I’ve stated in previous blogs, that there are a lot of reasons why your manuscript was passed over, and many have nothing to do with the manuscript itself, but I thought it would be nice to hear it from an agent.
You just submitted a query for an awesome piece of work. You’ve had several agents request full manuscripts and one even gave you a call, but just like that it was over. What happened?
You may have submitted an amazing piece of work, but the submission before yours hit the ball out of the park, and the one after yours did likewise. Those two works raised the bar and affected the impact you novel had on the agent.
Maybe you presented a very well written novel, but the market is saturated with the genre you are offering. Agents may have manuscripts for the particular genre you submitted on hold for the next few seasons.
You made it to the personal phone call. Where did you go wrong? Maybe you were missing the synopsis or logline for your next novel. Agents don’t want to just sell a book, they want to represent a career. Another guess would be that you were resistant to editorial thoughts presented by the agent.
The biggest obstacle one can have in getting a novel published is quitting. If you’re going to do a little bit right, have that little bit be the fact that you don’t quit. – Barbara Poelle, agent
Something to think about.
I write a lot about perseverance, because from everything I’ve read, it’s the one characteristic all published authors have in common. They don’t give up! They take their day or two or however long they need to get over the rejection from yet another agent, and then they dust themselves off and get back to work.
Don’t take rejections personal. The agent’s/publisher’s decision is business related, and truth be known, it may have nothing to do with your manuscript. If there are no obvious flaws with your work, send it out to other agents. Just because you were rejected by one agent, doesn’t mean you will be by the next.
The New York Times best selling author of “The Help”, was rejected by 60 different agents. You read that right. Her 61st attempt was a success. The book was on the best seller list for the entire year and eventually made into a movie.
So why do books get rejected?
Maybe your manuscript just isn’t ready.
- The author can’t format, spell, and doesn’t understand grammar. The result is incomprehensible sentences that leave the reader confused, pulling them completely out of the story.
- Dragging dialogue, head hopping, poor character development, plot holes, info dumping…
- Maybe your work isn’t that bad and with competent editing, it’s publishable. Staff editors don’t have the time and sometimes don’t even have the necessary experience to clean your work up. Hire an editor before you send your manuscript out for consideration if self-editing isn’t an option.
Maybe your manuscript is ready but….
- The agent/agency has an abundance of the genre you just submitted, and they are not accepting anything new in that genre until their inventory decreases. You really weren’t a fit for what they were looking for.
- Maybe the agent/publisher reviewing your work is in such a bad mood, they would turn down Nicholas Sparks “The Notebook”, even if it was handed to them on a silver platter – twenty four did. Agents make mistakes.
- Maybe the storyline/subject matter you’re writing about isn’t selling right now. Zombie books are getting old. People want something new.
- The publisher could literally be in a cash crunch, and no matter how great your book is, they can’t purchase it right now. They have a freeze in place until some books start selling, and they can build up their reserves.
What I’m trying to say, is there are a lot of reasons books get rejected, and they may have nothing to do with your work. I’ve read more than once, that perseverance is the key.
If you have a great, publishable piece of work, don’t give up, submit it to other agencies for review. If you have less than perfect work, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Don’t expect someone to fix it for you. They won’t.
It might be time to hire that editor, but don’t give up!!!
When you write a novel, one of the things you’re probably going to experience, is the mayhem in the middle. You have a great story idea, with a great beginning and a great ending. The only problem is, you haven’t thought about what happens when you get to the middle.
Most people who fail to complete their novel, become lost in the middle. They bail when they realize they don’t have enough cool stuff to fill the pages. They may attempt to add scenes, but become bored, and know readers will be too.
Every book becomes a challenge a few chapters in. Trying to keep up the tension and pace gets harder and harder. But don’t panic or do anything rash, like give up.
What can you do? If you’re one of those people who hasn’t developed an outline, thinking it would just come to you as you muddled through, maybe you should consider backing up and doing one.
An outline to set every scene gives you a blueprint of what will happen next. If the action starts to wane, think about a subplot or introduce tension between your main characters. Maybe there was a misunderstanding, or maybe that one minor character that was suppose to be the good guy, isn’t what he appears. Maybe the butler did it, but nobody knows.
You can have so much fun with subplots. Just keep them believable and resolve them all in the end.
Hope this helped.
So you received the dreaded rejection letter. Well it was bound to happen. You are in great company and I wasn’t talking about me. If you are a writer, then rejection will be a part of your everyday life. Author David Eddings said, “If you don’t have callouses on your soul, writing isn’t for you. Take up knitting instead.” Funny but true.
When you get your rejection letter and odds are you will, treating it as an insult and allowing it to bring out the worst in you will stall your dream of becoming an Author.
Those who are successful as novelists, recover and learn from their rejection using it to motivate them to become better writers. They recognize that rejection hurts but see it as part of the process. They don’t take it personal. Writers like this do the following.
- Wallow then write – Give yourself thirty minutes or so to get the rejection out of your system then get back to the keyboard.
- Learn from the critique – Attempt to understand what you did wrong and correct your mistakes.
- Try to understand where the publisher is coming from and why your novel didn’t work.
- Remember publishing is a business and publishers are in the market to make money. It’s not personal.
I received rejection letters from four different agencies. I hated the ones that said ‘Thank you but this isn’t what we are looking for’. What do you do with that? Fortunately one saw something in my manuscript and while she said it wasn’t ready for publishing, she offered suggestions to make it better. As a matter of fact, that particular agent has offered me advice on three separate occasions. That’s why I started this blog. She informed me I needed to build a solid platform.
I took all of her suggestions to heart. I researched, took classes to make me a better writer and I started this blog to begin building a platform. If you’re not sure what that is, I have written about it in previous blogs and you can google ‘building your platform’ for more information. I recommend reading some of Michael Hyatt’s stuff. The man is very knowledgeable on the subject and easy to follow.
I hope this helped somebody. I would love to hear from you. Any comments or questions would make my day.
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