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MothAnkles
05-11-2015, 07:26 PM
"Thanks [Moth]. Most likely I will be slow to reply, but I look forward to reading and will get back to you soonest."

Are we talking a couple of weeks? a month? A couple of months?

I really don't want to ask because I don't want to look desperate or like a neophyte.

Pony.
05-11-2015, 07:33 PM
it could be either not wanting you to get your hopes up or the simple fact that among other submissions from potential clients an agent has signed clients to work for too.

MothAnkles
05-11-2015, 07:50 PM
it could be either not wanting you to get your hopes up or the simple fact that among other submissions from potential clients an agent has signed clients to work for too.

Yah, I know she has a ton going on and I appreciate not getting my hopes up, I guess I was wondering from a timeline standpoint if anyone has heard or could decipher if this is agentspeak or code for, say, one month or six weeks or six months.

BethKLewis
05-11-2015, 08:02 PM
Is this on a standard submission/query or on requested pages or the full MS? I'd say if you haven't heard anything by six months, give her a nudge.

MothAnkles
05-11-2015, 08:07 PM
Is this on a standard submission/query or on requested pages or the full MS? I'd say if you haven't heard anything by six months, give her a nudge.

requsted full.

6 months? I was hoping to have self-pubbed soon if I didn't hear anything promising... 6 months is loooong.

BenPanced
05-11-2015, 08:11 PM
I would try a nudge after about three months, rather than six.

BethKLewis
05-11-2015, 08:35 PM
She's said she'd be slow to reply. I'd just shrug and let it lie for at least 3 months but I'd be more inclined to wait for 6. Yes it's long but traditional publishing takes a long time, I'd advise against being in a rush to self-publish, what do you lose in waiting?

Putputt
05-11-2015, 09:02 PM
Check out the agency website. They usually say to nudge if there's no response after X weeks/months. If they don't, I'd nudge after 3 months, or when you receive an offer from a different agent.

Jennifer_Laughran
05-11-2015, 09:52 PM
6 months? I was hoping to have self-pubbed soon if I didn't hear anything promising... 6 months is loooong.

LOLOLOLOLOLFOREVER

Six months in publishing time is like four weeks in normal human time. (It probably won't actually take six months to hear back. But it very well MIGHT. Or it might come back as a decline in which case the cycle begins again.) And even if the response is positive and is fast, it will be followed by the wait once you are on submission, and the wait to get your contract, and the wait to get paid, and the wait to see your book on the shelves... you're looking at a bare minimum of 1.5 to 2 years.

I would suggest that if you actually want to be traditionally published, you cultivate patience.

If you don't think you can, you might as well self-publish now. Really.

mayqueen
05-11-2015, 10:05 PM
Ditto what's been said about it sounding like a standard reply. Don't read too much into it re: length of time. And ditto what's been said about patience! I've waited a month, three months, six months, a year, two and a half years to hear back on a full request. Publishing is not the career for folks who don't have a lot of patience. :)

Debbie V
05-11-2015, 10:27 PM
Query tracker also posts agent stats. Add at least one month to the average reply time before nudging. Sometimes an agent will post info on Twitter about replies too.

MothAnkles
05-11-2015, 11:31 PM
LOLOLOLOLOLFOREVER

Six months in publishing time is like four weeks in normal human time. (It probably won't actually take six months to hear back. But it very well MIGHT. Or it might come back as a decline in which case the cycle begins again.) And even if the response is positive and is fast, it will be followed by the wait once you are on submission, and the wait to get your contract, and the wait to get paid, and the wait to see your book on the shelves... you're looking at a bare minimum of 1.5 to 2 years.

I would suggest that if you actually want to be traditionally published, you cultivate patience.

If you don't think you can, you might as well self-publish now. Really.

This is good advice.

I think the real issue is that after doing the query game a few months ago, I had come to a conclusion that self-publish would be best. I have spent the last 6-8 weeks gearing up for that and was all hot and bothered for that particular journey when this request kind of fell in my lap. I think the heart of the issue is that I'm assuming I will wait for what sounds like a minimum of three months while someone sits on it for the inevitable rejection (something so weird and meaningful as a debut has a slim to none chance of being traditionally published, I've heard and feel) before I get on with it.

Regardless, these are my issues and feelings to deal with and don't have a thing to do with the original question. Thanks for the information and feedback provided.

BenPanced
05-12-2015, 12:01 AM
Two questions:

-- Have you sent this manuscript out to other agents/editors?
-- If not, why not?

You can't pin all of your hopes on one submission sent out to one agent and keep up this self-defeatist attitude that it's going to be rejected. To give yourself, and your writing, a better chance of getting picked up, you need to cast your net far and wide, and submit to as many agents and/or editors who accept your genre. It has to be under as many eyes as possible and have received as many rejections as possible before you can decide to give up and self-pub.

And remember: every author had a debut release at one point in their career. Again, this self-defeating attitude won't get you very far in publishing, including especially self-pub. You need to want to be successfully published, so you have to tell yourself "this is going to work and I'm going to make it work". You can't just toss your manuscript around like "ho hum, whatevs"; if you don't really care, agents and editors are going to sense it from your submission.

Old Hack
05-12-2015, 12:21 AM
"Thanks [Moth]. Most likely I will be slow to reply, but I look forward to reading and will get back to you soonest."

Are we talking a couple of weeks? a month? A couple of months?

It means she'll get back to you as soon as she can. That could be next week, or it could be a few months, depending on how busy she is and how interested she is.

Submissions get read in the tiny spaces between the work an agent does for her existing clients, so it might be a while.


Two questions:

-- Have you sent this manuscript out to other agents/editors?
-- If not, why not?

Yep.

MothAnkles
05-12-2015, 12:22 AM
Two questions:

-- Have you sent this manuscript out to other agents/editors?
-- If not, why not?

You can't pin all of your hopes on one submission sent out to one agent and keep up this self-defeatist attitude that it's going to be rejected. To give yourself, and your writing, a better chance of getting picked up, you need to cast your net far and wide, and submit to as many agents and/or editors who accept your genre. It has to be under as many eyes as possible and have received as many rejections as possible before you can decide to give up and self-pub.

And remember: every author had a debut release at one point in their career. Again, this self-defeating attitude won't get you very far in publishing, including especially self-pub. You need to want to be successfully published, so you have to tell yourself "this is going to work and I'm going to make it work". You can't just toss your manuscript around like "ho hum, whatevs"; if you don't really care, agents and editors are going to sense it from your submission.

I've sent out queries to lots of agents, got a partial (rej), a full (rej) and now a full (pending).

It's not that I feel self-defeatist, it's that I have come around from my experience with querying the last five months to the idea (true or not) that my style/brand/genre/story is one that is risky to be publish traditionally and so while I hope for the best, I am prepared for the worst.

Actually, that sounds more self-defeatist than I wanted it to but, as you so eloquently stated, whatevs.

mayqueen
05-12-2015, 01:06 AM
Get to fifty posts and run your query and opening pages through SYW. I recommend increasing your post count toward that goal by trying your hand at critiquing. You'll learn a ton and improve your own ability to write a query and opening pages. :)

MothAnkles
05-12-2015, 01:28 AM
Get to fifty posts and run your query and opening pages through SYW. I recommend increasing your post count toward that goal by trying your hand at critiquing. You'll learn a ton and improve your own ability to write a query and opening pages. :)

cheappostokay.

BenPanced
05-12-2015, 02:05 AM
It's not that I feel self-defeatist, it's that I have come around from my experience with querying the last five months to the idea (true or not) that my style/brand/genre/story is one that is risky to be publish traditionally and so while I hope for the best, I am prepared for the worst.
I can guarantee you there's no such thing as "too risky" in publishing; calling something "too risky" usually comes from the authors in your situation who have gotten tired/frustrated with how the business works. You've gotten a response from somebody who wants to read it. Count yourself lucky you've gotten that response.

And listen to Jennifer Laughran. She didn't earn her Absolute Sage title just on her charm and good looks alone; she's an agent so take her advice to heart.

Sage
05-12-2015, 02:19 AM
Fulls can run anywhere from overnight to over a year. I'd say the average response comes in 3-6 months.

This agent is warning you that she's not going to read it immediately. Go ahead and give the standard status-query nudge at 3 months, but it probably will still be in her queue. She's telling you that that's nothing to worry about. So don't worry about it.

And JennL is right (and knowledgeable, being an agent). You need patience in this profession.

MothAnkles
05-12-2015, 05:49 AM
So, basically I have to decide whether I want to withdraw consideration and self-publish or if I should just write my second book and wait for the response. I'm not the greatest thinker in the world, but even I can see the advice and general wisdom is to get on with numbero dos.

Thanks, fam!

Filigree
05-12-2015, 07:37 AM
If you write the second book you'll have something else to show the agent.

If you self-publish now are you ready for the full time job of promoting your work?

mayqueen
05-12-2015, 04:25 PM
If you self-publish now are you ready for the full time job of promoting your work?
This. There are many, many reasons to self-publish. Impatience is not one. I'd recommend writing the second book. At the end of that, you can see where your submissions are at and reevaluate. There's no rush to make any decisions now, and you may find that writing the second book helps you improve the first one -- whether you decide to self-publish it or not.


cheappostokay.
Sure, or I was making a valid suggestion to improve the response you've been getting from queries. I have myself experienced a double-digit increase in my request rate from QLH. I've often seen folks say that their manuscript is too risky or edgy or out there, only to see it posted in QLH and realize it's not doing the manuscript justice.

Quickbread
05-12-2015, 04:46 PM
How many queries is "lots?" Because one partial and two full requests from lots of queries is a very low request rate. Your query may not be working as hard for you as it could. Or it's your opening pages. Or perhaps something in the story premise itself. Or perhaps you're querying the wrong agents. You can't know without feedback.

That's why Mayqueen suggested you share your query. It's not a cheap post at all. It's smart and she's trying to be helpful to you.

MothAnkles
05-12-2015, 06:04 PM
This. There are many, many reasons to self-publish. Impatience is not one. I'd recommend writing the second book. At the end of that, you can see where your submissions are at and reevaluate. There's no rush to make any decisions now, and you may find that writing the second book helps you improve the first one -- whether you decide to self-publish it or not.


Sure, or I was making a valid suggestion to improve the response you've been getting from queries. I have myself experienced a double-digit increase in my request rate from QLH. I've often seen folks say that their manuscript is too risky or edgy or out there, only to see it posted in QLH and realize it's not doing the manuscript justice.


How many queries is "lots?" Because one partial and two full requests from lots of queries is a very low request rate. Your query may not be working as hard for you as it could. Or it's your opening pages. Or perhaps something in the story premise itself. Or perhaps you're querying the wrong agents. You can't know without feedback.

That's why Mayqueen suggested you share your query. It's not a cheap post at all. It's smart and she's trying to be helpful to you.

For clarity, I wasn't calling Mayqueen's post cheap (Jesus people, give me a little bit of willingness and open-minded credit :tongue), but I was responding simply "okay" in a cheap post way in order to get to my fifty posts so I could take the action suggested.

To the points raised, I think there is a good chance that my query is perhaps not that great shitty. From the personalized/custom (read: not form rejection) feedback I've gotten is a) your query got my attention and was humorous and b) I will quote a specific rejection "Unfortunately, this is going to be apass. You are clearly a solid, thoughtful writer, but our tastes run more commercial."

I've probably queried 65-70 agents and I'm not one of those delusional guys who think they are tragically unique or unrecognized brilliance or any other number of romantic notions that guard us from being hurt, I accept that my "conversion rate" is too low for the number of queries and it's probably my risky query more than any risk in my actual work.

edit to add: When I first started querying I was hitting my head against the wall because I was querying low hanging fruit (big boys, information readily available, etc.) whose interests were mainly commercial. I've had trouble pinning down a sweet spot for my work and what the profile of a dream agent/agency would look like and out of that ignorance (and again, mainly early on) I think I've queried a ton of people where there is genuinely no fit.

mayqueen
05-12-2015, 06:08 PM
Oh! Sorry. I misread.

EMaree
05-12-2015, 06:14 PM
For what it's worth, the 'cheap post to get to 50' joke got a laugh out of me. :)

Good luck with your second book MothAnkles, and definitely keep a few pans in the fire -- I find having 5 queries out to agents at a time is a nice number. If bad news comes along, I send out another query to get back up to 5.

MothAnkles
05-12-2015, 06:46 PM
For what it's worth, the 'cheap post to get to 50' joke got a laugh out of me. :)

Good luck with your second book MothAnkles, and definitely keep a few pans in the fire -- I find having 5 queries out to agents at a time is a nice number. If bad news comes along, I send out another query to get back up to 5.

Thanks, friend.

Quickbread
05-12-2015, 07:38 PM
And sorry I misread as well. Yeah, that's not a lot of action for 65-70 queries. Of course it depends on so many factors, including the specific story, the genre and good targeting, but somewhere between 10-15% requests would be a better indicator that your query, sample pages and agent-selection strategy are all on track. I'd recommend holding off on querying further until you can run your query through QLH. And you've almost got your 50 posts now. :)

Old Hack
05-12-2015, 07:40 PM
Before you put your own work up for critique, get a good number of critiques under your belt. It'll help you see how the system works, it'll help you understand how valuable a good critique is, and it'll help you make friends who are then more likely to critique you in return. It's worth doing.

I have taught on writing workshops in the past, and I've found that critiquing the works of others is one of the most valuable things writers can do to improve their own work. That, and reading lots. Obviously.

Filigree
05-12-2015, 07:53 PM
For clarity, I wasn't calling Mayqueen's post cheap (Jesus people, give me a little bit of willingness and open-minded credit :tongue), but I was responding simply "okay" in a cheap post way in order to get to my fifty posts so I could take the action suggested.

Try not to do that, at least this early in the game. Or at least, don't admit it around the mods! You'll get there soon enough. ;)

Funaek
05-12-2015, 10:12 PM
I second the looking through queries in QLH and reading the responses and critiquing some yourself. I found that extremely helpful when drafting my query.

mellymel
05-13-2015, 03:57 AM
For clarity, I wasn't calling Mayqueen's post cheap (Jesus people, give me a little bit of willingness and open-minded credit :tongue), but I was responding simply "okay" in a cheap post way in order to get to my fifty posts so I could take the action suggested.



I actually had a nice chuckle with your response and thought you quite clever. ;)

GL whatever you decide to do!

ETA: And what Old Hack said above!

JJ Litke
05-15-2015, 07:47 AM
Before you put your own work up for critique, get a good number of critiques under your belt. It'll help you see how the system works, it'll help you understand how valuable a good critique is, and it'll help you make friends who are then more likely to critique you in return. It's worth doing.


Yes to all of this. Another advantage to participating is you'll see how others critique, and find who you tend to agree with, which will help with figuring how much weight to put on disagreeing crits (because of course not everyone likes the same things).

So if you're considering self-publishing, don't think of this as wasted time, use it to work on making the manuscript the very best it can be.

MothAnkles
05-19-2015, 10:49 PM
"Thanks [Moth]. Most likely I will be slow to reply, but I look forward to reading and will get back to you soonest."

Are we talking a couple of weeks? a month? A couple of months?

I really don't want to ask because I don't want to look desperate or like a neophyte.

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time and energy to respond-- I love how helpful and willing this community is!

I thought I'd update on what went down, I got a response pretty quickly which was very surprising. I got some great, constructive feedback that I can take action on and will help me revise/rewrite my first chapter and a bit here and there. I have the gut feel that I'm close to writing the work I want.

Feedback:


Thanks for letting me read your manuscript. I can tell there is a lot of your blood sweat and tears in there - and congrats on getting it written. That is no small task! I think you have a very interesting idea, and [protag] has a compelling (if crazed) voice. But if I am entirely honest I felt like the narrative bogged down a bit at points. It's inherently a challenge in books like these where the plot is largely cerebral and not highly action driven. I also found myself wanting more about what [character/symbol] actually did for [protag]. We see his mania clearly when [character/symbol] is gone, but I wanted to see what [character/symbol] did for him when it was present.

Roxxsmom
05-20-2015, 01:30 AM
"Thanks [Moth]. Most likely I will be slow to reply, but I look forward to reading and will get back to you soonest."

Are we talking a couple of weeks? a month? A couple of months?

I really don't want to ask because I don't want to look desperate or like a neophyte.

For future reference, I'd expect at least a couple of months. If an agent says she/he is busy, they probably are. Now sometimes they surprise you. I had one request a partial and tell me that it would be 4-6 weeks to get back, but she wanted the full within a couple of days (alas, she also got back with a rejection on said full a week later).

A check on querytracker might give you a clue about the usual time frame in which this agent operates for fulls and partials (there are various data features available if you get a premium membership). But agents can depart from their normal timeline for reasons that are anyone's guess. I have two I queried back in Jan specifically because they are generally fast responders and have a high either or response rate, and I still haven't heard anything from them (they seem to have skipped my query, as they've sent rejections for nearly everyone else who queried at the same time as I did, and at least a couple of requests for people who have queried them since). Maddening, but they're human.

Nice she gave you some personalized feedback on the R :)

MothAnkles
05-20-2015, 01:46 AM
And sorry I misread as well. Yeah, that's not a lot of action for 65-70 queries. Of course it depends on so many factors, including the specific story, the genre and good targeting, but somewhere between 10-15% requests would be a better indicator that your query, sample pages and agent-selection strategy are all on track. I'd recommend holding off on querying further until you can run your query through QLH. And you've almost got your 50 posts now. :)


I second the looking through queries in QLH and reading the responses and critiquing some yourself. I found that extremely helpful when drafting my query.

I've posted query on QLH, thanks for the input

quicklime
05-20-2015, 05:21 PM
just to make certain we are all clear here, it looks as though you are thinking your choices are to

1) Go commercial with what you have

or

3) Self-publish.

The reason I skipped, is you seem to be passing on 2) re-write to address other concerns.

2 is a valid option as well, and at least worth considering for several reasons (for one, if you can't "fix" this to make it closer to 75000 words and with greater detail on what the moon means to the MC before it is taken away, what makes you think you can do it de novo in Book 2??).

also, as pointed out, self-pub isn't just the place you put things if an agent won't take them....not if you want your books to do more than sit in an electronic dustbin. You self-pub because the model appeals, but it is still work. More work, in most cases. So if you have not, you want to educate yourself on what it entails besides just uploading a file, or if you just upload a file, what you can reasonably expect in terms of money, visibility, etc.

MothAnkles
05-20-2015, 07:35 PM
just to make certain we are all clear here, it looks as though you are thinking your choices are to

1) Go commercial with what you have

or

3) Self-publish.

The reason I skipped, is you seem to be passing on 2) re-write to address other concerns.

2 is a valid option as well, and at least worth considering for several reasons (for one, if you can't "fix" this to make it closer to 75000 words and with greater detail on what the moon means to the MC before it is taken away, what makes you think you can do it de novo in Book 2??).

also, as pointed out, self-pub isn't just the place you put things if an agent won't take them....not if you want your books to do more than sit in an electronic dustbin. You self-pub because the model appeals, but it is still work. More work, in most cases. So if you have not, you want to educate yourself on what it entails besides just uploading a file, or if you just upload a file, what you can reasonably expect in terms of money, visibility, etc.

Not exactly. I'd say that was my thinking before the latest round of feedback, but not currently.

Your number two option is the optimal and decided course for the obvious and not so obvious (which you pointed out, thank you) reasons, currently.

I agree completely with everything you've said further about self-pub, too.

Thanks for the note!

MothAnkles
05-31-2015, 11:48 AM
When I first started querying I was hitting my head against the wall because I was querying low hanging fruit (big boys, information readily available, etc.) whose interests were mainly commercial. I've had trouble pinning down a sweet spot for my work and what the profile of a dream agent/agency would look like and out of that ignorance (and again, mainly early on) I think I've queried a ton of people where there is genuinely no fit.

I got another rejection, "I love the Texas connection, but unfortunately, I don't believe that I'm the right agent for this project--it's a bit too literary for me."

Where can I go to find literary fiction agents? I feel like everything that is easily searched/sourced is not a fit and something like "book club, upmarket, commercial or otherwise". I feel like I'm wasting everyone's time, mine included, querying because I am not querying the right niche players.

Old Hack
05-31-2015, 02:50 PM
In your post #38 you implied that you were going to rewrite your book to address concerns which had been raised about it. I suggest you complete that rewrite before sending it out again.

MothAnkles
05-31-2015, 08:44 PM
In your post #38 you implied that you were going to rewrite your book to address concerns which had been raised about it. I suggest you complete that rewrite before sending it out again.

Yes sir; I've done that. My frustration lies in not being able to generate a list of the correct agencies and agents to try and get in front of-- any suggestions for services or resources that can help? It's becoming clear to me that just googling and hoping to compile a list is not my strong suit. :)

Lauram6123
05-31-2015, 09:06 PM
Yes sir; I've done that. My frustration lies in not being able to generate a list of the correct agencies and agents to try and get in front of-- any suggestions for services or resources that can help? It's becoming clear to me that just googling and hoping to compile a list is not my strong suit. :)

Have you tried doing a search on QueryTracker? Search for agents under the genre of Literary Fiction and that should give you a great place to start.

newauth
05-31-2015, 10:43 PM
Yes sir; I've done that. My frustration lies in not being able to generate a list of the correct agencies and agents to try and get in front of-- any suggestions for services or resources that can help? It's becoming clear to me that just googling and hoping to compile a list is not my strong suit. :)

QueryTracker (as Lauram6123 suggested) is the best place to start. I searched for "Literary Fiction" and it spit back "568 agents found." It's not always up-to-date (some agents drop out, many change genres over time, etc.), so you have to do your own research too (visit their agency website, check out the agent's twitter & recent sales, stalk them on their blog). It's not as fun as it sounds, but you'll get the hang of it.

I would recommend you take a step back & be strategic in your search. Polish your letter, polish your sample pages, & go fishing with 5-10 test agents per week. Then polish your letter & work again. Hold onto your top choices until you're getting a decent number of partial/full requests. Don't pull the trigger on all of them at the same time, but do pull the trigger when you're confident++ in your query & work.

Good luck!

waylander
05-31-2015, 11:54 PM
Agentquery.com is also worth a look. I suspect it will cover much of the same ground as Querytracker.

Old Hack
06-01-2015, 12:41 AM
Go to a bookshop. Find books which are similar to yours. Check in the acknowledgement pages to see if the authors mention their agents there; if not, Google them and see if they are listed as clients on any agency websites.

Lady Chipmunk
06-02-2015, 10:58 PM
I've probably queried 65-70 agents and I'm not one of those delusional guys who think they are tragically unique or unrecognized brilliance or any other number of romantic notions that guard us from being hurt, I accept that my "conversion rate" is too low for the number of queries and it's probably my risky query more than any risk in my actual work.


Just as a random bit of encouragement, I topped out at over 100 queries, with a pretty low conversion rate on them. Granted, it took a long time and many of those rejections to get my query to an okay place, and I'm not sure I ever did, but I found the right agent for me. You keep going, you get better, and eventually, with patience and a heap of luck, you get where you need to be.

MothAnkles
06-03-2015, 06:00 AM
Just as a random bit of encouragement, I topped out at over 100 queries, with a pretty low conversion rate on them. Granted, it took a long time and many of those rejections to get my query to an okay place, and I'm not sure I ever did, but I found the right agent for me. You keep going, you get better, and eventually, with patience and a heap of luck, you get where you need to be.

Thanks for telling me about your positive experience!

i got a rejection today that further makes me think I have a tough road to hoe and am going to have to find that perfect agent. Sometimes I think "man, life would be so much easier if I just wrote something trendy and easy to sell/represent and my next book is going to be ultra-plot driven" but then I think "F it, I have something here and if my works never sell at least me and my friends can read them haha"

The feedback was:


You have an interesting idea for a book and there's a lot to like about your approach. But in the end I'm afraid I didn't come away from this quite fully convinced this was something I think I'd be able to represent successfully. I'm sorry not to be more enthusiastic but thanks nonetheless for giving me a chance to review it and best of luck in finding it the right home.

Old Hack
06-03-2015, 10:46 AM
That reads like a form rejection to me, Moth.

Putputt
06-03-2015, 10:54 AM
There are many form rejections that sound like they could be personalized rejections, but unless they say something specific about your book (i.e. if they mention your character by name or say something like "I liked the plot but the pacing is problematic" or "I liked the voice but there are just too many plot holes") I would assume that it's a form. In this case, my bet is that it was a form. :-/ Sorry!

ETA: Come to think of it, when you do receive personalized rejections, they will probably leave no room for doubt as to what they are. The ones I've received have been painfully specific. ;) I'm talking things like "I just didn't feel that you explored the boarding school setting enough..." and "I think that the book is too dark, what with all the cursing and killing and cutting...I think that makes it a really hard sell" and "The fact that your MC decided to cheat her way through the final test made me dislike her" and so on. Things like "I didn't connect with the MC" or anything vague like that are most probably forms.

Cathy C
06-03-2015, 03:13 PM
For clarity, I wasn't calling Mayqueen's post cheap (Jesus people, give me a little bit of willingness and open-minded credit :tongue), but I was responding simply "okay" in a cheap post way in order to get to my fifty posts so I could take the action suggested.

To the points raised, I think there is a good chance that my query is perhaps not that great shitty. From the personalized/custom (read: not form rejection) feedback I've gotten is a) your query got my attention and was humorous and b) I will quote a specific rejection "Unfortunately, this is going to be apass. You are clearly a solid, thoughtful writer, but our tastes run more commercial."

I've probably queried 65-70 agents and I'm not one of those delusional guys who think they are tragically unique or unrecognized brilliance or any other number of romantic notions that guard us from being hurt, I accept that my "conversion rate" is too low for the number of queries and it's probably my risky query more than any risk in my actual work.

edit to add: When I first started querying I was hitting my head against the wall because I was querying low hanging fruit (big boys, information readily available, etc.) whose interests were mainly commercial. I've had trouble pinning down a sweet spot for my work and what the profile of a dream agent/agency would look like and out of that ignorance (and again, mainly early on) I think I've queried a ton of people where there is genuinely no fit.

Okay, based on the highlighted, let me ask you a question. If you were handed the gift of one bestselling author's fan base, but to get it, you had to pick the one author whose work is closest to yours in theme, setting, or character personality---who would it be? You could ride their coattails, but the fans of that author LIKE the other author's books and will only like yours if yours is similar.

MothAnkles
06-03-2015, 06:26 PM
That reads like a form rejection to me, Moth.

We've traded a follow up email-- he was a referral from an editor friend in NY who is local to me, but I can see how that excerpt looks form-ish. I think as a favor to my friend he is making himself available for me to ask a few questions which is freaking invaluable right now.

MothAnkles
06-03-2015, 06:32 PM
Okay, based on the highlighted, let me ask you a question. If you were handed the gift of one bestselling author's fan base, but to get it, you had to pick the one author whose work is closest to yours in theme, setting, or character personality---who would it be? You could ride their coattails, but the fans of that author LIKE the other author's books and will only like yours if yours is similar.

I'm pretty dense and not that bright, so after reading this question three times I am still confused. Are you asking two different things?

Cathy C
06-07-2015, 09:12 PM
I'm pretty dense and not that bright, so after reading this question three times I am still confused. Are you asking two different things?

No, just one question. You said you're having a hard time choosing the right agent because you can't identify your shelving classification. I'm asking if you read widely enough to know of an author whose fans would also like your book.

For example, let's say it's a mystery novel (not that it is, but just for example...)

A reader who adores Agatha Christie will not necessarily like Kathy Reichs or Sue Grafton, but will likely enjoy Mary Higgins Clark. Even though all four write mysteries, they're very different in tone and style.

Is there an author who writes with a similar tone and style to your book? Even if you don't know the name of a genre or subgenre, we can probably narrow down your readership if you can think of similar authors to your book.

Treehouseman
06-08-2015, 08:45 AM
In all honesty, to give a work its best chance when self publishing it, the way the market is now means you need to have 3 books/novellas ready to go online (KDP, others) at once, or within a very short period of time.

Some genres lend very well to the "trilogy/serial" and some don't. Literary fiction doesn't, so if you can get a standard publishing contract that will help. If you were going to self publish, the RECIEVED AND TESTED wisdom is to wait until you have written a suite of works.

So time is still going to be a factor! (EEk, can't escape the waiting!)

MothAnkles
06-13-2015, 12:55 AM
Is there an author who writes with a similar tone and style to your book? Even if you don't know the name of a genre or subgenre, we can probably narrow down your readership if you can think of similar authors to your book.

I don't know of contemporary authors I'd say who write similarly. I was told my an editor that my short stories were Cheeveresque, but my novel is completely different in voice and tone.

That said, I got some more feedback which basically confirmed what I thought, which was that for a debut author of serious literary fiction (without an MFA from Iowa or X or Y or Z or any publication credits in tier 1 literary journals) the cold query/slush pile is a better approach for more commercial and genre works. My search is now narrowed to more the independent publishers and the agencies that play in that sandbox, with respect to avant garde, experimental, and literary fiction that takes risks. Anyways, I know that probably sounds distasteful coming from me (I wish somebody else would say it, it seems like there would be more validation that way) but the feedback I got specifically (from a well-respected, mid-range <read:not big 5> house):


I thought your voice worked nicely. It was distinctive and one of the highlights. I read the manuscript in two days - but I would take that with a HUGE grain of salt. Reading is my job, so I'm pretty skilled at reading and critiquing quickly. It's not indicative of anything other than the fact that I have a lot of practice with going home and reading a manuscript in the course of a night.

literary fiction, sadly, is one of the hardest niches in the publishing world. It's notoriously hard to sell, so publishers are very cautious about buying it. In my experience the best way to get noticed is typically not through the slush pile, but rather through publishing short pieces online. I know for a fact many young agents cull the internet daily for gems, and the more you can add to your resume the better.

MothAnkles
06-13-2015, 01:01 AM
In all honesty, to give a work its best chance when self publishing it, the way the market is now means you need to have 3 books/novellas ready to go online (KDP, others) at once, or within a very short period of time.

Some genres lend very well to the "trilogy/serial" and some don't. Literary fiction doesn't, so if you can get a standard publishing contract that will help. If you were going to self publish, the RECIEVED AND TESTED wisdom is to wait until you have written a suite of works.

So time is still going to be a factor! (EEk, can't escape the waiting!)

Thanks for this feedback, good stuff to think about!