Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not Horrified Enough, Apparently

So, this rejection came in yesterday. The agent had read the first section in August and sent me an enthusiastic note about how much she loved it.  Then followed 6 months of radio silence, unless I prodded.  Now this:
I'm horrified it's taken me so long to get back to you about this. I'm sorry to say too that I don't think I'd be the best representative for [title of novel]. I was hooked through the moment of [first major plot point], but then I felt like the narrative...started to meander on its way to its conclusion (which struck me as a little too neat, weirdly)..... I'm so sorry not to have better news to deliver at such a late date. This was a close one for me, and I wish you the very best of luck in finding the best advocate for it.
Actually, the other close call I had at a mainstream publishing house, where the novel went all the way up the ladder, also involved a criticism about a too-neat ending.  That editor said she wanted the family to suffer more at the end. So maybe I'll take another look and see if I can add a few more layers or untie a few loose ends. But, anyway, it is disappointing, though I can't say I didn't see it coming.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why Do You Never Show Gratitude Upon Rejection?

In case you find yourself keeping track of your own personal rejection, perhaps it is comforting to know that some (bl)agents also keep a tally.  The categories crack me up (i.e., rejections earning advice, queries in first person, Thank-you notes in response to rejection, which creates a storm in the comments section). The upshot over at BookEnds is as follows:
Total Number of Queries: 40
Fiction: 26
Nonfiction: 14
Total Number I Rejected: 40
Um...that's 40 out of 40, no? So, why not just say, "I REJECTED THEM ALL"? Just wondering.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rhino-Whino Rejection

It doesn't suit at least two of their editors' needs? No poetic grasslands for grazing? Oh well, what do rhinos know anyway?  They have very small eyes positioned on either side of their fat, fat heads. No real vision.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unpublished Novels and the Murdering Harvard Neurobiologist

Can't drum up any interest in your unpublished novels?  Easy-peasy.... if you don't mind the part about murdering some colleagues.  Or maybe it was the three unpublished manuscripts that made Amy Bishop do it. Anyway, just more evidence that we are mostly a reality-crap-t.v. culture now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Enter Contest...Get Critique

These ladies have found a brilliant way to get people to follow their blog: A contest to get critiqued by a literary agent.  I don't we need more agent critiques?  Maybe someone does.  Just thought I'd pass it along, while subtly promoting their blogs.  BTW, it's very sunny and warm where I am, and I am totally chilling, still thinking about the new book, which of course is part of writing, but not doing much else.  It's nice.  I recommend.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Where In The World Is Jacob Appel?

Blogging you from the airport today (Hope they don't confiscate my laptop).  I received this anonymous email from a clever LROD Mouser and wanted to share it with you:"I was wondering what happened to Jacob Appel, who has been AWOL for quite a while, when I suddenly stumbled upon this article, and now I know that he is Zelig. Or possibly YOU! If not, I thought that you would wish to know. I loved the part about the 4am email.--PeterPeter PipeCleaner (Not My Real Name)"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forced Vacation

So, my family is forcing a work-free vacation for the next two weeks; this includes blogging, they tell me. We will be on the opposite coast for a change visiting friends and family, and this will indeed be the first non-working vacation I've had in recent memory and the first real vacation in over ten years. (That's what happens when you own your own writing business to support your creative writing habit.) Maybe it's me but 14 days without any writing seems drastic and a little frightening. That said, I think I will probably sneak a blog post or two, though not as regularly as my usual no-fail daily posts, so keep an eye out over here for sporadic blogging.
     Also, it's not entirely true that I won't be writing at all.
     My spouse and I are working on a screenplay together for fun, so we will do some work on that, and the plan is to have a few morning hours for creative work every day, since we are both devoted writers. I'm developing the new book on disinheritance, which is coming along nicely; I'm mostly in the research phase. The idea is to create a wide pop-culture, literary scope on the topic, but it also includes my own memoir-ish thread on being given the boot by my father. Basically, it's an exploration, both cultural and personal. It's weird to be writing something that's actually marketable, but I believe that's what's happening here. I'll keep you posted as it evolves.
     I will also post any rejections I get for the novel and essays; I expect those to start rolling in momentarily.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Never Going to Happenz...Zzzz

Snoozeville on this anonymous rejection sent in by an LROD reader: “While I found your query intriguing I’m afraid I wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic to ask for more at this time.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It'll Take How Long?

So, as I mentioned earlier, there are two editors-in-chief (chieves?) reading my essay collection.  Here are what they said to me:
1) "I’m about to head out of town (twice) so look forward to your work when I return."
2) "My response time is usually 16-20 weeks."
How will I mark my iCal for these eventual rejections? I wonder.  (I grow old, I grow old, etc.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Deserve A Break Today

I wasn't sure one of the newly interested agents had received my novel manuscript via email, so I wrote a little check in the next day.  Here was the response: Yes. We are processing your manuscript and will get back to you asap. Thanks, WR. Best, [initials].  I like the casualness of the response.  I like that they are processing rather than reading.  Maybe they can process it into something marketable.

Friday, February 5, 2010

You Want to Read My What?

So, here's a surprise. (I don't mean the fact that somehow my font is stuck on italics and so it seems that I am emphasizing everything.)  Oddly, at this moment, two publishers of smallish publishing houses are reading my essay collection.  I gave them the range of choices: novel, short story collection, essay collection, and they both chose essays.  Is that just exactly how dead fiction is?  Used to be you couldn't get arrested with a book of creative nonfiction in a sandwich baggy. (Somewhere in here here is a definite need for emphasis, maybe the sentence about fiction being dead. You'll have to supply it yourself.)  As ever, I shall keep you eternally posted. Have a good weekend, everybody.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sorry, I Only Publish What's Unpopular

Rarely to we get such a clear view inside the mind of a working agent as we do with this rejection (sent in by a loyal LROD mouse).  Contrarian indeed:
I appreciate your contacting me and your kind words about the late [person they both know]. I think a lot of people will go for this and that you should be able to find representation for it, but it's not really for me in terms of what I am looking for right now. This kind of "the teenager is really a witch/vampire/werewolf/ demon/ wizard" novel is really hot right now, and I don't do what's hot. Just some contrarian gene in me, I guess.
Maybe I should send my novel there; my stuff is definitely not hot.

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.

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.

Monday, February 1, 2010

You May Have An Exclusive Read, Sir

Here's a new one for me; it's straight from the Golden Age of literary agenting: "Thank you for the query. I would be interested in reading your work. Include a stamped self-addressed envelope if you want the material returned. Or you can send to me as a Word doc. Can I see as an exclusive. In return I will get back within [small number] days. I look forward. Yours truly,_________"  I told him there were three other agents who already had the novel, but that they appeared to be in a long, frozen winter sleep (despite prodding); I said that I wouldn't make a move on the book until I heard from him, which is a joke because those other agents aren't going to be getting back to me anytime soon. He was cool with that.