Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Would You Do?



"Dear Writer Rejected: I read your pages and you are without a doubt a very strong writer. However, I didn’t fall in love with the novel. You mention in your email that you’ve recently started a memoir and that you have a short story collection. I understand you’d like to find an agent for this novel, and have it out with several right now--but if you’re open to it, I’d love to read the beginning of your memoir, as well as the complete short stories. Let me know where things stand. Best, Chick-Lit-Type Agent Who Doesn't Like Your Novel & Probably Won't Like Your Other Stuff Either"

It's pretty unusual for an agent to suggest they might like to represent only some of your work, no? Do I (a) give her the other manuscripts and not worry about it? (b) put her off a bit and wait to see if one of the other 5 agents loves the novel and wants to take everything on? (c) say thank you, but no thank you, and stand by my novel. 

16 comments:

Hymen Vagistein said...

Send her your stuff. The worst thing that happens is you get representation for a future memoir and story collection. The best thing that happens is you get to snub her later if another agent wants to represent all your work.

Anonymous said...

It's a win-win! Show her the memoir and the novel is still available. I've heard of people having two agents for different projects. Why not?

W,R, this is GOOD news.

Travener said...

Well, if she reads your blog and sees the way you describe her, I think you don't have to worry anymore whether she'll be interested in taking on your memoir...

Johanna said...

I have a good agent and I say go for it, W,R. She/he seems sincere. At least let the interested party look at it. You can always change your mind before signing. The very least you'd come away with is free feedback.

Anonymous said...

You should totally send her your other stuff. Haven't the stories already been published as a collection? If not, and she likes them and/or the memoir and they sell, or even if they get some critical acclaim or "buzz", then I'll bet she'll push the novel too. It's worth a shot, surely?

Unless it's not a personal fit for you. You said chick-lit. Is that a good or bad thing for you and your work?

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you! What would be the point of holding out and playing hard to get? Just send her the stuff
:)

The Rejection Queen said...

I'm wondering about this for myself. The agent rejected me but then said she would be more than willing to read any other material that I send her. What's up with that? What should I do?

Writer, Rejected said...

Chick Lit type agent is hardly an insult; the agent makes money for her clients and the rest is true. She didn't like my novel, which has been the center of my universe for a decade. So why would she be insulted? Just seeking advice on an unusual situation.

Writer, Rejected said...

Not really trying to play hard to get. Just wondering if it doesn't suit me better to wait and see if there does happen to be an agent out there in this batch who will take on my novel, then the stuff that's harder to sell (story collection, memoir by nobody famous, though I do have a weird life-circumstance that is kind of trendy and of interest and unusual). I mean, if she's willing to read it now, won't she be willing to read it a bit later in case I run out of luck with the novel? Doesn't that seem smart? I don't know. Just talking out loud here.

Anonymous said...

Send it. If she takes it on and gets it pubbed, then when you are shopping the novel you are a publlished author.

gimme said...

I had 2 different agents for two different novels for a brief period - one novel was very "literary" (as in: not very commercial) and was repped by a young agent with no sales who was more willing to take on such stuff. The other was deemed more likely to be sold to a major publisher, evidently, since it was taken on by a more established agent at a big agency. In both cases, the agents were only interested in a specific work, and not in just generally representing ALL my work.

Neither novel ended up selling, by the way, and both agents have since quit agenting altogether, citing disgust with their chosen field...

Anyway, I imagine that scenario will grow more common, especially now that the range of what major publishers will consider is so narrow.

I can't imagine what you'd have to lose by playing along with "Miss Chick Lit" for now. You could keep hustling your novel to other agents, and if you do find another agent who likes the novel AND the stories and memoir, you can always dump this agent later, assuming she hasn't come through in the meantime.

No-brainer if you ask me.:)

Anonymous said...

Tell her to walk. If she can't stand by what you think is good then who cares if she can sell the other stuff. She's a shark and you know it.

Anonymous said...

If you wait, you run the risk that she'll not be interested later - or will be swamped or already have her quota of memoir or whatever.

Since she's not asking for exclusive submission and wants to read it NOW, don't let the lead get cold. Send it. You've absolutely nothing to lose but a bit of your time and the postage!

Anonymous said...

Conflicting advice, gasp...

Time for another update, WR - what are you going to do??? WHAT?

Writer, Rejected said...

B: They like you more if there's competition.
B: She's probably going to reject my other work, too, so I'll let that be a dream deferred
B: She'll be as interested in 6 weeks as she was a few days ago
B: A third-gendered person can dream, can't ze?
B: One of the 5 agents is going to fall in love with all my words.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

I'd probably send her the stuff she's interested in reading.