitting to the wrong agents is a good way to ensure failure.

I studied my genre hard, and only submitted to publishers who wanted my genre, and whom I knew had an excellent reputation.
In fact I write specifically with those publishers in mind, but within that framework there are still endless possibilities for creativity.

So although I have yet to try for an agent I have approached respected publishers directly with a manuscript and some of the same principles are involved in terms of genre, and marketing.
My publisher only accepts 4% of manuscripts sent because they have to be the kind of books they publish, and they have to be of the quality they are known for. (I don't say this to brag, but hopefully to help you understand where I am coming from in terms of knowledge.)

Now all that being said, I think it was good that you mentioned you are 19, and I hope people will understand that that is very young and so you are still learning. :)

(Liosse de Velishaf she knows the business more than some people her age, because she at least knows to try sending the manuscript to real agents. I talked online to a person about her age today, who thinks you have to "pay fees" and all that nonsense and misinformation scammers are trying to suck naive people into.

The OP knows more than some people, and less than others. She may know more than most people she hangs out with in real life, so it's not exactly a contradiction. She is perhaps realizing from this thread that she knew less than she thought she did, and that's fine.)

I did choose my Agents carefully, problem is... this novel doesn't fit into any genre alone by any means, and so I must try to find an agent that does the range in genres in which the novel is set. Their are few agents who do, and it makes it that much harder. I would hate to sacrifice partial story to fit into one genre that an agent represents just to have it requested/published, if you can understand that. :(

quicklime
08-14-2013, 05:11 AM
i wouldn't suggest one pays the bills, in many cases, by playing it safe......

quicklime
08-14-2013, 05:12 AM
I did choose my Agents carefully, problem is... this novel doesn't fit into any genre alone by any means, and so I must try to find an agent that does the range in genres in which the novel is set. Their are few agents, and it makes it that much harder. I would hate to sacrifice partial story to fit into one genre that an agent represents just to have it published, if you understand that. :(


write it well and you won't.

have you been to qlh with that query?

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 05:14 AM
Liosse de Velishaf, (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=23269)

I would reply but I'd be going in circles. However I think by some of that you meant Agents just play it safe to pay the bills, which doesn't completely contradict the post.. jk. But I love Agents, most just make me wonder.

Well, would it make sense for them to take tons of risks, and therefore not be able to pay the bills?

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 05:19 AM
I did choose my Agents carefully, problem is... this novel doesn't fit into any genre alone by any means, and so I must try to find an agent that does the range in genres in which the novel is set. Their are few agents who do, and it makes it that much harder. I would hate to sacrifice partial story to fit into one genre that an agent represents just to have it requested/published, if you can understand that. :(

The conventions of genre actually aren't that rigid. There is probably one genre that your book fits more than any others. Many novels fit a bunch of genres, to a certain extent, but one will dominate, you should know which one.
I mean my novel is paranormal, erotic, menage, romance, with romantic suspense elements, and a Christmas theme.
If I were pitching it to agents, I would pitch to those who take erotic books, and those who take paranormal romance. I would avoid agents who don't seem to like erotic anything, or those who prefer realistic fiction, and don't seem to like paranormal/fantasy. I'd also avoid those who didn't take romance. I'd probably have sent it to anyone who took paranormal romance, if I had tried that path.

I'm just saying, I think it's worth your time studying up on all the different genres. Because you said you did not know what genre Harry Potter, and Twilight were, which is kind of basic. It says to me a lack of research into the fiction market that you might want to address. It does not mean you have force your story into a rigid formula, but rather learn what it is, so you can perhaps pitch it better.

buz
08-14-2013, 05:21 AM
I did choose my Agents carefully, problem is... this novel doesn't fit into any genre alone by any means, and so I must try to find an agent that does the range in genres in which the novel is set. Their are few agents who do, and it makes it that much harder. I would hate to sacrifice partial story to fit into one genre that an agent represents just to have it requested/published, if you can understand that. :(


But in your original post, you said that you don't research such things:


What's the genre of novels such as twilight? Sure you did your homework, you might know it. I don't...

I'm so confused...

Anyway. What genre(s) do you think yours is?

Better
08-14-2013, 05:23 AM
i wouldn't suggest one pays the bills, in many cases, by playing it safe......

LMAO!

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 05:32 AM
Liosse de Velishaf, (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=23269)
Getting someone to agree was no intention of mine what so ever. Everyone sort of made up in their minds what they thought this thread was going to be about, lol. I did use partial quotes but there was more in the letters than usual form rejections, which I have them as well.

Everyone made up their minds based on what you said. Besides, even if those agents said other things in their rejections, those phrases still mean they just aren't interested.



I did choose my Agents carefully, problem is... this novel doesn't fit into any genre alone by any means, and so I must try to find an agent that does the range in genres in which the novel is set. Their are few agents who do, and it makes it that much harder. I would hate to sacrifice partial story to fit into one genre that an agent represents just to have it requested/published, if you can understand that. :(


I write some of the weirdest genre combinations out there. Never found that to be an issue when talking to agents, nor have any of the published or querying writers I've discusses it with seemed concerned. Just pick the main genre and submit the story to agents who rep it.


But in your original post, you said that you don't research such things:

I'm so confused...

Anyway. What genre(s) do you think yours is?

I'm similarly confused. And also curious about the genres you think your book is. It might help to clear up my conclusion if I knew.

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 05:38 AM
Just pick the main genre and submit the story to agents who rep it.



I'm similarly confused. And also curious about the genres you think your book is. It might help to clear up my conclusion if I knew.

Yes this was my point there will be one main genre, or at least type (if it is literary fiction). Just the comments about not knowing what genre Harry Potter was etc... made me wonder if the OP really knew what her story was, or who to pitch it to. or how to pitch it. So I was just trying to help with that part, if we could.

Better
08-14-2013, 05:38 AM
But in your original post, you said that you don't research such things:



I'm so confused...

Anyway. What genre(s) do you think yours is?


I don't know those genre's particularly but I know the books quite well, that's why I used them as reference.

This one is first in trilogy YA, but touches on historical fiction/mystery and is based upon military. but features dystopian with a goal set to an utopian-ish outcome HOWEVER it is completely realistic (no magic etc) story with twists that forces important lessons on the characters. it's the twists that would categorize it into such genre but they are necessary. Seems broad and too much, but it really isn't..I could not personalize it into a genre that would do it much justice. I know that simple sells. There also isn't much if any gore or anything so. Zzzzz maybe it is just too ahead of it's time.

Ari Meermans
08-14-2013, 05:43 AM
That is what an Agent should strive to be. A key, not a lock.

So can someone explain to me why this happens?

FYI: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh*

Again, I don't know the business, I'm just wondering.


- EDIT: If this seems a little immature, then I'm sorry for being 19. -


Hi, Better

I think I got a glimmer of the issue in the part of your post I quoted, and that issue is that you don't have an understanding of everything an agent does. They don't just sign an author and try to sell their book. Reading queries is almost an adjunct to the job of being an agent. They ARE looking for a great story, well written, that they can sell. But, that's not all they do. A good agent will also help you manage your writing career. When she signs you, she's in it for the long haul. <--That's why agents limit the number of new clients they take on. They are managing their current clients' careers.

Agents build relationships with editors and houses; they know what the editors are looking for--what their tastes are, what their preferences are. They don't shop a book indiscriminately. If they sign an author in the genre(s) they rep, they already know which editors are most likely to be interested. They have good working relationships with editors who work with the genres the agent reps. Lots of the time, they have great relationships. Those relationships take time to build. And they're built on trust. Trust that the agent won't waste the editor's time with a book the editor won't be interested in or can't "sell" to the house. An agent who uses a shotgun approach to selling your book is the LAST agent you'd ever want; any agent who'd do that would lose their access to editors in a flash.

Do take Medievalist's advice to regularly visit Janet Reid's blog, and Jennifer Laughran's blog, and any others in your own genre. Both Ms. Reid and Ms. Laughran love books and know the business, as Medi said, and they love sharing their knowledge. It's quite an education, if you're interested.

Better
08-14-2013, 05:46 AM
Hi, Better

I think I got a glimmer of the issue in the part of your post I quoted, and that issue is that you don't have an understanding of everything an agent does. They don't just sign an author and try to sell their book. Reading queries is almost an adjunct to the job of being an agent. They ARE looking for a great story, well written, that they can sell. But, that's not all they do. A good agent will also help you manage your writing career. When she signs you, she's in it for the long haul. <--That's why agents limit the number of new clients they take on. They are managing their current clients' careers.

Agents build relationships with editors and houses; they know what the editors are looking for--what their tastes are, what their preferences are. They don't shop a book indiscriminately. If they sign an author in the genre(s) they rep, they already know which editors are most likely to be interested. They have good working relationships with editors who work with the genres the agent reps. Lots of the time, they have great relationships. Those relationships take time to build. And they're built on trust. Trust that the agent won't waste the editor's time with a book the editor won't be interested in or can't "sell" to the house. An agent who uses a shotgun approach to selling your book is the LAST agent you'd ever want; any agent who'd do that would lose their access to editors in a flash.

Do take Medievalist's advice to regularly visit Janet Reid's blog, and Jennifer Laughran's blog, and any others in your own genre. Both Ms. Reid and Ms. Laughran love books and know the business, as Medi said, and they love sharing their knowledge. It's quite an education, if you're interested.

Thanks!

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 05:51 AM
I don't know those genre's particularly but I know the books quite well, that's why I used them as reference.

This one is first in trilogy YA, but touches on historical fiction/mystery and is based upon military. but features dystopian with a goal set to an utopian-ish outcome HOWEVER it is completely realistic (no magic etc) story with twists that forces important lessons on the characters. it's the twists that would categorize it into such genre but they are necessary. Seems broad and too much, but it really isn't..I could not personalize it into a genre that would do it much justice. I know that simple sells. There also isn't much if any gore or anything so. Zzzzz maybe it is just too ahead of it's time.


YA is a marketing category, not a genre. I'd say you could query it as dystopian YA, and not raise any eyebrows. I would certainly not categorize it as ahead of its time. How much YA do you generally read?

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 05:52 AM
I don't know those genre's particularly but I know the books quite well, that's why I used them as reference.

This one is first in trilogy YA, but touches on historical fiction/mystery and is based upon military. but features dystopian with a goal set to an utopian-ish outcome HOWEVER it is completely realistic (no magic etc) story with twists that forces important lessons on the characters. it's the twists that would categorize it into such genre but they are necessary. Seems broad and too much, but it really isn't..I could not personalize it into a genre that would do it much justice. I know that simple sells. There also isn't much if any gore or anything so. Zzzzz maybe it is just too ahead of it's time.
Lots of agents are looking for YA with no magic right now. I don't really see how a novel can be dystopian without that being the major theme? So it's dystopian YA?
It sounds amazing, and I can see why you are frustrated. You may need to keep working on to get it up to an even higher standard than it already is.

Cathy C
08-14-2013, 05:52 AM
Better, you say you want to learn. But then you say you don't want people responding who are going to defend agents. You want other questioning writers. That makes us presume you're only looking for other people to come by and bitch about agents and the concept of representation. But there's a reason why agents are the status quo and why any number of writers defend agents. Writers don't drink some sort of sycophant Kool-Aid when they get published. They defend agents because they suddenly discover why so many people are in awe of their agents. Just so you know, there are a LOT of agents who are members of AW. Some of them are the top names in the business. They tend to keep screen names so they're not inundated with PMs and emails asking for special favors. But they're here, and I'll bet now that you issued the challenge, some will stop by.

But let's get on to your post:



I don't want to bluntly say Agents act stuck up, or are self centered (although for a few, that would be considered valid). Also note, this thread post isn't in any way intended to flam or belittle anyone, or be considered as a rant. I would like an discussion.

Fair enough. Let's discuss things. But the best way to discuss things like adults is to not throw out insults to a whole group of people you don't even know. Like the ones I bolded.


What I don't get: If agents make a percentage, why do they turn down projects only because it does not relate to them. But choose projects that they feel "will sell", only because it relates/connects to them? How does that benefit them, or the Literary Market?

Agents make a percentage of books they can sell. Working agents (and by that, I mean those who actually earn their income by selling books), know a certain number of editors very well. They know another group of editors fairly well. They know another group of editors by acquaintance by meeting them at conferences or parties. But editors for publishers don't work on every book the publisher puts out. They edit a specific genre, or maybe up to three, of fiction. At my own publisher, Tor, there is also a separate imprint called Forge. Tor publishes primarily Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Horror. Forge, however, publishes primarily Westerns, Thrillers and Mystery with some general fiction thrown in. Yes, the editor for the Tor branch CAN edit books put out by Forge (and my own editor does). But the tropes (genre-specific requirements) of a genre can be very unique.

For example, a cozy mystery requires: 1) a mystery to be solved; 2) an amateur sleuth who makes mistakes or lucks into situations where his/her unique talents solve the mystery; and 3) have a soft voice without much blood or gore. This genre is very different from a police procedural, where the reader wants hard-hitting facts, blood, and cops swarming around. Will the SF/F editor know what specific dialogue words would need to change to make the very same sentence SOUND like a cozy versus a procedural? Perhaps. But perhaps not, too.

Yes, it seems I traveled far afield from agents, but I really didn't. An agent can't just pick up any book from the slush and tell whether it's a GOOD cozy, when they primarily sell westerns to editors who edit westerns. It's not that simple. So, they specialize in what they know the readers of a particular genre will like. Just like editors do.


MOST Agents, from what I've read, interned, and/or graduated from various colleges etc, and are in / have been in the literary world most of their lives]. So I can't help but think that's the reason why most Agents create a fictitious element bubble of what they believe is good, or not good based on their interests and/or idols/successful Authors.

To an extent, this is true. Agents come to the trade from either college, where they intern at agencies, or from publishing houses because they like spotting a gem in the rough more than cutting the stone into a gem.

Trust me, though, they don't create a fictitious bubble. They know good writing. Readers are finicky, though, sort of like cats. What interests them today might not tomorrow and sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind in experimenting. Agents are more than happy to throw caution to the wind if they think the book can sell. Has it occurred to you that the reason why large agencies were formed is because the founding agents recognized that they might spot a book that they don't know how to sell (because they don't know the editors that would buy it) so they called a friend to ask if they would make the initial contact with the editor? Then they realized that, "Wow! That worked really well! Let's do that again." :D And then more and more agents with specific talents and specific contacts joined and so on and so forth. A multi-genre agency was born and one single query can get moved from agent to agent, all in-house, without the author ever knowing until they're contacted back with an offer from the agency.


I always thought the reason why so many stories of this generation lacked originality and thought, was because of the lack of original writters. But now, I believe it's due to the fact that most Agents/Publishers are closed minded, or are tainted to their fears of the market, to "what's in". Including if they have factual evidence to support their fears.

Sorry. This is simply not true. Agents and publishers aren't closed minded. But they are the ones laying out the money to put the book on the shelf, so they are cautious about what new and wild thing they should put out there. Things get rejected really fast in today's world. Heck, sometimes they get rejected before the book is even on the shelf.


Honestly, some of the greatest work of our time if had not been published yet, attempted to be published now, would probably never make it.

First of all, the literary world (businesses, writer's, reader's) is very small in percentage compared to the broad world of entertainment. Let's face it, not many people read. So with that said, the market's main influence is only shaped by the people who are regular readers or are active in the literary world. BUT there are some books that reach beyond the literary world, to those many people who don't usually read, but learned, or heard of a story so great they couldn't help but read or find out more information about this once project, that happened to be given a chance, and strived.

Millions and millions of books are sold around the world every year. It's a small percentage of the entire of the entertainment world, but it's nothing to sniff at. Yes, there are people who don't read. At all. I know a lot of them. They would no more buy a book because it was the "big thing" than a rotten cabbage. Readers read. That's your market and nothing will change that (except for maybe audio books)



PEOPLE BUY THE STORY NOT THE BOOK
A genre is mainly for classifications, agreed? it's the story/ uniqueness of the story that truly wins people over for years to come. EX: What's the genre of novels such as twilight? Sure you did your homework, you might know it. I don't, and many of the readers/non readers don't either, they just know the story. People who do not usually read, had read that book. This goes for with the harry potter series etc etc. It wasn't because of the "brilliant writing" techniques or the "Amazing Author" It was because of the brilliant/unique story.

The classification is Young Adult, which is a dumping ground for every single adult genre that happens to have a teenaged protagonist. YA readers know the genre, it's about a third of the store, so it's pretty easy to find. Actually, for all of those who hate on Twilight, really WAS the brilliant writing technique that sold it. The story wasn't all that much to write home about, but the way it was told really captured the emotional angst of a time of life that readers could relate to. But you seem to separate the concept of a "good story" from "good writing" which is a mistake. A story is only good because of the writing. It's the turn of phrase, the way dialogue seems to come from the heart, the way action leaps off the page that invests a reader in the characters. Without good writing, the best concept won't hold water. Good story has nothing over effective delivery.


So my question is, how can an agent or even publisher really represent the interest of (in a broad sense) everyone? And how can they really "not feel connected" to a story, without actually reading it, or being open enough to see how it could relate/interest a very broad amount of people even if it doesn't relate to them, or to their knowledge, fit into the literary market.

Because agents (and editors, by extension) have seen so very many plots that they can see which ones, just from the wording of a query, can stand up to 80,000-100,000 pages. It's a rare talent, which is why there aren't all that many agents by comparison to the number of writers.


A standard query, in most cases is not enough to even begin to elaborate on the greatness of a project, A paragraph pitch of each chapter would be even be better suited, but people stick to laws and normality. However even the perfect query is no match for the average agent, who cares more about their reputation than their job.

Their reputation IS their job. Their job depends, every day, on the editor's assurance that the book presented by the agent has a chance at success. It's that rare talent that keeps the agent in business. Let's look at a different art---music. If you have an Eric Clapton level guitarist, just starting out, they have to prove themselves in the business. They have to play with bassists and drummers who are their equal. And if they outgrow a band---if the drummer will never be a world-class drummer and the bassist can't keep the counterpoint---well, their reputation will demand that they move on. They might not like to, but reputation is everything, in every trade. So the Eric Claptons of the world join up with the best lead singers, and the best drummers and become the best band. But the reputation continues to follow them. They can't ever go backwards to the garage band where they started. They can't afford to lose that sure knowledge in the minds of the fans that the product they buy on the shelf will be any less than the one they bought last year. Or it's over.

Same with agents. They're only as sterling as their last sale, or last hit. So the big agents wind up with the big names because they've proven they can HANDLE the big names. You can't imagine the pressure of representing a major name. My agent reps some of the biggest names in the business and I'm forever grateful for her knowledge of things I've gotten and many I have yet to experience--negotiating movie deals, foreign contracts, audio rights, video/RPG games, etc., etc.

An agent isn't just someone who sends out a few query letters and takes a cut of the inevitable profit. There are a thousand details to manage on every client, for a paltry sum. For every $60,000 contract that took the better part of a year to negotiate, they get a whopping $9,000 (spread over the course of three years, by the way.) For a year's work of nearly every-day emails, phone calls, contract reviews, contract edits, book revisions, marketing coordination, etc., etc. It takes knowledge and skill to know every twist of phrase in a 20 page contract and make it sit up and sing for your client. And they do it really, for nothing but the hope is that the effort will grow the author and more money can be made later---for both agent and author. It doesn't always happen, of course, but sometimes they strike gold and the money eventually makes a monthly salary possible.



Again, how is it beneficial, not only the Literary Market, but to the Literary World, if doors are shut to scared, closed minded individuals who are brainwashed in their own sense of securities.

Hardly closed, or scared. The book world is exciting and forever invigorating to agents who get to see remarkable talent every single day. I don't know a single agent out there that doesn't get a rush out of finding that one amazing novel that might be the next big thing. Otherwise, why would they willingly wade through the sometimes horrible slush to find those rare gems?


You can learn to judge, you can learn to write/edit. You can read all the facts, and historical works. You can study the market, and leech your opinions off of previous success stories.

But sometime in your career you have to realize, you are not just an agent. You're a key to Literature, and you can impact the market yourself, and a world broader than the one you're currently craving to be a part of.

Oh, they know. But they don't leech opinions. They change the face of public opinion by the books they select. Do you even realize the rarity of the concept of "previous success story" sales? There's no collusion out there. Why would there be when every agent is trying to be the "ONE BIG THING"? It's some sort of medical mystery that five publishing houses published five authors, represented by different agents, who happened to stumble upon the five people who simultaneously happened to write about zombies with books that took from a year to a decade to write. :Wha: It truly boggles the mind, since it takes more than another year for a book to go from manuscript to printed book and nobody talked to each other. Weird.


That is what an Agent should strive to be. A key, not a lock.

They are a key. But the key only opens to manuscripts that are ready. They're not going to sell the public trash. The public doesn't want it. They won't read it (even if you give away for free or $.99 on Kindle). They'll spit it out in the agent's face. And the agent knows it. But the unique, the different, the special, well-written book? They're all about giving that author the key. It happens every day. Just look at the Goals and Accomplishments board here at AW if you don't believe me. Every day, we have members given the key. It happens. Every single day.


[/U][/I][/B]So can someone explain to me why this happens?

FYI: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh*

They don't sign many authors a year because there's only so many hours in the day, and the day is filled with meetings and calls and emails and contracts and books from their existing authors. It takes time. But there's an open door somewhere and an agent might be looking for just what you're offering. It just takes time to try all the doors until one has a key in it. :)


Again, I don't know the business, I'm just wondering.

So, you can stop wondering the moment you go forth and learn the business. It's what I did. Because I was "just wondering." Learn, grow and you too may be given the key.


- EDIT: If this seems a little immature, then I'm sorry for being 19. -

Hey, you get to be 19. We all were, or will be, too. :)

Better
08-14-2013, 06:04 AM
Lots of agents are looking for YA with no magic right now. I don't really see how a novel can be dystopian without that being the major theme? So it's dystopian YA?
It sounds amazing, and I can see why you are frustrated. You may need to keep working on to get it up to an even higher standard than it already is.

Thanks for understanding.
Whenever i mention dystopian agents run and hide, they just don't understand. To top that Military is only really accepted for non fiction, and Adult non fiction at that. Which is why I'm in the predicament I'm in now. Agents aren't open enough, I didn't write it to be that way, it's how it turned out. eh Dystopian is not the main it's extremely hard to explain.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 06:13 AM
Thanks for understanding.
Whenever i mention dystopian agents run and hide, they just don't understand. To top that Military is only really accepted for non fiction, and Adult non fiction at that. Which is why I'm in the predicament I'm in now. Agents aren't open enough, I didn't write it to be that way, it's how it turned out. eh Dystopian is not the main it's extremely hard to explain.


"Military" is not a genre...


If you don't think dystopian is correct, although I still think you could query under that genre, just query it as contemp YA. Seriously, YA agents aren't going to nit-pick as much as you seem to think.



Perhaps if you gave us a short synopsis, it would be easier to suggest useful genres for you to query under?

Better
08-14-2013, 06:13 AM
YA is a marketing category, not a genre. I'd say you could query it as dystopian YA, and not raise any eyebrows. I would certainly not categorize it as ahead of its time. How much YA do you generally read?

Besides the last percy jackson novel, not too many YA :D

I'm scared to genre it Dystopian when it's mainly based military. I say ahead of it's time because I can't think or find any similar novel, so i feel alone.

Better
08-14-2013, 06:15 AM
"Military" is not a genre...


If you don't think dystopian is correct, although I still think you could query under that genre, just query it as contemp YA. Seriously, YA agents aren't going to nit-pick as much as you seem to think.

Actually Military is a Genre....?

EDIT: where can i give synopsis at?

buz
08-14-2013, 06:23 AM
Thanks for understanding.
Whenever i mention dystopian agents run and hide, they just don't understand. To top that Military is only really accepted for non fiction, and Adult non fiction at that. Which is why I'm in the predicament I'm in now. Agents aren't open enough, I didn't write it to be that way, it's how it turned out. eh Dystopian is not the main it's extremely hard to explain.

Military sci fi is a thing, or military fantasy, or just historical...

Military nonfiction is a thing, yes, but "military" by itself is not a fiction genre.

Military-themed novels are widespread but often fall under the umbrella of other genres: thriller, historical, etc.

It's not that "agents aren't open enough." If your writing in this thread is any indication of what your manuscript looks like, the writing itself needs work. Even if it's not, the query may well need work.

If you haven't researched the genres sufficiently, that may be why you're having trouble. You may also be having trouble finding similar books because you haven't read much YA outside of Percy Jackson.

Again, have you ever submitted anything for critique?

PS. You said it's historical; what time period/culture is it? And what is the word count?

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 06:27 AM
Besides the last percy jackson novel, not too many YA :D

I'm scared to genre it Dystopian when it's mainly based military. I say ahead of it's time because I can't think or find any similar novel, so i feel alone.

Well, there might be your issue, then, in thinking your book is so unique it can't be genred. Percy Jackson is somewhere between YA and MG. You should look around at some of the books in YA, and maybe read a few to learn a bit more about how the category works.


Actually Military is a Genre....?

EDIT: where can i give synopsis at?

Not in commercial genre fiction it ain't. Not so that it'd matter, anyway. It's certainly not a genre in YA that has nay traction. There are military thrillers or procedurals, but those are sub-genres.


I meant you could probably give one in this thread, or you could start a thread in the YA board and ask for help determining what genre yo query under.

Better
08-14-2013, 06:30 AM
Military sci fi is a thing, or military fantasy, or just historical...

Military nonfiction is a thing, yes, but "military" by itself is not a fiction genre.

Military-themed novels are widespread but often fall under the umbrella of other genres: thriller, historical, etc.

It's not that "agents aren't open enough." If your writing in this thread is any indication of what your manuscript looks like, the writing itself needs work. The query may well need work, too.

If you haven't researched the genres sufficiently, that may be why you're having trouble. You may also be having trouble finding similar books because you haven't read any YA outside of Percy Jackson.

Again, have you ever submitted anything for critique?

No, the ms went through many versions of editing/polishing/research.

Look up the word "Militarism" if you don't know what it means
then add Dystopian to it, next categorize it into YA, as mystery/historical fiction, outcoming to an utopian by end of a stand alone trilogy

Then help me decide what Genre to call it.

buz
08-14-2013, 06:32 AM
No, the ms went through many versions of editing/polishing/research.

Look up the word "Militarism" if you don't know what it means
then add Dystopian to it, next categorize it into YA, as mystery/historical fiction.

Then help me decide what Genre to call it.

Military themes can easily be absorbed into dystopian, historical or mystery; you don't need to worry about that aspect.

What historical culture/time period is it based in?

Better
08-14-2013, 06:42 AM
Military themes can easily be absorbed into dystopian, historical or mystery; you don't need to worry about that aspect.

What historical culture/time period is it based in?

the story is set in a present/reality becomes sudden change way, the reason i added historical fiction is because the mystery portion is of why historical attributes or laws came to be in place today. Using hidden meanings behind a few big ones..

Jennifer_Laughran
08-14-2013, 06:44 AM
I don't want to bluntly say Agents act stuck up, or are self centered (although for a few, that would be considered valid). Also note, this thread post isn't in any way intended to flam or belittle anyone, or be considered as a rant. I would like an discussion.

Agents ARE self-centered, if by "self-centered" you mean, "interested in making money for their own clients and by extension themselves."


: If agents make a percentage, why do they turn down projects only because it does not relate to them. But choose projects that they feel "will sell", only because it relates/connects to them? How does that benefit them, or the Literary Market?Cause there's only so much time in the day, babe. Remember? SELF-CENTERED. I don't care about the "Literary Market" as a whole - I care about the part I personally represent. I can't represent everything in the world just because it exists and is halfway decent -- I can only take on a very few clients per year, out of many hundreds/thousands. So I have to narrow it down significantly. How do I narrow it down? By picking things I think I have a reasonable chance of selling, and that I feel strongly about.


MOST Agents,
from what I've read, interned, and/or graduated from various colleges etc, and are in / have been in the literary world most of their lives. So I can't help but think that's the reason why most Agents create a fictitious element bubble of what they believe is good, or not good based on their interests and/or idols/successful Authors. I don't even know what this means. I have good taste, that has been honed by decades of reading, thinking about, discussing, and yes, SELLING books. Yes, having a history and knowing lots of books and authors probably informs my taste. That's not a BAD thing. I am quite good at picking things I think will sell. And they do. So not a very "fictitious element bubble" (!?!) after all.


I always thought the reason why so many stories of this generation lacked originality and thought, was because of the lack of original writters. But now, I believe it's due to the fact that most Agents/Publishers are closed minded, or are tainted to their fears of the market, to "what's in". Including if they have factual evidence to support their fears.Or you just don't read widely enough.



Honestly, some of the greatest work of our time if had not been published yet, attempted to be published now, would probably never make it.Well, no. The greatest work OF OUR TIME would certainly be published now -- NOW is our time. If you mean like, Shakespeare or whatever -- that's NOT of our time.


First of all, the literary world (businesses, writer's, reader's) is very small in percentage compared to the broad world of entertainment. Let's face it, not many people read. So with that said, the market's main influence is only shaped by the people who are regular readers or are active in the literary world. BUT there are some books that reach beyond the literary world, to those many people who don't usually read, but learned, or heard of a story so great they couldn't help but read or find out more information about this once project, that happened to be given a chance, and strived.Totally don't get what this has to do with anything.



PEOPLE BUY THE STORY NOT THE BOOK
A genre is mainly for classifications, agreed? it's the story/ uniqueness of the story that truly wins people over for years to come. EX: What's the genre of novels such as twilight? Sure you did your homework, you might know it. I don't, and many of the readers/non readers don't either, they just know the story. People who do not usually read, had read that book. This goes for with the harry potter series etc etc. It wasn't because of the "brilliant writing" techniques or the "Amazing Author" It was because of the brilliant/unique story.Ehhh I kinda disagree. While I don't think many readers know or care what specific marketing terminology is used or who the publisher is, and some books take off in ways that are unexpected, I DO think many people buy based on "Amazing Author" or "Brilliant Writing" as much as "Great Story" -- But ok, whatever. I still don't see why any of this means that Agents should be doing something different than they are doing, or acting differently than they are acting. Twilight, HP, and the other examples you cite, are PERFECT EXAMPLES of agents being great champions for books and selling them really well. Sooo.... what's the problem?



So my question is, how can an agent or even publisher really represent the interest of (in a broad sense) everyone? And how can they really "not feel connected" to a story, without actually reading it, or being open enough to see how it could relate/interest a very broad amount of people even if it doesn't relate to them, or to their knowledge, fit into the literary market.Well that's an easy one. Agents are not interested in representing the interest of EVERYONE. They are interested in representing their CLIENT. They can feel "not connected" to things in the same way that you don't "feel connected" to every single thing that YOU read. Sure, you might like a lot of stuff -- but would you be willing to RISK YOUR HOME FOR IT?

If I take on a new client, I am basically agreeing to do a shitload of work that I'm not getting paid for, FOR YEARS. That, in fact, I might NEVER get paid for. And I have a mortgage.

I can look at a query and pages and have a very good sense of whether or not this is going to work for me, quite quickly.

That DOESN'T mean I only pick out "sure things" -- in fact I am personally not interested in things that are "normal" or highly commercial fluff. Had TWILIGHT passed my desk, I would have passed. But the things that I do take on, I love, and tend to sell.



A standard query, in most cases is not enough to even begin to elaborate on the greatness of a projectBULLSHIT.



A paragraph pitch of each chapter would be even be better suited, but people stick to laws and normality. However even the perfect query is no match for the average agent, who cares more about their reputation than their job.Huh? I care about both my reputation AND my job. But mostly I care about my TIME. As in, I don't have TIME to read nine-thousand paragraphs... nor do I need to.



Again, how is it beneficial, not only the Literary Market, but to the Literary World, if doors are shut to scared, closed minded individuals who are brainwashed in their own sense of securities.This paragraph makes no sense.


You can learn to judge, you can learn to write/edit. You can read all the facts, and historical works. You can study the market, and leech your opinions off of previous success stories.OK. Errr... whatever.


But sometime in your career you have to realize, you are not just an agent. You're a key to Literature, and you can impact the market yourself, and a world broader than the one you're currently craving to be a part of. That is what an Agent should strive to be. A key, not a lock.I wrote the meanest response to this part, but I am self-editing so as not to scar anyone for life and seal the dark reputation of Agents world-wide.

FYI: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh* Listen, are you in college? Are you taking 500 units this semester? WHY NOT? You say you don't have the inclination, or indeed the time? BUT WHY DOES THAT EVEN MATTER? *sigh*

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 06:44 AM
the story is set in a reality becomes sudden change way, the reason i added historical fiction is because the mystery portion is of why historical attributes or laws came to be in place today. Using hidden meanings behind a few big ones..

I'm not even really sure what that sentence means....



But is any of the story actually set in the past? Or does it just reference it. Unless significant portions of the narrative action occur in the past, I wouldn't call it historical fiction.

Better
08-14-2013, 06:49 AM
I'm not even really sure what that sentence means....



But is any of the story actually set in the past? Or does it just reference it. Unless significant portions of the narrative action occur in the past, I wouldn't call it historical fiction.

Okay nothing is narratively set in the past, besides the characters memory, so... no historical fiction?

Amadan
08-14-2013, 06:49 AM
Better,

You are confusing people (a board full of very well-read writers) just trying to explain what genre you are writing in and what type of story it is.

To be honest, I find your posts hard to follow, grammatically and semantically.

This may be not unrelated to your difficulty in finding an agent.

I would suggest perhaps, since you are only 19, your time would be better spent polishing your writing than speculating about the dark motives of agents and why they won't buy your book.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 06:49 AM
I wrote the meanest response to this part, but I am self-editing so as not to scar anyone for life and seal the dark reputation of Agents world-wide.


I think all the rest of us are supremely disappointed not to see the truth behind the polite agent mask. :poke:

thothguard51
08-14-2013, 06:50 AM
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't dystopian generally in the future?

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 06:51 AM
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't dystopian generally in the future?


Doesn't have to be. Although it's more difficult to set it super-near-future or contemp.

thothguard51
08-14-2013, 06:53 AM
the story is set in a present/reality becomes sudden change way, the reason i added historical fiction is because the mystery portion is of why historical attributes or laws came to be in place today. Using hidden meanings behind a few big ones..

And where do these hidden meanings come from, you the writer, historical text/documents, or research papers?

Sirion
08-14-2013, 06:54 AM
There are so many tangents in this post that it's hard to nail down exactly what your point is. It seems that you believe that agents (by the way, there are thousands of literary agents out there so generalizing them is a problem for me) only wanting to represent books that will sell is a bad thing.

It isn't. Selling books is the whole point of the publishing industry. Books of all shapes and sizes get represented (and published) every single week. If a book is well written and engaging, then there's bound to be a home for it somewhere. Agents have families to feed, mortgages to pay, and have to trend towards books that many people will enjoy.

As to the 'self centered' comment: Anyone would come across as self-centered if you only ever read a form letter that they copied and pasted into an e-mail. Agents can get hundreds of queries a week, (many of them unintelligible or just plain awful), so they copy and paste a form rejection. Because many people might try to follow up a rejection with questions or (God-forbid) calls, the rejection letters are often straight to the point.

TT

Better
08-14-2013, 06:58 AM
And where do these hidden meanings come from, you the writer, historical text/documents, or research papers?

The meanings are realistic fiction, the laws etc are real and obvious. Is anyone really reading?

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 07:00 AM
The meanings are realistic fiction, the laws etc are real and obvious. Is anyone really reading?


Is it in any way thriller-ish?

frankiebrown
08-14-2013, 07:01 AM
I did choose my Agents carefully, problem is... this novel doesn't fit into any genre alone by any means, and so I must try to find an agent that does the range in genres in which the novel is set. Their are few agents who do, and it makes it that much harder. I would hate to sacrifice partial story to fit into one genre that an agent represents just to have it requested/published, if you can understand that. :(


Many successful books cross genre lines. Your case isn't unique, or even uncommon. Instead of pointing fingers at the industry, try taking a good, hard look at your own writing. Take a magnifying glass to your grammar, narrative structure, spelling and plotting. Is it ready to be published? Are you ready as a writer?

I know you're only nineteen. I'm not much older than you. Your age isn't an excuse for the disrespectful, "immature" tone that some of your posts contain. You are an adult.

Better
08-14-2013, 07:03 AM
I have nothing more to reply to those who clearly scimmed & didn't read the post.
Sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.

This thread has nothing to do with my writing style or editing capabilities as I hope it doesn't to yours as well.

Better
08-14-2013, 07:06 AM
Is it in any way thriller-ish?

Yeah! thriller-ish is perfect..

Sirion
08-14-2013, 07:08 AM
I have nothing more to reply to those who clearly scimmed & didn't read the post.
Sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.

I read the post.

Nobody means to come off crass, but every once in a while we see posts like these criticizing some part of the industry. And while criticizing is fine (encouraged even), you have to accept that a lot of people here are going to have a conflicting opinion.

Usually when newbies make threads like these it's because they had sub-par queries or manuscripts, and are frustrated with agents for not seeing their vision. I AM NOT saying that this is the case for you, I am just saying that it happens often.

Like I said before: books of all types are published all the time. Books that cross genres and touch all kinds of different subjects. If the writing is good and the story is strong, there's a place for it somewhere.

Cathy C
08-14-2013, 07:12 AM
I don't know those genre's particularly but I know the books quite well, that's why I used them as reference.

This one is first in trilogy YA, but touches on historical fiction/mystery and is based upon military. but features dystopian with a goal set to an utopian-ish outcome HOWEVER it is completely realistic (no magic etc) story with twists that forces important lessons on the characters. it's the twists that would categorize it into such genre but they are necessary. Seems broad and too much, but it really isn't..I could not personalize it into a genre that would do it much justice. I know that simple sells. There also isn't much if any gore or anything so. Zzzzz maybe it is just too ahead of it's time.

Okay, so based on later posts, it's not historical, it has a military setting, no fantasy, near-contemporary time period, but after some sort of disaster (sort of required for the dystopian aspect) and has teenaged protagonists. Is that about the scene?

It so, your genre is. . . (Drum roll, please)

YA Adventure.

Military is a setting, not a genre. Dystopian is a theme. Post-disaster protagonists trying to survive long enough to solve the mystery is the plot. The age group sets the shelving classification, and "adventure" includes the others. Easy-peasy. No need to complicate it. That's what the query and synopsis are for. :)

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 07:13 AM
Yeah! thriller-ish is perfect..


YA Thrillers are perennially popular, and you should have no trouble querying as a YA thriller.


That's why you have to do research into your age category. If you'd read more YA, you'd know YA thrillers are pretty common.

WriterTrek
08-14-2013, 07:14 AM
I have nothing more to reply to those who clearly scimmed & didn't read the post.
Sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.

This thread has nothing to do with my writing style or editing capabilities as I hope it doesn't to yours as well.
Posts like this are why other posters are finding you to be aggressive and commenting on what amounts to your "tone." Also doing things like telling someone to google "militarism" if they don't know what it means, when what they are trying to do is help you understand genre (something you admit that you are not familiar with).

Also *skimmed

One of those "it's not what you say but how you say it" rules.

I think part of the problem here is that you feel... entitled? Maybe. You've written something that you think is of publishable quality but can't find anyone willing to take it on.

My understanding of agents is that, hm. They aren't there to do any hand-holding or helping of random authors. They're there for their clients, and to find themselves new clients that they think will further their own goals.

Even if you wrote something that's pretty good, it might not be something they're into. We've all done that, read books that we thought were pretty good but didn't really "do it" for us.

I assume agents are the same, but due to limited time and resources they don't take on all the "pretty good" books they come across. They take on the ones that they are really getting a great feel for.

I think your book sounds interesting, at least from what I've gotten out of your posts. It does not sound so incredibly different/unique to be astounding however, and that's fine. It's different, but not so different that it would cause you trouble.

There's stories out there like how JK Rowling couldn't get an agent for a long time, and so on. If those are true then sure, sometimes a winner falls through the cracks.

But I think that's pretty rare?

Eh, I don't know so I'll stop talking. I haven't queried a lot yet but it's coming up soon, so this is an interesting thread for me to read.

Better
08-14-2013, 07:17 AM
YA Thrillers are perennially popular, and you should have no trouble querying as a YA thriller.


That's why you have to do research into your age category. If you'd read more YA, you'd know YA thrillers are pretty common.

When I said Thriller-ish I meant exactly that. If I were to query as thriller only, it would probably disappoint the agent, but I will attempt to query those interested in that genre.
I did a lot of research on YA novels of all the genre types, sadly no luck

Medievalist
08-14-2013, 07:17 AM
The meanings are realistic fiction, the laws etc are real and obvious. Is anyone really reading?

Err . . . given the absence of lucidity in that initial post, and your increasing failure to write to communicate, I'd suggest you take another gander at Strunk and Write or a similar comp text, because you're not making sense.

Think about what you want to communicate. Think about your audience your readers—in this case, a lot of writers, many of whom live from their writing, many editors, a number of agents and quite a few publishers.

Better
08-14-2013, 07:20 AM
Okay, so based on later posts, it's not historical, it has a military setting, no fantasy, near-contemporary time period, but after some sort of disaster (sort of required for the dystopian aspect) and has teenaged protagonists. Is that about the scene?

It so, your genre is. . . (Drum roll, please)

YA Adventure.

Military is a setting, not a genre. Dystopian is a theme. Post-disaster protagonists trying to survive long enough to solve the mystery is the plot. The age group sets the shelving classification, and "adventure" includes the others. Easy-peasy. No need to complicate it. That's what the query and synopsis are for. :)

It's no adventure lol. Trust me, :P
I may have to post synopsis for further help tomorrow though.

Sirion
08-14-2013, 07:22 AM
When I said Thriller-ish I meant exactly that. If I were to query as thriller only, it would probably disappoint the agent, but I will attempt to query those interested in that genre.
I did a lot of research on YA novels of all the genre types, sadly no luck

Might I suggest checking out the Share Your Work (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=26) part of the forum if you haven't already (the password is 'vista'). It's a nice critiquing tool. Although I believe you need at least 50 posts to make a thread, you can build up your posts by commenting on other people's works.

Maybe your query/manuscript just needs to be refined? We can help!

Jennifer_Laughran
08-14-2013, 07:23 AM
I have nothing more to reply to those who clearly scimmed & didn't read the post.
Sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.

This thread has nothing to do with my writing style or editing capabilities as I hope it doesn't to yours as well.

* skimmed

blacbird
08-14-2013, 07:25 AM
I would like an discussion.

If your work contains a lot of sentences like this, I can see why an agent might not take it on.

Agents are in business to make a living. Period. End of story. Their time, like anyone else's, has value. If they don't think they can sell a manuscript, they reject it.

That is all. Carry on.

caw

frankiebrown
08-14-2013, 07:25 AM
I have nothing more to reply to those who clearly scimmed & didn't read the post.
Sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.

This thread has nothing to do with my writing style or editing capabilities as I hope it doesn't to yours as well.

I've been following this thread for a while, Better.

I'm not sure what more you're looking for. Everyone is repeating the same advice and arguments, and I'm sorry, but you're not supplying very coherent counter-arguments.

WriterTrek is exactly right with the entitlement theory, imo. You're nineteen. You wrote a book. Good for you!

Now edit it, rewrite it, get some beta readers and craft an excellent query letter. Know that agents don't owe anything to their slush piles. If this manuscript isn't the one, then move on to the next project, just like everyone else does. But don't criticize the whole agent-editor model because you can't find a home for your manuscript.

Better
08-14-2013, 07:25 AM
* skimmed

Good catch, :)

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 07:26 AM
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't dystopian generally in the future?
Well yes this is what I was thinking.....?

Better
08-14-2013, 07:32 AM
I've been following this thread for a while, Better.

I'm not sure what more you're looking for. Everyone is repeating the same advice and arguments, and I'm sorry, but you're not supplying very coherent counter-arguments.

WriterTrek is exactly right with the entitlement theory, imo. You're nineteen. You wrote a book. Good for you!

Now edit it, rewrite it, get some beta readers and craft an excellent query letter. Know that agents don't owe anything to their slush piles. If this manuscript isn't the one, then move on to the next project, just like everyone else does. But don't criticize the whole agent-editor model because you can't find a home for your manuscript.

This is not my only novel, and I have particular rewrote and edited over ten times after completion. It is polished, and so is the Query. I don't feel entitled, I just really itched for an answer which I have gotten much further back into the post.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 07:32 AM
When I said Thriller-ish I meant exactly that. If I were to query as thriller only, it would probably disappoint the agent, but I will attempt to query those interested in that genre.
I did a lot of research on YA novels of all the genre types, sadly no luck


You need to do more than research, though. You need to read widely in the genre. IMO.

Besides if you can say "thriller-ish", you can query it as a "thriller" and let the agent work out how to pitch it to editors with a more appropriate genre.

robjvargas
08-14-2013, 07:32 AM
If by personal you mean directed towards me individually, yes. If you mean personal as in their personal opinions, then I cannot say for sure. I know they are directed towards me because they always specify on the project characteristics and to my background, giving me sites to check for other agents.

I am not upset about my rejections/replies They actually encouraged me in a way! But I just wonder, why. and to answer the book store comment, If i was actively looking for something to read, and someone offered me a unique book that I found interesting even if I didn't usual read those kinds, I would read it.

I haven't read any of the responses beyond the post quoted above, so I may repeat what someone else has. Apologies if so.

Better, if you accept that book that's unusual, are you basing your income on accepting that book?

No, you're not.

Agents, that's what they do all day every day. They go to conferences, they meet with authors they represent, with publishers to whom they try to sell work, and if that effort doesn't pay off, they don't get paid.

I *promise* you that, as a reader, it's clear to me that selling an epic fantasy is not at all like selling an historic romance set in 15th century Britain. The readers are different, the standards of language and style are different, the cover design is different.

Any agent that tries to tell you that they can represent any book if it is simply interesting enough is either smoking something or about to take you for every dollar they can squeeze from you.

I've read articles from agents who admitted they turned down this or that best seller, and they are *happy* for the author and the agent that succeeded. 90% of the time (maybe even closer to 100%), the agent doesn't regret turning the work down. Because that best seller was in a genre or a market that the agent didn't know and couldn't sell.

I haven't seen agents as you describe. Doesn't mean that they aren't out there. But, frankly, I think you've got completely unrealistic expectations and out-of-touch vision of what a traditionally published book entails. You would learn a whole lot from the agent blogs and the experiences that you've already received from the others in this forum.

Better
08-14-2013, 07:36 AM
Well yes this is what I was thinking.....?

IMO dystopian only makes sense to be in future. But one can exaggerate the past. My novel is set presently erupting if you will... into a world closely related to dystopian. Lol

Jennifer_Laughran
08-14-2013, 07:36 AM
This is not my only novel, and I have particular rewrote and edited over ten times after completion. It is polished, and so is the Query. I don't feel entitled, I just really itched for an answer which I have gotten much further back into the post.

Well if you got the answer you were looking for WHY IN HELL are we all still talking about it?

*gallops into sunset*

*gallops back*

PS It sounds like you should call your book YA. That is enough, you really don't need to get more specific than that. Trust me.

*gallops into the night*

WriterTrek
08-14-2013, 07:37 AM
This is not my only novel, and I have particular rewrote and edited over ten times after completion. It is polished, and so is the Query. I don't feel entitled, I just really itched for an answer which I have gotten much further back into the post.
To be fair, rewriting and editing something yourself may or may not mean much. If you're a pro then this probably goes a long way, but even pros often need other people to look at their work and give them some feedback.

I expect that goes double for people just starting out. For instance, I had a start to a novelette that I "polished" up myself as well as I possibly could. I rewrote it several times, etc.

Then I put it in SYW and found out that there was still a lot to be done. That was fantastic.

But my point is that sometimes you can't see issues in your own work.

I'm not saying that's the case here -- your story may be fantabulous -- but you should at least consider the possibility?

Sirion
08-14-2013, 07:38 AM
This is not my only novel, and I have particular rewrote and edited over ten times after completion. It is polished, and so is the Query. I don't feel entitled, I just really itched for an answer which I have gotten much further back into the post.

Your grammar and syntax is very hard to follow. This (and the form rejections that you quoted earlier) may be why many people's first assumption is that there is a problem with the manuscript or query that you submitted.

frankiebrown
08-14-2013, 07:41 AM
This is not my only novel, and I have particular rewrote and edited over ten times after completion. It is polished, and so is the Query. I don't feel entitled, I just really itched for an answer which I have gotten much further back into the post.

Then something's still wrong. This thread has veered a little in the direction of diagnosing your manuscript woes, so I'll throw my hat in the ring.

I always like encouraging people in need of grammatical direction to read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Truly indispensable. Also, you should have someone else read your mansucript. Someone you're not related to and not friends with. A stranger, ideally one with a strong grasp of grammar.

Is English by chance your second language?

Better
08-14-2013, 07:47 AM
Then something's still wrong. This thread has veered a little in the direction of diagnosing your manuscript woes, so I'll throw my hat in the ring.

I always like encouraging people in need of grammatical direction to read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Truly indispensable. Also, you should have someone else read your mansucript. Someone you're not related to and not friends with. A stranger, ideally one with a strong grasp of grammar.

Is English by chance your second language?

I speak spanish about the same, but english is my first language. I'm fairly good at English, it's just when it comes to this novel I can't put it into words that wouldn't scare off an agent.

Better
08-14-2013, 07:49 AM
Well if you got the answer you were looking for WHY IN HELL are we all still talking about it?

*gallops into sunset*

*gallops back*

PS It sounds like you should call your book YA. That is enough, you really don't need to get more specific than that. Trust me.

*gallops into the night*

Thanks, many agencies require a specific genre categorization though. I can attempt that too, I wonder... could I just query, "I don't know?"

blacbird
08-14-2013, 07:50 AM
This is not my only novel, and I have particular rewrote and edited over ten times after completion.

Says it all.

caw

WriterTrek
08-14-2013, 07:51 AM
I think frankiebrown is referring to your posts here, given that's what we've been reading.

Your spelling, grammar, and syntax are mediocre at best.

That doesn't mean the same is true of your novel -- the polishing you mentioned may have weeded all of that out -- but again, it's something to consider.

You aren't coming across as a professional, at least not in my opinion.

frankiebrown
08-14-2013, 07:53 AM
(bold mine)


I speak spanish about the same, but english is my first language. I'm fairly good at English, it's just when it comes to this novel I can't put it into words that wouldn't scare off an agent.

Well, if you want to be a writer, that's a problem.

This is coming from a positive place, I promise: your English needs a lot of work. Spelling, punctuation, conjugation, clarity... basically everything. I think it's a pretty safe assumption that your manuscript has most of the same issues your comments have. If so, you are nowhere near ready to query.

But there's good news! You can learn. You can improve. You can edit those nasty comma splices and improperly conjugated verbs right out of your manuscript! It just might take time.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 07:53 AM
Thanks, many agencies require a specific genre categorization though. I can attempt that too, I wonder... could I just query, "I don't know?"


That's what she means by just call it YA. As long as the agent doesn't say "I only read YA Urban Fantasy", you're probably safe submitting to them under YA, and letting them decide how to go further.

Better
08-14-2013, 07:53 AM
Says it all.

caw

write a 80-90k Dystopian-ish novel and see how many times you rewrite/edit it.

That says nothing.

Chumplet
08-14-2013, 07:57 AM
Okay, here's the thing. Aside from polishing, honing, sharpening and all that stuff, a new writer should learn patience. Dashing off that first novel or three is soooo satisfying, and you want the world to read it RIGHT NOW. Why don't all the agents fall over it? That's been explained here. Even if an agent loves your book, they don't have the time to invest making it into something they can sell.

I know this. I've had those personal rejections. I've been very close a few times. I don't take it personally. I just keep trying, and continue to write other works. Each one gets a little better. I look at my old stuff and think, "Oooh, that's embarrassing."

You'll be fine. Just keep an open mind and keep reading all those agent blogs, and make sure your work is hammered to smithereens until it is blinding.

frankiebrown
08-14-2013, 08:00 AM
write a 80-90k Dystopian-ish novel and see how many times you rewrite/edit it.

That says nothing.

I think he was referring to the grammatical errors in the post. Let's see, maybe this can be a learning experience...


This is not my only novel. and I have particular rewrote rewritten and edited it over ten times after completion I completed the first draft. It is polished and so is the query. I don't feel entitled; I was just really itching for an answer, which I have gotten received much further back into the post thread.

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 08:02 AM
IMO dystopian only makes sense to be in future. But one can exaggerate the past. My novel is set presently erupting if you will... into a world closely related to dystopia. Lol
Like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. That isn't that unusual.

WriterTrek
08-14-2013, 08:02 AM
Bravo, frankie. You beat me ;)

robjvargas
08-14-2013, 08:03 AM
This is not my only novel, and I have particular rewrote and edited over ten times after completion. It is polished, and so is the Query. I don't feel entitled, I just really itched for an answer which I have gotten much further back into the post.

And how many times did you go over your query letter? Your synopsis?

Because I have to tell you a very harsh fact.

Your extemporaneous writing doesn't give me a lot of confidence your query or your work is as polished as it should be.

It's not fair to compare a few posts to a whole novel that's been through the editing process. But this is all we have to go on.

frankiebrown
08-14-2013, 08:04 AM
Bravo, frankie. You beat me ;)

Where's Buz? I probably made a mistake somewhere in there...

roseangel
08-14-2013, 08:04 AM
write a 80-90k Dystopian-ish novel and see how many times you rewrite/edit it.

That says nothing.

People edit and rewrite as many times as needed. 50k to 500k, they polish until it shines.

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 08:04 AM
(bold mine)



Well, if you want to be a writer, that's a problem.

This is coming from a positive place, I promise: your English needs a lot of work. Spelling, punctuation, conjugation, clarity... basically everything. I think it's a pretty safe assumption that your manuscript has most of the same issues your comments have.
Well maybe not? She may be upset, and not writing anything like her best?

frankiebrown
08-14-2013, 08:06 AM
Well maybe not? She may be upset, and not writing anything like her best?

That's fair. I could be completely wrong.

Better
08-14-2013, 08:07 AM
I think he was referring to the grammatical errors in the post. Let's see, maybe this can be a learning experience...

Sadly, it wasn't a learning experience. :( I typed&entered that as fast as it came to my head. Zzzz

frankiebrown
08-14-2013, 08:08 AM
Sadly, it wasn't a learning experience. :( I typed&entered that as fast as it came to my head. Zzzz

Okay. And with that, I bow out. Good luck, Better. I truly hope you find an agent and home for your book.

WriterTrek
08-14-2013, 08:09 AM
By the time this thread winds down you'll be able to post in SYW, lol.

GinJones
08-14-2013, 08:09 AM
If nothing else, this thread is getting the OP close to the fifty posts needed to get feedback in SYW.

One suggestion to the OP, though: before you post in SYW for feedback, :read:

Read them and THINK about them. Don't rush into posting there, especially if you're posting in Query Letter Hell.

virtue_summer
08-14-2013, 08:12 AM
Sadly, it wasn't a learning experience. :( I typed&entered that as fast as it came to my head. Zzzz
I'm sure this is becoming clear. When you're on a writing forum there's a good chance you're being judged by your writing.

Better
08-14-2013, 08:13 AM
Thanks frank, and yes I will attempt SYW. I'm hoping for classification help, at least.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 08:19 AM
If nothing else, this thread is getting the OP close to the fifty posts needed to get feedback in SYW.

One suggestion to the OP, though: before you post in SYW for feedback, :read:

Read them and THINK about them. Don't rush into posting there, especially if you're posting in Query Letter Hell.


Is 50 posts all in this thread still counted as hitting the limit? I'm honestly just curious...

Taylor Kowalski
08-14-2013, 08:20 AM
Cool your jets, Better. Right now you're sounding like a snubbed kid who got rejected a few too many times.


FYI: I am asking because every Agent that has replied to me, stated that my Novel is great, possibly amazing. But it just doesn't seem to "fit them", or their agency. Even simply because "They just don't sign many authors a year"... why does that even matter? *sigh*

When an agent turns you down, that's because they don't think they can sell your work. Judging by the replies you say you're getting, this is because you're probably querying to the wrong people. Why would you want someone who doesn't specialize in your genre to try and sell your book? That's a blow to your publishing chances from the get-go.

Figure out what genre your book is and find agents that represent it. They exist in multitudes, I assure you.

Also, in addition to Frankie's Strunk & White recommendation, I think that you should pick up a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves. It's a funny and accessible explanation of tricky English grammar.


Well maybe not? She may be upset, and not writing anything like her best?
There's a difference between frustrated writing and plainly poor grammar. I'm afraid that Better, in the quoted post in particular, is leaning towards the latter.

Better
08-14-2013, 08:26 AM
I agree grammar is essential, especially when it comes to writing literature. However, please remember that perfect grammar does not write a perfect book.

Better
08-14-2013, 08:32 AM
That's kind of what I was trying to mention, even if one learns the craft and market... How can anyone predict the success of a novel based on what is current. At one time, things that are current weren't current at all. I guess it takes luck&skill. And Agents only act accordingly to what they know, and pretty much are expected to. I just didn't get that...

Liosse de Velishaf
08-14-2013, 08:36 AM
That's kind of what I was trying to mention, even if one learns the craft and market... How can anyone predict the success of a novel based on what is current. At one time, things that are current weren't current at all. I guess it takes luck&skill. And Agents only act accordingly to what they know, and pretty much are expected to. I just didn't get that...


Yup, that's pretty much how it goes.

Susan Littlefield
08-14-2013, 08:45 AM
:welcome: better.

I could not read through this entire thread after a few pages, and finally went to the last page.


I agree grammar is essential, especially when it comes to writing literature. However, please remember that perfect grammar does not write a perfect book.

A book with poor grammar has much less of a chance of catching an agent's eye than a well edited book with excellent grammar.


That's kind of what I was trying to mention, even if one learns the craft and market... How can anyone predict the success of a novel based on what is current. At one time, things that are current weren't current at all. I guess it takes luck&skill. And Agents only act accordingly to what they know, and pretty much are expected to. I just didn't get that...

The bottom line is that agents have the experience to spot the potential sellers. They know what publishers do and do not want. If don't think your book will sell, they won't take it on. .

They called me Bruce
08-14-2013, 08:54 AM
There is always self publishing...

Xlibris is an imprint of Random House, and that's now part of Penguin apparently, so the game is changing.

I thought I'd put the cat amongst the pigeons, but this thread has some more, shall we say 'visceral' elements?

On the other end of the scale of 'why do actents act like..' is the story of 'Satanic verses' The agent who handled that was shot by extremists.

Perhaps the publishing industry is reaching a point where it has lost it's focus overall, as the US motor industry did. If this is so, we need to take care of our agents, and come to a new understanding of where we're going.

If only I knew where we are going...

They called me Bruce
08-14-2013, 08:59 AM
By the time this thread winds down you'll be able to post in SYW, lol.

It'll need editing with a chainsaw, and a lot of dialogue to 'show' the concepts, but yes, this is a story in itself. Expanded, it has the potential of 'Skygods the rise and fall of Pan American Airlines'.

There are always real estate agents to pick on of course.

For light relief, 'Hearts of darkness- a filmaker's apocalypse' by Sofia Coppolla (?) This was the behind the scenes story of the making of Apocalypse now.

roseangel
08-14-2013, 09:04 AM
Xlibris is an imprint of Random House, and that's now part of Penguin apparently, so the game is changing.


What does a vanity press have to do with self-publishing?

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 09:07 AM
Xlibris is an imprint of Random House, and that's now part of Penguin apparently, so the game is changing.


If only I knew where we are going...
Oh Jesus, Bruce for the love of God watch this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91qZ8noAZNc

Just for a start.
Then read all these http://www.google.com/search?q=xblris+scam

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 09:13 AM
What does a vanity press have to do with self-publishing?
Apparently they now use the names of the big Amazon successes like Amanda Hocking, to try and hoodwink more victims, because they have zero names of their own.
Bruce here is how "the game is changing" http://www.thepassivevoice.com/05/2013/the-author-exploitation-business/

robjvargas
08-14-2013, 09:20 AM
I agree grammar is essential, especially when it comes to writing literature. However, please remember that perfect grammar does not write a perfect book.

"I agree, but..."
"Yes, but..."

There's a pattern there, and it never ends well.

I really do wish you well and the best of luck. Even if I think you're going to need an inordinate amount of the latter.

I'm out.

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 09:28 AM
Xlibris is an imprint of Random House, and that's now part of Penguin apparently
And they are currently in court. http://accrispin.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/class-action-lawsuit-filed-against.html

They called me Bruce
08-14-2013, 09:36 AM
Seen all those. Plenty of that sort of stuff around. You can find a scam warning for almost everything on the net. Some of the technical ones show an amusing lack of knowledge. 911 conspiracies being some of the funniest things I've heard as an engineer.

I am reminded of a poem, which included a description of a pessimist- 'We'll all be rooned' said Hanrahan, 'before the year is out'."

Xlibris offers self publishing deals. They've been quite polite about it. Others haven't been polite about them, and some comments I've had privately show that there is a story there too, conflict, stress, unfounded opinions, the dark truth, the bald facts...someone else can write it.

Like I said- elements of the US car industry before Obama told them to sack their 'In' cliques in order to be bailed out.

mccardey
08-14-2013, 09:39 AM
derail/



I am reminded of a poem, which included a description of a pessimist- 'We'll all be ruined' said Hanrahan, 'before the year is out'.".

rooned. Not ruined.

/end derail

They called me Bruce
08-14-2013, 09:40 AM
And they are currently in court. http://accrispin.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/class-action-lawsuit-filed-against.html

Not worried about this until there's a judgment handed down. Sometimes lawsuits are filed with no hope of success, simply to put a competitor under financial stress, so I'd ignore this until after the last date for lodgement of appeal, or all avenues for appeal have been discharged.

They called me Bruce
08-14-2013, 09:41 AM
derail/


rooned. Not ruined.

/end derail

I stand corrected. Or lean on the bar, or whatever!

gingerwoman
08-14-2013, 09:57 AM
Seen all those. Plenty of that sort of stuff around. You can find a scam warning for almost everything
And the sales rep told you all this while selling you the "package"?

mccardey
08-14-2013, 10:18 AM
Seen all those. Plenty of that sort of stuff around. You can find a scam warning for almost everything on the net. .

Just to note, there's also an AW thread here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=942)in Bewares Recommendations and Background Checks, which contains quite a lot of info.

Old Hack
08-14-2013, 10:59 AM
I wanted an discussion, not an argument that many of you are so eager to feed me.


The meanings are realistic fiction, the laws etc are real and obvious. Is anyone really reading?


I have nothing more to reply to those who clearly scimmed & didn't read the post.
Sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.

This thread has nothing to do with my writing style or editing capabilities as I hope it doesn't to yours as well.


write a 80-90k Dystopian-ish novel and see how many times you rewrite/edit it.

That says nothing.

Better: watch your tone. You're coming across as rude in the posts of yours I've quoted, and it's not acceptable here: read AW's Newbie Guide (there's a link at the top of the page) and think carefully about what "respect your fellow writer" means before you post here again.

And get your hands on a copy of Carole Blake's "From Pitch To Publication", and read it a few times from cover to cover. It will answer all your questions with regard to how agents work, and why they accept so few of the submissions they receive.


Xlibris is an imprint of Random House, and that's now part of Penguin apparently, so the game is changing.

I thought I'd put the cat amongst the pigeons, but this thread has some more, shall we say 'visceral' elements?

On the other end of the scale of 'why do actents act like..' is the story of 'Satanic verses' The agent who handled that was shot by extremists.

If I remember rightly, Rushdie's literary agent was not shot. His Norwegian publisher was, however.


Perhaps the publishing industry is reaching a point where it has lost it's focus overall, as the US motor industry did. If this is so, we need to take care of our agents, and come to a new understanding of where we're going.

If only I knew where we are going...

Please don't confuse this thread any further, Bruce, by introducing any more random elements.


Xlibris offers self publishing deals. They've been quite polite about it. Others haven't been polite about them, and some comments I've had privately show that there is a story there too, conflict, stress, unfounded opinions, the dark truth, the bald facts...someone else can write it.

Like I said- elements of the US car industry before Obama told them to sack their 'In' cliques in order to be bailed out.

No, Xlibris doesn't offer "self publishing deals". It's a vanity publisher, and a pretty notorious one at that. They, of course, dispute this, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

And with that, I think we're done. If anyone can give me a good reason to reopen this thread I'll be happy to.