It was definitely the nicest rejection I've gotten to date. I am disappointed because Susannah sounded PERFECT for my novel, and I did spend a while quickening the pace of my first three chapters. But overall, she was very honest and I would not hesitate to query her with something different in the future.
Mr. Henshaw had my partial last fall, which he read very promptly and unfortunately rejected, but it was sort of nice because he told me what he didn't like about it instead of sending a form R (although unfortunately it wasn't a "fixable" flaw, it was just a matter of taste). I queried again with a different project just a few weeks ago and got the nicest form R I have ever gotten, it was so cute it made me smile.
It's a small agency but with a great track of sales.
I queried on Monday and received a rejection today. It was the standard "I'm very busy with my current clients" form, which happily does take care to say that he's not saying anything negative about my book, just that he isn't interested.
Got my R from this agency today, but it was sweet as pie. The agent wrote last week to tell me she was running late, and then after the R, she responded to my thank you. I would definitely reach out to this agency again.
Over the past few years I have had email contact with Rich Henshaw re my 165,00 word novel. The last email from him said: "...if you feel it is ready, send it down." Finally, after repeated polishings I couriered the complete manuscript in March 2010. And not a word after that despite enclosing a stamped envelope. Including no reply to a later email. I'm not a complete unknown, having had 30 television dramas and 22 radio plays produced as well as having a feature movie optioned and authoring about 2,000 coporate articles, brochures, case studies, white papers, speeches, etc. All the posts I read said he was a very nice man (which I gathered from his emails) and fully professional. Though he was the first agent I queried, after 6 months, I have decided to move on. Still I am puzzled. Anyone else have this type of experience?
J. Richard Wright
Mr. Wright, I see several problems in your post that might have contributed to your lack of success. Being in the movie and television business is vastly different from the book publishing business.
You emailed back and forth for a 'few years?' Usually, one simply starts with a query letter, then waits for a request. When a full manuscript is requested, one does not usually courier the material, as it may require a signature.
Your book is 165,000 words? Most debut authors can't break into the business with such a long book. Most novels these days are between 70,000 and 90,000 words, with a few exceptions here and there.
Non-response is increasingly common amongst agents these days. It's nothing personal. Also, you shouldn't query one agent at a time. Research them and send out queries in batches, honing your pitch along the way.
Never pester an agent into agreeing to look at your material. This can also garner non-response.
Join a writers' group. Share parts of your work (try not to worry about plagerism - it's rare) and get helpful feedback on the structure of your novel. Spend some time on this forum and look at the bigger picture.
Thanks so much Chumplet. I shall get more queries off. This first novel is certainly somewhat of an epic but that's the nature of it. It's quite possible I shall sell my second book (will be about 100,00 words) before I sell my first. I shall look around my town of Niagara-on-the-Lake for a writer's group I can join. Meanwhile it's probably back to bouncing stuff off CBC. LOL...Richard
Hi Chumplet, have sent off seven queries in last week and got a nice rejection from the first of the group - Nesbit Janklow. Mr. Luke Janklow said that unfortunately I come to them at a time when they are inundated with requests for assistance and representation. He said they have to concentrate their resources where they will do the most good and have to turn down many worthwhile projects. (I'm hoping he is including mine in the worthwhile projects line...ha)! Anyhow, off we go after others. I have no doubt my novel will sell but (like everyone else) hope it is sooner than later. I also may try European reps. Have you or anyone else had any dealings with Westwood Creative Artists here in Toronto? I think they are the former Lucinda Vardy Agency.
Also, I have generally been pretty much a lone wolf when it came to other writers but one very nice thing about joining this site has been the numerous posts I have seen where writers have the pluck to carry on regardless and have faith in their works. My hat is off to all who labour alone in front of the word processor for the love of their creations...Richard
Just a heads up that their office is moving soon. If you're planning to query by mail, please note that the agency will have a new address, either later this month or starting in 2011. So check their website before sending anything off.