Sunday, August 2, 2009

Can't Catch A Break

I don't know. I've heard that a lot of writers are putting their projects on the shelf and waiting until the book market does something else because apparently no one is buying very much of anything. So, I'm thinking about putting it on the shelf and starting a new book. What do you think, people? Here's the latest rejection: "It's with some regret that I write to say that I won't be taking on [your novel's] representation. You are a really talented writer and there are some gorgeous moments in the book. But with the market for fiction as incredibly tough as it is right now, I just can't represent anything that I'm not wildly passionate about. I liked your novel very much, but I didn't love it and it didn't resonate with me on a deep level. I truly believe that you will find someone who will click with it in just the right way; you're such a good writer and you have an interesting, quirky, distinctive story to tell. Best best best of luck and warm regards...rejecting agent"

12 comments:

Susan M said...

I think you should always be working on something new, even if you continue to submit the existing work. It sounds like you have a very high-quality ms that eventually, someone is going to love to just the right extent needed to acquire (but still, the whole game of it is so uncertain and often so unjust and arbitrary).
Maybe you do need to take a short break from submitting, if only to have a short break from these heart-rending responses. Maybe the experience of writing and submitting this current project will have loosened something new in you that will flow in something new and marvelous.

Johanna said...

There are a lot of agents in the sea, W,R. My novel "The Wives of Henry Oades" sold in this climate, in the US and the UK. Sales are made every day. You know that in your heart of hearts, right?
Don't quit. Keep sending it out while you're working on your new thing is my advice. Shelving it accomplishes nada. -- Johanna

rmellis said...

Her (his?) standards seem ridiculously high. How many books am I "wildly passionate" about? Um, maybe seven. In my whole life. If I were an agent and only represented those books, I'd have a lot of free time.

I think it's definitely time to start a new project, whether or not you shelve the old one.

But is there much of an advantage to shelving a project now? If you wait until the market comes back, you'll be competing with all those other people who waited, too -- and it's possible that the market will never come back to what it was.

A year from now, people will still be walking into bookstores and clicking onto Amazon looking for a NEW book. Agents and editors still need projects to justify their existence. *Someone's* got to get those literary prizes. It's not the wild, over-paid free-for-all it was 10 years ago, but people are still reading.

Frankly, I think being too quick to shelve projects has really hurt my writing career... think about it, anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't buy it. I think agents use the tough market as a gentle excuse for rejection. I truly wonder whether their rejection/acceptance ratio was any different a year ago, or five years ago. I am also coming to the conclusion that you do, in fact, want an agent to be "wildly passionate" about your project--you just need to find that like-minded person.

But, why are these two proposals counterposed? Why not begin to work on a new project while you're still pitching the old one?

Writer, Rejected said...

Thanks for talking sense into me, you guys (or women, as it were). I will keep plugging on and reporting back. Seems like I'm just in a place where it's hard to keep getting knocked down, but you are right that now is hardly the time to pull out of the game. I do sometimes wonder if I'm crazy to put myself up for so much rejection, but I guess the answer really is Yes, I am. So, Onward! (as Howard Junker infamously says in his rejection letters).

Anonymous said...

I don't know. It just stinks. I'm really sorry.

Linda

Jessica Brown said...

That's actually a rather uplifting rejection, depending on how you look at it. They took the time to tell you how much they enjoyed it, rather than just sending off another impersonal form letter. It strongly resembled a lot of the "Great story, but it just doesn't fit our needs" rejections I receive for my short stories, which I usually take as encouragement to find a better fit for my work.

As far as shelving it, why not just move on to another active project while shopping the finished manuscript around? If the rejection you just received is any indication of its quality, there's probably an agent/publisher out there that it's a perfect match for.

maryjo said...

hah. i got that *exact* rejection about 2 weeks ago.

we're all good ... and unpublishable.

so much cake so little time said...

Agreeing with the general consensus that you should start something new and keep submitting the original manuscript even if that becomes less of a priority. As far as yer self doubt re quitting and doing something else altogether...I reject that idea.

Anonymous said...

that *exact* rejection??

Writer, Rejected said...

Wouldn't it be funny if it were really just a form letter that she sends out to everyone?! I think Maryjo-Leesa ("That's Not My Name") above is pulling our collective leg. Excuse my reference to the Tingles. Couldn't help it.

Anonymous said...

Don't shelve anything. It's worded very similarly to ones I've received. I get Publishers Market updates and agree that deals are made for many books everyday, both fiction and nonfiction. Just keep sending it out until there's nowhere left.