Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Nice No-Tingles Agent Was Also Fast


Another rejection with a quick turn around; this one based on the first 20 pages (5 days):

Thanks for giving me a peek at [title of novel]. I think it's clear that you're a wonderful writer, and I like the energy of your emails. But it comes down to this: In the end, I just didn't get the tingles about this one. And in this ultra-tough marketplace, I've got to be head over heels in love with something in order to take it on. I'm sorry I don't have better news, but I'm glad to hear you have others looking at it, and I hope someone falls in love with it soon. Best of luck, and take care. Kindest Regards,  Nice Lady Agent
Maybe the more dead books are, the more decisive the become.

15 comments:

The Rejection Queen said...

This is why I don't do any of my querying through email(I consider it the lazy man-agent way) I have a feeling....electronically, agents are more inclined to skim through the pages of a manuscript faster so they can move on to the next poor soul, thus this is why you get a reply so quick

Writer, Rejected said...

I think it's a relief to conduct business via email; it's quicker anyway. I don't think skimming or not skimming matters; a person can tell whether he or she wants to represent a project. I think the problem is more that so few books are selling any more, so no one can justify taking on a risk. It's all over for literary fiction is what I'm saying.

The Rejection Queen said...

Well, I don't want to believe it just yet. But when they day comes I might as well kill myself. I'll have nothing left in this sorry ass life. That's for sure.

Writer, Rejected said...

Nah...something's going to shift. Even if we go back to cave paintings or forward to downloadable books, you will always have a reason to live.

Anonymous said...

If it's all over for literary fiction, why am I bothering to revise?

WR, how long have you been querying this particular book?

Writer, Rejected said...

Since my agent quit and I overhauled the novel...I guess that's since June. Too long, probably. What are you driving toward? Give it up. I'm getting close to that. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Are you trying non-NY agents as well? Somebody in Austin, LA, Seattle, wherever out West may have a better outlook on publishing (and your novel.) The jaded factor increases the closer you get to Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Self publishing is not the same as small press, particularly if you want longevity.

A small press publication will at least open some doors for you with agents and publishers. A self-published book will not.

Anonymous said...

I'm back, but I'm anonymous for fear of the backlash I'll get.
I'm seeing a lot of comments on this blog about self-publishing.

I want to use civilized words, I don't want to use rude words... but it's difficult.
Self-publishing or publishing your novel on a blog is KILLING, not helping literary fiction. It is NOT the answer to years of rejection. Hang in there or hang it up. But don't self-publish. It can work, but it works in the very rarest of instances, and the other 99 percent of the examples are people with egos and a checkbook making themselves feel important. While self-publishing houses get rich, I might add. D

Anonymous said...

"It can work, but it works in the very rarest of instances"

Define "work."

If you're writing literary fiction, it's doubtful you hold out much hope for making any real money from your writing, or achieving any kind of fame (if you harbor aspirations in either of these areas, I genuinely feel sorry for you).

Mostly, what you probably want is for the thing to simply be READ. Being published by a small press will probably not accomplish this. Small presses have no budget for marketing or advertising. A small press first novel that sells 1500 copies is considered a roaring success. When you think about it, the small presses and university presses are the TRUE vanity publishing these days. They are a waste of time.

And since being published by a large press is out - at least at this point in publishing history - if you're writing literary fiction, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to self-publish than it does to "hang it up."

Especially if you have a blog that lots of people are already following. If W/R charged $5 to download the thing I guarantee she'd make more money and get more readers than if she was published by some dinky little press.

You people need to get it through your heads that the old model is DEAD. The game is over. Finished. Kaput. If you're still trying to play "writer" by playing the old "submit to agents/send query letters/chase after publishers" game, you better make damn sure that the novel you're peddling is a highly commercial property and that you are a known quantity with a sizeable audience already in place.

If that does not describe you and your novel, you are absolutely wasting your time by groveling around begging for scraps from what's left of the American publishing industry.

ivan said...

people might spend 5 bucks on the download because they appreciate what WR does on her blog, but they would probably not spend 5 bucks on a manuscript that has not been validated, in some way.

If she somehow got rosemary ahern or jacob appel to come on here and tell everyone that it's a brilliant work of literary art.. that's a different story.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the above -- don't self-publish. It might work for non-fiction or niche stuff, but not literary fiction.

One of the major problems is that self-published books are invariable shitty-looking. Bad covers, bad font, cheap paper, ugh. This might change in the future, but so far I have NEVER seen a truly impressive, beautiful, self-published book. They all look like crap, and send the message "this book doesn't deserve a nice presentation." Worse than not publishing at all, IMHO.

Same goes for most small publishers. There are a handful of small presses that do good work -- Coffee House Press is one.

It sounds trivial, but it's not. Presentation is like 80% of why you pick up a book in the first place.

Things will turn, though. They always do. Soon the big publishers will tire of the same old Big Thriller business model, or small publishers will get more readers, or something. Maybe e-books will save the world. Who knows?

Keep writing awesome stuff and continue to submit your work "without hope and without despair." Because what's the alternative? Quitting?

Quitting is like rejecting yourself...

Anonymous said...

Self publishing is denegrating the image of talented artists.
There's a growing

As far as this goes:
If you're still trying to play "writer" by playing the old "submit to agents/send query letters/chase after publishers" game, you better make damn sure that the novel you're peddling is a highly commercial property and that you are a known quantity with a sizeable audience already in place."

That's rubbish. It's a tough market out there, true,but there are many reasons literary fiction isn't being published and the reasons have little to do with agents and publishers:

1) The manuscript needs more work. Writers need to be more patient. I see so many writers that think if they can write 300 pages they're done. If you're getting rejections, are you revising, workshopping, re-writing?

2)It just isn't good. Face it, not everyone is a publishable writer. And it's not a knock. In fact it's more arrogant and disrespectful for people to assume the view that "anyone can write" in the same way that nuts go on American Idol and think they can sing when they can't. There is talent and craft involved. And self-published novels are lowering the image of what the general public thinks of as a "writer" and perpetuating the myth that anyone can do it.

I know someone who wrote a novel that's a "what if" sequel to the movie Titanic. "If Jack had lived...." She self-published it. It's crap and possibly infringes on all sorts of copyrights. But there are people who I know who call her a published writer. "Published writer" has to mean something, folks. If your aspiration is simply to write, and not to be a published writer, that's cool, then blog your brains out. Or get out your checkbook and have your pages bound. But don't pass it off as a published work. It's just destroying the image of writer as artist in society.

Voracia: Goddess of Words said...

I disagree with this comment:

"'Published writer' has to mean something, folks. If your aspiration is simply to write, and not to be a published writer, that's cool, then blog your brains out. Or get out your checkbook and have your pages bound. But don't pass it off as a published work. It's just destroying the image of writer as artist in society."

There are a lot of "published writers" that are not artists; they just write what's commercially popular. To me that is selling out and I would rather read self-published literary fiction than published commercial crap. Are you saying that the standard for a true writer/"artist" is publication? I totally disagree.

For the record I haven't self-published or published any books. It is just my opinion as a reader and a lover of good writing.

Amy said...

I "don't get the tingles"??? Do the tingles make her "tinkle"?
Ha ha, I don't know, that just struck me as funny for some reason. Thanks for sharing and good luck to the author on the receiving end of this rather amusing rejection.