Tuesday, February 2, 2010

That Was Impressively Fast!

So remember yesterday's post and how nice all you mice were  with your good feelings and happy thoughts that the agent who wanted an exclusive was maybe going to be the one to represent me? And remember how I tried to temper your enthusiasm because I really have to say I don't see how in hell anyone is going to publish anything, let alone my novel? (A pretty well known author, whose daughter is a friend of one of my family members, reports that her third novel got roundly rejected by all the likely publishing houses...until some kindly soul picked it up to be published in paperback only.)  What I'm trying to say here is that I think small presses are going to be my next route; I'm going to skip the agent and go to the source.  I've already sent out a bunch of manuscripts, so we'll see. Even that seems like it might be a dead end. But, anyhoo, what I'm trying to say is that the agent got back with his rejection in one week flat. Awesome. Here's what he had to say:
Thank you for giving me a chance to consider your work. While I certainly think the writing has merit, I'm sorry to report that I just don't feel the level of enthusiasm required for me to make an offer of representation. The fiction market is very competitive at this time and I think your novel would be a tough sell without an agent who has 100% faith in its potential. I am uncertain as to how and where to sell this.
My response, like every decision in the publishing business, is highly subjective so I do want to encourage you to continue your search for an agent who would be better suited to your needs than I.
Again, thanks for your consideration and I wish you luck in your endeavors.


Anonymous said...

Wow that WAS fast. His letter sounds incredibly familiar.

I'm curious as to why you WOULDN'T try the small presses at this point? I had actually assumed you had been trying at least the bigger of the small publishers...

From the rejections you've been getting - they seem to love the writing itself but find the content too unusual, no? Either too "quiet" "gentle" or is it unsettling? And from your own description of your novel, think you said something like it's "out there" it sounds more like something a small literary press would want to take a chance on anyway.

Continued good luck anyway, I just want it to be published by SOMEONE so I can read it. After all this build-up, this anony-hype!

Anonymous said...

sorry to hear the bad news, but I'm with you on this. I've run out of probability clichés (snowball's chance in hell, etc.) to describe the likelihood of my ever being published.

Tena Russ said...

That sounded so familiar that I went to my rejections file and sure enough, it was there, verbatim. He is unworthy of you.

The Rejection Queen said...

Dude, I think I got this same rejection. It sounds so familiar...I know I have gotten it before. Seriously. Don't feel bad about it because this guy probably didn't even bother to read your work.

Johanna Moran said...


But may I say that I was close to throwing in the towel and going down to the Krispy Kreme for a job or a donut...and then it happened - Random House and Harper Collins both. It took me 15 years to get there.

Don't give up, trite as it may sound. Just don't.

Anonymous said...

So what are your thoughts on small presses versus the big guys, WR? Curious to know.

Anonymous said...

I was an author who was rejected by everyone. Agents, publishers, and many women.

At one point it was even seriously suggested that I try to publish in Germany first. So my first novel would have been a book even I couldn't have read.

Long story short, I gave up on big agents and publishers, tried independent, and that eventually worked (after about 10 years of rejection). However, when my indie-published hardcover was put up for auction for the paperback rights, it was snatched up quickly by a bigger publisher (Penguin Putnam Berkeley Signature). And yes, I have a rejection notice from Berkeley, as well, when they rejected it as a hardcover a few years earlier.

Learned a few lessons:

1) Those who reject you at a publishing house one year may not be the same people the following year.

2) Sometimes the indie route is a successfully indirect route to a larger publisher.

And even with a published novel under my belt, I may need to take that independent route again. The big publishers are just not taking many chances right now.

Love the site.

All the best,

Dean Monti, author of marginally successful novel, "The Sweep of the Second Hand."

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately (as you'll no doubt soon discover) the small presses are taking even fewer chances than the big ones right now.

The small ones are in the same boat - just with less money and people and resources, and bombarded by even more submissions.

The only way to publish literary fiction at this point is to have connections, or to self-publish. You will not get there through the slush pile.

Post your novel on the blog here. If it gets 2000 hits it will have reached more eyes than it would have if it were published by a small press.

You have a platform. Use it, and stop chasing the outdated dream of getting published by someone else.

Anonymous said...

I also received this rejection -- verbatim -- about a year ago. Guess it's the standard. I don't agree with Rejection Queen, however; the fast turn-around doesn't mean he didn't read it.

Linda Zinnen said...

Persistence is the most underrated quality of a writer.

Go and persist.


Anonymous said...

i feel left out.

everyone knows who this guy is... and i don't.

Tena Russ said...

Anonymous 7:51 AM:
Consider yourself fortunate.

The Oceanside Animals said...

I had a couple of books published by small presses. The finished products were good quality, but not noticeably better than what is produced by an on-demand site like Lulu. Marketing was nonexistent in one case, minimal in another, which is not unlike what you would get as a low or mid-list author with a big publishing house. The first publisher closed up shop at an inopportune time (i.e., right when a film producer's office started sniffing around my book); the other was acquired by another small press, which probably explains why they sat on the contract for my second book that they had accepted for seven months (without any explanation despite repeated inquiries from me), at which point I pulled it from them and self-published it.

I guess my point is that small publishers are indeed a valid option, but you can get more or less the same result by self-publishing, as other commenters have suggested. Just depends how you want to do it.