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Today’s Good Advice As Given RE: Agents And Rejection

June 1, 2012 Leave a comment

My buddy Terence has the good advice of the day. So, what is a writer to do when a literary agent tells you your work isn’t a “good fit”?

“Query another agent. ‘Not a good fit’ is usually code for, I don’t rep this kind of story, or don’t know who to pitch it to, or that their roster of authors is already full.”

This was in response to me last night asking about various strategies and how to go about querying.

Thanks J.R.! Starting My Agent Query Spreadsheet

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Just giving a shout out my my buddy J.R. Fitch who has been giving me some great leads on literary agents to submit my novel to.  Ok, some of them don’t look like good fits but some of them do and I always appreciate the help.

I’ve started to construct an agent contact database to help track my submissions even though I am not quite there yet.  I like being organized though.

My database looks like this:

The categories are:

  • Agent Name
  • Agency
  • Interests
  • Recent Relevant Sales
  • Send (Y/N)
  • Date Sent
  • Heard Back (Y/N)
  • Interested (Y/N)
  • Followup

The list contains both loose and hard matches.  If an agent says generically that they accept “Fiction” they go on the list.  They might not be among the first few batches of queries to go out unless I see that they have recently sold something in the Fantasy genre however.  The category that agents through around that bugs me however is “YA Fantasy”.  This field is so poorly and broadly defined that I have come to realize that no one really knows what it means and every one seems to have different definitions they opt to go by.  But I will still target them as well as Under the Darkened Moon can easily fit into that category under many of the available definitions.

I think that this sort of a list will help me keep track of where my submissions have gone and see if there are any trends in terms of out right rejections versus interest.

I Feel Better After This Advice

May 27, 2012 Leave a comment

My friend Dan is a literary agent.  Unfortunately, he and his agency don’t deal with Fantasy novels so he cannot accept my manuscript.  But he has given me some names and suggestions about who I should submit my novel to and has given me great advice on my novel Under the Darkened Moon to help me out along the way.  But none of his advice has been as valuable or helpful as this:

“You hear about how 95% to 99% of all manuscripts are rejected right?  Well, I don’t know that you should have to worry about the odds being that high against you.  First of all, you have two things going for you that those 95% to 99% don’t have!  First is that you have written one heck of a manuscript for being a first time author.  I am very impressed with it.  Secondly is that you are going to make sure that you submit your manuscript to the right people!  I know you are because we have talked about this.

See, those there are the two reasons why so many books get rejected.  They are either not submitted to agents or publishers who deal with the material the author is writting about or what is submitted are horribly written first or rought drafts with zero thought put into them.  Plus, remember this please, that high rejection rate includes all the rejections of every manuscript sent to every potential agent or publisher.  You submit to 99 times and are rejected by all 99 then you are at 100% rejection rate.  But when you submit to the 100th and are accepted you are in that 1%.

I really hate how people in my industry try scaring off new authors with daunting figures that makes getting published look like an insurmountable moutain.  It is hard.  But when people put the time in they can be rewarded.  Now go and submit!  I am not saying you will get offers and ink a deal.  However I do deeply feel that anyone who rejects your manuscript is going to wish they hadn’t.”

This kind of encouragement makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Encouragement From My Friend Doug

May 26, 2012 Leave a comment

One of my reviewers, Douglas, has given me hope:

“I would say that your novel ranks in the same league with published works such as Flank Hawk or The Blade itself by Joe Abercrombie. If those works can be published then yours should too. It’s much better than a lot of what is published these days. You have definitely taken a lot of the critiques given to your rough draft and made this much better. I think that for your first novel it is a sparkling achievement.”

HA! Now time to get disapointed I suppose as the rejections roll in.

Compiling My Agents List

May 10, 2012 Leave a comment

I have begun compiling a list of literary agents to whom I will query and otherwise send my manuscript to once it is completed. My plans are that after this latest edit of Under the Darkened Moon is completed and the review group has given their comments that I will do a polishing edit. Everyone reading the story seems to think it good and have only minor comments such a the occasional awkward sentence or the misspelled word the spell checker missed. But once that polishing edit is complete, I am allotting one day per chapter so about a month and a half, I have to have some idea of what to do with it.

Side note:
I already had an encounter with one lit agent who a friend referred to me. She claimed to be accepting epic fantasy for review and lobbied for me to send her a sample. However upon me sending her the first 50 pages of my novel she then claimed that she was not looking for epic fantasy. Her web profile, however, says that she is. I don’t know whether or not she is just confused as to the what the genre is that she claims to want submissions on or she just hated the story and did not want to say so. Either way, it certainly annoyed me because I went though the bother of doing a polish on the first 50 pages and rushed it off to her.

Interesting Conversation With A Friend

April 3, 2012 Leave a comment

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine today who has been repeatedly published in the genre of science fiction.  I am withholding his name for reasons that I think will be obvious by the end of this post.

For the past few years my friend has been trying to break out of sci-fi and into another genre.  He has however been repeatedly hassled by the publisher of his past sci-fi books to present them with a new manuscript.  It is important to note that he has no contractual obligation with his current publisher, they just want him to write another book because they see him as an established author who can sell books.  However, as he put it to me, he just does not feel that he has anything worth writing about in sci-fi anymore.  But he does have ideas for other genres.  Unfortunately his current publisher does not publish said genres.

He has been polite in refusing them but confided in me that he was becoming very annoyed with the constant badgering.  Apparently this publisher is very light in the funnel.  The other day when they called he mentioned my name and gave me a reference because they also publish fantasy and let slip that they are interested in such as well. They told him that they were not interested in developing new talent and, such was his take, that they wanted to stick with past sucessess.  Yes, he said, even if what those past successes gave them a subpar story to work with.  They said they wanted “anything” from him and commenting that “quality does not matter.” Read more…