Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Query Mysteries... Personal or Not?

So, I'm not shy and have nothing to hide. As most of you know, I'm querying and have [ungodly number redacted] rejections. I don't mind rejection these days. I had a few bad moments for a a while, but for my sanity's sake(what I had of it) I decided to expect rejection and feel overwhelming elation for a partial request, followed by doubt of its sincerity. I'm still waiting on the latter. For the most part, there's no mystery as to the intent of a rejection, but I admit, these three have me a bit confused. So, fellow rejectees (or future rejectees), what say you in regards to these enigmatic responses?


Dear Christi:
Thanks for sending along the opening pages of Lesser Evils. Truth be told, though, I'm afraid these pages just didn't draw me in as much as I had hoped. I'm pressed for time these days and, what with my reservations about the project, I suspect I wouldn't be the best fit. Thanks so much for contacting me and for giving me this opportunity. It's much appreciated, and I'm sorry to be passing. I wish you the very best of luck in your search for representation.

This seems personal, but I can't tell. It's the 'these pages just didn't draw me in as I had hoped' line. That makes me think they WANTED to like MY story from my query, but I sucked at my opening delivery and instead of setting fire to their email (an impossible task), they just rejected it. Maybe they have a form letter then just fill in the names where needed.

Many thanks for writing. You have an interesting idea for a book, and there’s a lot to like about your approach. But in the end I’m afraid that I didn’t come away from this quite fully convinced this was something I’d be able to represent successfully. I’m sorry not to be more positive, but thanks nonetheless for giving me a chance to review it.


Again, it's flattering, but I'm not convinced it's a personal rejection. They might say this to everyone. Not to mention they did not address me by name.

Dear Christi,

Thank you for your email query and apologies for the delay. I appreciate the opportunity to consider LESSER EVILS for possible representation, but I’m afraid I’m not the right agent for it. I already have a few time travel novels on my plate, and you deserve an enthusiastic agent who can champion your work. Of course this is only one response, and tastes vary widely among agents. I wish you the best of luck finding the right home for your work.


This one was the most baffling. They already have a few time travel novels they are working on? That seems incredibly unlikely considering the supposed few clients they take on in a year. Why would you take on more than one of a genre like this at a time, much less a few? Honestly, it sort of feels like a lie. It'd really have been best to just leave that line out altogether.


Terry Towery said...

January 14, 2010

Dear Author:
Thank you so much for sending the [redacted]Agncy your query. We’d like to apologize for the impersonal nature of this standard rejection letter. Rest assured that we do read every query letter carefully and, unfortunately, this project is not right for us. Because this business is so subjective and opinions vary widely, we recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one "yes" to find the right match.

Good luck with all your publishing endeavors.


See? Now THAT'S a form rejection.

Christi Goddard said...

I got that one!

Nick said...

If #1 is a form rejection sign me up. Not the curt little bureaucratic machine of other form rejections. Still have one saved in one of my many emails...

Anne Gallagher said...

The first one is a bitch, "I'm pressed for time these days," Yeah lady who isn't? So I wouldn't want her for an agent anyway.

The second one is much better and personal. The Book was interesting and she likes your approach, but she takes the onus on herself and says she feels she couldn't represent it correctly. I've gotten one of these and she didn't use my name either, but it's not form. She took the time to type it.

The third one is another bitch. And that is a form rejection.

All of my rejections, save for two have been what Terry wrote in the comments. Even on a partial. So don't feel bad. At least yours take the time to crush you personally.

Listen, I'm still rooting for you. Querying sucks, but when they say, start the second book, they're right. You have to do something else to take your mind off querying. Now I'm working on my new WIP, I almost don't care if the other gets an agent or not. You know, it might be a good thing.

Try and find some new inspiration, try and start a new book, take a vacation from the wallowing, it sucks to wallow. I went nuts for 2 weeks. Clean your house, that's where I always find my new idea. Or build a fence.

I'm behind you, we're all behind you. YOu are not alone in this process. There're a bunch of us. Look at Roxy, she's got 42 rejections to her name. On 3 different books.

I know I sound like a lame cheerleader but I'm only trying to help. You really do need to start writing something else, it's the only way to get through the process.

Shelley Sly said...

Anne said it better than I could.

Rejections suck. I don't usually admit how many I've had, but when I queried my first book last year, I was rejected roughly 30 times. Only 2 were on a partial, the rest were on my query/sample pages. When I read my final rejection (on a partial), I realized that my book, as it was, wouldn't snag an agent.

What I've done since then:

1) Wrote an entirely new book
2) Researched agents more thoroughly (I pretty much just sent my queries out to anyone who rep'd my genre)
3) Joined the blog world and learned so much more about writing
4) Edited my first book again... and now I'm rewriting it completely

And even still, my first two books might not make it. So, I
5) Outlined a third book.

As writers, we have to just keep on going. I like Anne's idea of taking time off and finding inspiration through non-writing activities. You'll get there. It's just a process.

And we are all here with you and supporting you, don't forget that!

Mia Hayson said...

Anne totally got it right about the first one, and the second one... oh and the third one too. So basically ditto what Anne said.

Also, I don't know what it is but the third one irritates me more than the rest. I didn't immediately see that it was a form rejection (I'm naive when it comes to these things) but after looking back over it I guess that's what was really bothering me.

"Of course this is only one response, and tastes vary widely among agents. I wish you the best of luck finding the right home for your work."

The phrases are very generic... It wouldn't take a second to make the thing more personal and to show that they really did read the submission.

Ach, I'm sure they weren't the right agents for you anyway. You're hook will snag something extraordinary soon, I can taste it! (and I am well known for having a Psychic tongue) :~D

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm with Anne, too. I think one and two are personal rejections, but the third feels more like a form response. I'm not as turned off by the first one as Anne, though. I actually thought it was a pretty nice letter. :-)

Christi Goddard said...

I appreciate you guys so much. Take heart, I'm not depressed in the least by any of this anymore. I have started my second book and sometimes randomly giggle at the idea of it. My new book is much more lighthearted and comical than the last one. I needed a pickmeup.

I'm going to query my first book until the well runs dry, and by that time I might have book two done, so I might just be querying for infinity if I get a third book done while querying the second one... viscious cycle, it is.

I know these people don't know me from Eve, so I don't take it so personally. Even if they bluntly insult my writing, it's still just their opinion. I hope for success, but expect the worst. It's how I roll.

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