The Daily Rejection, Vol. 3

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Belle_91

Words are life
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
2,435
Reaction score
327
Age
30
Location
Tennessee
Good luck, Alan! I hope it goes well.

Hello. Sorry I've been a little MIA. Got caught up in yet another MS. You know what they say, third time's the charm. Or the fourth...Or the fifth. I think I'm up to my sixth or seventh MS. Start to lose count after a while.

Anyways, I have a full out with an agent. She requested it back in early July. Do you think it would be too soon to nudge? Her agency's website says it encourages open communication between agents and authors and to check back, but I'm being really paranoid about this. I'm almost afraid if I don't do it on exactly three months after the full was sent that I'll be dooming my MS. At the same time, I want to know.

I really hate that I've become so superstitious. In addition to my other question, anyone else finding themselves that way when it comes to querying/submitting?
 
  • Hug
Reactions: Tamlyn

zmethos

from words to worlds
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 22, 2016
Messages
618
Reaction score
100
Location
California (Bay Area)
Website
mpepperlanglinais.com
Yes, I get superstitious too. I get it in my head that, if I send a follow-up query, it will always be a rejection. Maybe because it always has been? But really, I don't know why I think that, except some nebulous idea that it will turn the agent off, and if they were on the fence about me or my work, it will nudge them to the "no" side for some reason.

Sorry I'm not more encouraging. Just commiserating.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Belle_91

Alan Yee

Still Here!
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 16, 2005
Messages
5,984
Reaction score
1,383
Just received my rejection from Uncanny. Not totally surprising. Now that it’s been about 7 months since I finished it and sent it out, I’m wondering if I should revise it or just send it out to the next market on my list, which opens to submissions tomorrow.
 

Nether

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
543
Reaction score
506
Location
New England
Going to start jumping back into the first circle of hell again, since I'll be querying book 6. (Book 4 is still being critiqued, book 5 is being critiqued next, book 1 is off in other places but will go through critiques after book 5 if that doesn't work, which leaves book 6 just to have *something* out on query because I'm going to have too much in the pipeline.)

Book 1's query attempt was a ****ing train wreck, and the length meant it was an auto-reject from a bunch of agents (that's 100% on me -- I didn't realize there were different genre lengths until I was past the appropriate length). Even worse, I didn't build a real record system with notes on which agents carry what, etc, so I'm kinda half-starting from scratch but hopefully the process will get more orderly after this.

It's also a pain because I'll likely need an agent for each genre I write. I can understand why people try to stick to 1-2 books a year now. All this extra stuff beyond the actual writing is just crazy.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: NIYRAK

Tamlyn

fish skeleton
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Messages
1,280
Reaction score
451
Location
Australia
Ah, damn, Alan. Maybe take a quick look at it and if something jumps out, revise, but otherwise just send it out?

Welcome(???) back, Nether.
 

Alan Yee

Still Here!
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 16, 2005
Messages
5,984
Reaction score
1,383
I decided to leave the story be. I probably could have found places to make the prose a little prettier, but decided I didn’t want to risk revising the heart and soul out of this particular story. Went ahead and sent it to its next market. Hopefully my instincts pay off. Even if no one publishes this little story, I’m proud of what I did with it.

In the meantime, I’m trying to finish some other stories I was working on up until my son’s birth in July. I want to have at least five stories in circulation by the end of the year.
 

Belle_91

Words are life
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
2,435
Reaction score
327
Age
30
Location
Tennessee
Well, I took the plunge and nudged the agent with my full. She got back to me about 20 min later with apologies for not having gotten to it yet, been busy with clients as they come first, and that she is still interested in reading my manuscript. She wanted me to let her know if I received any offers in the meantime. Trying really hard not to read to much into it. I’ve been burned before, Lord knows. At the same time I don’t want to have a self-fulfilling prophesy that I will get rejected. I suppose I’ll continue along in my anxious state but I’m a tad hopeful I guess.
 

TrapperViper

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
563
Reaction score
140
Location
United States
Well, I took the plunge and nudged the agent with my full. She got back to me about 20 min later with apologies for not having gotten to it yet, been busy with clients as they come first, and that she is still interested in reading my manuscript. She wanted me to let her know if I received any offers in the meantime. Trying really hard not to read to much into it. I’ve been burned before, Lord knows. At the same time I don’t want to have a self-fulfilling prophesy that I will get rejected. I suppose I’ll continue along in my anxious state but I’m a tad hopeful I guess.
I feel for you Belle. Those of us who make a living in sales deal with rejection every day--oftentimes on both the receiving and delivering end of it. For us authors who are attempting to get trade published, we are working in sales too, whether we like it or not.

I read your earlier post about having anxiety about nudging her. FWIW, I'm never annoyed when I get an email from a business owner asking if we've made a decision on his/her loan request yet. I'm no literary agent...but it seems reasonable to believe that an agent who expressed interest in partnering with you won't mind your persistence.

In my line of work, persistence and flexibility are markers of success. I think that agents would appreciate the same from prospective authors who they think have potential.

That she got back to you so quickly is, I would think, cause for celebration. She clearly hasn't rejected it yet!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Belle_91

TeresaRose

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
1,785
Reaction score
161
Well, I took the plunge and nudged the agent with my full. She got back to me about 20 min later with apologies for not having gotten to it yet, been busy with clients as they come first, and that she is still interested in reading my manuscript. She wanted me to let her know if I received any offers in the meantime. Trying really hard not to read to much into it. I’ve been burned before, Lord knows. At the same time I don’t want to have a self-fulfilling prophesy that I will get rejected. I suppose I’ll continue along in my anxious state but I’m a tad hopeful I guess.
Fingers crossed for you, Belle.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Belle_91

Nether

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
543
Reaction score
506
Location
New England
Welcome(???) back, Nether.

Thanks, it's good and bad to be back in the fray. On one hand, it's like "ugggggggh, this sucks," but on the other hand, it's the process.

Granted, I was go & stop -- after sending out just the one or two, I hadn't got back to doing more because I got distracted with everything else. I was hoping to have got through a lot more this week.
 

mccardey

wear a mask
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2010
Messages
14,938
Reaction score
6,524
Location
Australia.
It's also a pain because I'll likely need an agent for each genre I write. I can understand why people try to stick to 1-2 books a year now. All this extra stuff beyond the actual writing is just crazy.
Why would you need an agent for each genre? I don't think that's usual. Usually an agent likes to take on the whole career (at least at the start... ;) )
 

Nether

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
543
Reaction score
506
Location
New England
Why would you need an agent for each genre? I don't think that's usual. Usually an agent likes to take on the whole career (at least at the start... ;) )

Not every agent represents every genre, and some of the agent videos out there are pretty quick to point out why (although in many cases other agents at the agency fill those areas).

I've very quickly seen that a lot of the agents I'm looking at only cover 1-2 things I write. Granted, the prevailing wisdom is that an author narrows their scope as their career progresses so I may not necessarily be writing across everything.

But sure, one-stop shopping would be amazing.
 

mccardey

wear a mask
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2010
Messages
14,938
Reaction score
6,524
Location
Australia.
Not every agent represents every genre, and some of the agent videos out there are pretty quick to point out why (although in many cases other agents at the agency fill those areas).

I've very quickly seen that a lot of the agents I'm looking at only cover 1-2 things I write. Granted, the prevailing wisdom is that an author narrows their scope as their career progresses so I may not necessarily be writing across everything.

But sure, one-stop shopping would be amazing.
If you're sure.

You did say before that you've had a lot of incorrect advice so far - maybe just check up on that? I've known a lot of agents, and had three myself and except for picture books or occasionally MG, they have always been after the whole-of-career (which often included screen-writing.)

Genres they don't cover can usually be negotiated outside of the contract you have with them, by mutual agreement: but even then your agent will usually help with suggestions and recommendations if they can.

Generally, in my experience, agents are not keen to share a writer. They will usually prefer that you cut ties with the agent you have before signing with them.
 
Last edited:

Nether

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
543
Reaction score
506
Location
New England
If you're sure.

You did say before that you've had a lot of incorrect advice so far - maybe just check up on that? I've known a lot of agents, and had three myself and except for picture books or occasionally MG, they have always been after the whole-of-career (which often included screen-writing.)

The incorrect advice I was referring to largely came from academia where the subject was being taught by people who had no ****ing clue how anything worked (so I was getting told things like you should just send fiction proposals to agents instead of waiting until you had a completed manuscript).

The possibility of multiple agents is something I've heard from both agents (Booksends discusses it, among others; in Bookends's case, they were quick to point out that that agency as a whole covered a wide variety of genres -- and iirc their argument was that any single agent who claims to represent every genre likely doesn't do anything well) as well as some career authors (I *think* I might have first heard about the idea in one of Brandon Sanderson's videos)

Assuming I do eventually get an agent, I'm sure it's something that'll be discussed during the on-boarding process. However, at the moment, some of the agents I've queried for one genre have very-explicit references to not touching some other genres, and I would hope that -- as you mention -- they'd either be able to make suggestions or arrangements on my behalf for those other genres (or somebody else in their agency can pick up those responsibilities). Whatever keeps my life easier is fine by me.
 
Last edited:

mccardey

wear a mask
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2010
Messages
14,938
Reaction score
6,524
Location
Australia.
iirc their argument was that any single agent who claims to represent every genre likely doesn't do anything well
I think that's a bit unjustified. Good agents are successful business people who love books; they're out to help you succeed. If they want you, they'll sign you and help you find someone else for the things they don't rep. I know this from experience.

Maybe ask around a bit, just to check that your info isn't one of those factoids that people repeat because they heard it a few times, so it must be true.
 
Last edited:

Belle_91

Words are life
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
2,435
Reaction score
327
Age
30
Location
Tennessee
Hey y'all. I hope everyone is doing well. I'm sorry I can't weigh in on the whole agency business above seeing as I've never had one and typically stick to historical fiction so I'm not worried about finding an agent that represents a different genre.

Anyway, I heard back from the agent with the full. She sent me the nicest rejection I've ever had. Thoughtful and very personalized but the dreaded "I didn't love it enough." I'm encouraged by all of the positive things she had to say about it, but also discouraged because I've queried around 30 agents (still waiting to hear back from some) and she's the only one who has requested. There's also nothing to really fix. She did say that she was confident that the right agent was just around the corner, but I'm not liking my request rate. I've thought about trying someone at Kensington publishing who has tweeted about the specific historical events that happened in my story.

So that's where I stand right now. I'm actually super proud of myself that I haven't cried and do have a shred of hope still left.

The agency also lets you query someone else if an agent rejects you. In my polite thank you letter to the agent, I was maybe going to mention querying the other said agent in the hopes maybe she would give me some kind of recommendation or heads up to the other agent. Just don't know if it's something you're not supposed to do.
 

Belle_91

Words are life
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
2,435
Reaction score
327
Age
30
Location
Tennessee
Thanks, Tamlyn. Honestly, I’m feeling better about it this morning. I mean she had the nicest stuff to say and said the writing was strong enough that she was confident I’ll find someone. I’ve never had an agent say that, though it hurts I was so close. Still, I felt encouraged enough to send out three queries and plan on sending out two more tonight. Maybe I’m being foolish since my request rate isn’t that stellar but I don’t think there is anything wrong with the manuscript like the agent indicated. I think it’s just a matter of finding the right person.

That’s what I tell myself anyways. Now I just got to work on the formatting of my emails cause it keeps messing up when I paste my queries. Hopefully the ones that went out in the slightly wonky format won’t hold me back. (The first paragraph didn’t indent).

Onwards and upwards.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Woollybear

Tamlyn

fish skeleton
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Messages
1,280
Reaction score
451
Location
Australia
I did end up entering Pitchwars, and I received zero (0) requests. I didn't really partake of the community because I am bad at that. I didn't even follow the mentors I subbed to on Twitter; I didn't want to see tweets coming up about them requesting etc when it was never me. So I only looked at their feeds when I was prepared to see that. I just carried on with NaNo prep as normal, presuming I would get nothing.

So while there is some disappointment, it's not too bad.

The two short story rejections today, however....
 

Woollybear

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
5,121
Reaction score
1,409
Location
USA
I keep spreadsheets. I'm halfway to today's word count goal and taking a break to give my writing brain a rest. I'm filling my time during this break with statistical analysis on queries. Here's my data, from my spreadsheet, none of which has to do with requests, as those get a little murky:

On Aerovoyant, queried between 2018 and 2019, I queried 120 agents. I had replies, eventually, from 70 (no reply from 50). (58% response rate in 2018-2019.)

The average wait time for that reply, was 36 days. Standard deviation=58 days, Median=15.

Spread=between 0 days and 330 days.

On Telomeric, I queried 107 agents in spring of 2021. I've had replies, so far, from 47 agents (44% response rate.)

The average wait time has been 38 days. Standard deviation=39 days. Median=24 days.

Spread=between 0 days and 137 days (so far.)

So, this is a good left-brain way to procrastinate for a bit. The average wait time for a reply (about a month) has been consistent between projects--retreating pandemic notwithstanding. Hearing back from roughly half of agents is also quasi-consistent, and it's about right according to various sources.

Three agents who replied to my Aerovoyant query have not replied to my Telomeric query. On the other hand, six agents who replied to my Telomeric query did not reply to my Aerovoyant query.

41 of the 107 agents I queried for Telomeric were also queried for Aerovoyant.

All right. Back to writing.
 

Alan Yee

Still Here!
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 16, 2005
Messages
5,984
Reaction score
1,383
Ouch. Just got a 10-hour rejection from a market that is not Clarkesworld. That’s okay. It was another long shot. Pretty much the only reason I sent it to this market is because they pay pro rates, take sim subs, and usually send quick rejections. Figured I could collect another rejection while I await a decision on this story from a different market that I’m frankly more excited about potentially breaking into based on the editorial focus.
 
  • Sad
Reactions: Tamlyn

Cobalt Jade

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,237
Reaction score
265
Location
Seattle
Got a humorous short erotica piece (featuring bondage in a book fair) rejected. It's only the second rejection for this story, but dammit, it's *good.* Rejection hurts.
 

Vaitalla

New kid, be gentle!
Registered
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
21
Reaction score
29
Location
Mountain View, CA
Website
secondworldwritings.blogspot.com
Hello everyone! I'm new here and just started submitting my first novel, which is a new one (just short stories before). I was being so pokey and foot-dragging about submitting that I challenged myself to submit to one agent a day for one month. So far I am on day 20. I have had two requests for partials (one followed by a rejection but with very useful feedback that enabled me to improve the book). One partial still out, obviously will be a while before I nudge.

For rejections I've had six including the one mentioned above, which was actually a double rejection because the assistant to the agent I queried was actually another agent at the agency who I would have followed up by querying... Lordy this business can be weird!

Everything else is still floating around in the ether. :)

I am definitely getting better at handling rejections, am getting a real appreciation for agents who get back to me within three days of me submitting even if it's a rejection, and making myself send out one query a day seems to have conquered my fear of querying (or at least dulled it!).
 

Belle_91

Words are life
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
2,435
Reaction score
327
Age
30
Location
Tennessee
Alan Yee and Cobalt -- Sorry you got rejected. It DOES hurt. I've been rejected hundreds of times, and while I can mostly brush it off now, it does still sting a little. Especially if it's from an agent you really want to work with. I've read a few articles where writers, once they've accepted an offer, print out all of their rejections and use them for decorations at their signings or launch parties. One woman made a dress out of her rejections. Sometimes it helps to think I'll just have one more center piece.

Vaitalla--Congrats on having two partials out. I also think an agent taking the time to critique a piece is a win in and of itself. In a day and age where a form response or, lately, no response at all, is the most likely outcome, I think it shows promise that an agent took the time to tell you what went wrong. They wouldn't have done that if they didn't think it was worth it.

So I got rejected today...again...but it's one of those really positive rejections. The agent said my writing was strong and my premise excellent. She said that I will get an agent and published. This is the second rejection I've gotten on this MS that the agent had really nice things to say and seemed to think there was someone out there for this MS. I'm taking that as a win. I feel like I'm close. This is certainly the closest I've ever been outside of full requests or partials that didn't lead to anything.
 

Happy Thanksgiving

Autumn image for Thanksgiving