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Rejections--when is the 'perfect' time?
Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2011 8:16 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44

I've been looking for an agent for one of my mss, Venom, an eco-thriller, for almost a year. I've gotten eight partial requests (plus one from St. Martin's Press), which all fell through. No fulls or offers. In March, I've started querying those agents who passed on Venom with a new thriller, Chain Reaction, and haven't gotten  any luck.  I've gotten two partial requests--those have fell through.

But I'm sick of tired of the "I'm not the right agent", "this agency isn't a right fit", or "it's not a right fit for my list at this time" rejections. Are you? My question is, when is the perfect time to hit them? I still have more agents to go through, as I consider epublishing like Ellora's Cave this summer. I need a break-through. Is it me or my genres?

 I also write romantic suspense. But it's not ready yet. I hope to have two more mss ready by mid-September to try again, if I haven't landed an agent. I even requeried two agents--one for Venom (last fall, she told me, that if I don't have an agent in a few months, to try her again, since she almost put me in the maybe pile, and was accepting nonfiction then)--and one for Chain Reaction (she wanted rewrite of chapter one with her suggestions). I've requeried in March. No word yet.

Anyone have any advice? BTW, I'll post both mss here, when I have fixed my short story, one more time. So be on the look out for it, this summer.

Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2011 4:46 AM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 46

Personally, I think this would be a good time for eco-thrillers, though the market might be smaller for them than for traditional political thrillers.

Not being familiar with your works, I can only ask basic questions:
-Has the book been through a number of beta readers (both readers of the genres and individuals with novel construction experience or expertise)? Are there any areas of concern that might direct you in a good revision?
-How many agents have you queried? That many requests doesn't look like a fluke. If I had eight requests, I doubt I'd consider shelving a novel until I'd gotten 50+ rejections.
-Was Venom your first novel? Has your writing substantially improved since you wrote it? Sometimes it's better to move on to a new work than keep picking apart and putting together an older work.

Only you know when to shelve a project, but keep trying. Those rejections won't mean anything when you get an offer of representation. Keep working and, if necessary, reinventing.

Good luck!
Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2011 4:22 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44

HJakes, thanks for your response. To answer your questions,
Venom's been through some beta readers, including some author friends for feedback, and my mom. It has also been through some online forums too in its earliest stages. As for the areas of concern, I'm stripping some of the romantic element away, since an agent said it looked like Romantic suspense. I'm also fixing it up and adding some more intensity. Not really rewriting it, just tightening it.
As for how many agents, lots. Right now I've queried over 200 agents in a year and have gotten over 100 rejections. Yes, Venom was my first novel I queried, since last August. It has improved, when a fellow author friend who's helping me out, said it was better than original.

As for Chain Reaction, no beta readers. But one agent suggested a R and R. I still haven't heard back from her. Areas of concern was just the first chapter to slow chase down and add more of main character's background as a human. I've gotten a third partial recently this week, (same agent who asked for 2-week exclusive for Venom, and later turned it down). As for agents, it's around 150 with almost 100 Rs. It has improved a bit. This is first Nano ms, but 2nd to query.

Does this help? I'm thinking of joining Backspace for feedback and RWA this fall. I'm also a member of a local writers group and read a chapter from Venom per meeting.
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 7:02 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Kristen -

There is no "right" time of year to query an agent. There are no tricks to getting an agent's attention. What matters to an agent is always the writing.

If you're getting a lot of requests for partials, but no follow-up requests for fulls, my first thought is that the first 50 pages probably aren't grabbing a reader the way they need to, and you still have a bit of work to do before your manuscript is ready.


Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2011 10:00 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44

Hi Colleen.

Believe me, I've revamped the first 20-50 pages many times. I've been getting partials and nothing past it. I even revamped my queries many times. I didn't meant what time of year to query, but when is the perfect time to query them? When their list isn't full or looking for a new client. I know you were a former agent. So maybe some insight would be great. Both of my mss have been revamped from first page to the end. Ugh!
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 4:22 AM
Joined: 3/4/2011
Posts: 11

I know the feeling very well. To be told "it just didn't grab me the way I was hoping" is one of the most disheartening things to read from an agent. I just got those words sent to me today, and I'm still a bit rattled by it. I'm pushing forward on my second book, which exists in a very different genre, but the litany of latest rejections has me wondering if I should take more time to revamp my first major manuscript yet again. And if I do, is it appropriate to try and get those agents to give it another try? I'm thinking not, as you really only get one in this business, but it never hurts to ask.
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:34 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

From what I've heard from agents, if they've rejected a manuscript, they don't want to see that same manuscript again -- unless they specifically mention that possibility in the rejection letter. If you want to send another query to an agent you've already submitted to, you'd want it to be for a second book.
Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2011 3:09 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 44

Thanks Blue Ink and Marie for your answers. It does make sense to me in a way.

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