1. Tanpoponoko
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    Tanpoponoko New Member

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    Queries/Submissions Confused about publisher who requested a full

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Tanpoponoko, Oct 3, 2013.

    So in May of this year I submitted a query to a publisher, and one of the editors requested to read the full manuscript within hours of my email. I was delighted, of course, and formatted the manuscript to their qualifications , and sent it on its merry way.

    Five months later, all there has been is silence. So I decided to send a very short, polite follow-up email, fearing it might be pushy, but I just had to know. I'm a new writer, so maybe getting my first book published would be a big deal.

    A week later there hasn't been a reply to that follow-up email. Do I just assume that this offer is dead in the water? Do publishers usually not reply after reading a full? I should note that it's a relatively small, independent press. I figured they would send a rejection, or reply to my follow-up at the very least.

    Help me out here?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how long do their guidelines say they normally take to reply?... the rule of thumb is to add a month or two to that before bugging agents or publishers...

    a week after the email isn't much... but have you checked out this publisher to see if it has a reputation for taking forever to respond?... or to see if it's gone out of business [a definite possibility!]?

    all that aside, the ridiculously quick request for a full ms after an email from a new and unknown writer is a red flag to me... what is the name of this publisher?

    did you check them out on p&e first?
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Check Preditors and Editors (the P&E that Maia referred to). If they haven't asked for money, that's a good sign. The quick reply, I agree, a bad sign. Taking months to get back, normal from what I hear.
     
  4. Tanpoponoko
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    Tanpoponoko New Member

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    There was nothing about how long they take to get back to authors, but they seem very legit. I did a thorough check about them after they requested and I only heard good things and good reports from authors who'd worked with them. I follow them on Facebook, and they have an active community. I think they're a relatively new bunch, as well, which means they haven't had time to get very established, but they seem to produce good material. They are http://bloodboundbooks.net/bloodboundbooks/
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  5. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Then there's no problem. It is a bit weird that they asked for it so quickly (although having said that, I've sent out query letters to legitimate agencies that can get back to you within a week, be that acceptance or rejection), but if as you say there's an active community and such, my best advice is to be patient. As Ginger said, it isn't unknown for an agency to get back to you within months, and a week after a follow-up email isn't long. I'd wait at least another couple of weeks to a month before moving on and accepting they're probably not interested.

    Hope this helps. :)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i find it odd that they want mss as short as 10-25k and only up to 60k...

    checking their books on amazon, i find they're mostly e-publications, with a few p/bs [the 60ks, i assume]...

    is that really the company you want your book to be keeping, tan?
     
  7. Tanpoponoko
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    Tanpoponoko New Member

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    Do you know of anywhere else that would take a young, previously unpublished writer? I'd be happy to submit anywhere at this point if you're aware of other places that would be interested in someone like me, but all the agents I've submitted to won't touch me. Right now I'm looking for any avenue to get established in. I know my book's good, and I've got the Publisher's Weekly review to prove it... but that doesn't change the fact that most good agents and publishers won't take a second look at me since I am essentially nobody at this point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, stop harping on being young, as no one you're querying will know you are if you don't tell them... and you'd be foolish to do so...

    in answer to that question, many, if not most agents would happily take on any previously unpublished writer who has a well-written, highly marketable book to offer them... so, if your queries have been rejected, the fault must lie either in the query itself, or the summary of the book you want them to represent, not the fact that you've not yet been published...

    how many are 'all' those agents who won't touch you?
    how many of them were told your age?

    post your query letter here and i'll tell you if that could be the problem...

    then, there's this:
    if your book is out there on the internet already, in some form [e-book?], why would any agent be interested in trying to sell a book to publishers when it can be read for free?
     
  9. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are a number of places that do not require agents to submit to them (dark fiction/fantasy). Most of them are small presses such as the one you selected to send your work to, Tanpoponoko. The with larger publishers that do, expect a very long wait in the slush pile. Even with the smaller ones, this may be the case, and not every small press is created equal.

    As others have suggested, looking into publishers via Preditors and Editors and elsewhere, and checking to see how other published works are doing is a wise idea. Using the 'look inside' feature on Amazon, can give you a good idea for the quality of writing and editing of authors published with a press and, if a full manuscript is accepted, getting a print copy of a novel from that publisher, to see the quality (cover art/binding/story/layout/editing, etc.) is important. Being associated with a publisher can be a benefit or it can prove detrimental to a writer's career. One place to look for markets that accept dark fiction (including fantasy, horror and SF) would be Ralan's Webstravaganza. I won't post a hyperlink but you can manage it from Ralan dot com.

    The publisher in question is closing to submissions on Oct. 31. This may be a factor in how quickly they well decide upon who they will publish. Most publishers have a limited # of manuscripts they can publish each year. Consider time to edit newly accepted manuscripts while working with and marking published works, and having limited funds for cover art, printing (especially if they do offset printing) and the like for new works accepted.

    Good luck as you move forward.
     
  10. Tanpoponoko
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    Tanpoponoko New Member

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    It's not on the internet at all, I won the review by PW by entering it in a contest.

    I've sent it to about 13 agents.

    I've told none of them about my age, I don't include that in my query, which I've posted below:

    "(I put a specialized message to each agent here) My name is ---- and I have written a 67,000-word dark fantasy novel called “Unreal City” and I hope you will consider it.
    Sarah Wilkes would do anything to escape the tragedy that her life has become; even make a deal with the devil-- or in her case, a Familiar Spirit. Since the gruesome murder of her twin sister Lea several months before, Sarah's whole world stopped making sense. However, when college starts, she still decides to inhabit the dorm room she and Lea were supposed to have shared. Once she arrives, it doesn’t take her long to realize that she’s being stalked by a cat-like creature who reveals himself to be a Familiar Spirit.

    Once Sarah gathers the courage to follow him into the woods and confront him, he offers her a deal: in exchange for food (and by food, he means parts of her body) he will transport her to a surreal place Sarah comes to know as Unreal City. Here, all of her desires are made real-- if only for a short amount of time. Inside this dream world, she is given a "Garden" where she can control everything about the world around her with a mere thought. Each section of the City is shared between Sarah and 11 others, each with their own Familiar and Garden to rule. Some are amiable, some are malicious, and some are stricken with deep madness.


    However, she did not anticipate the hellish consequences this momentary euphoria would bring after she wakes— nor did she predict that her sister's death was more than just the senseless killing it seemed to be. Her reality and sanity becomes more warped day by day, and a string of murders gets closer to her. Can Sarah solve the mystery and retain her sanity long enough to stop the evil that is descending into her life?


    I am a substitute teacher, a graduate of University of California Santa Barbara in English, as well as a fantasy/steampunk author of a self-published series that will available soon. “Unreal City” was recently named a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Publisher’s Weekly’s review of this novel said that, “This intriguing dark fantasy blends some traditional genre tropes into a fresh and enticing tale…. The emotional transformation that shadows Sarah’s metaphysical journey to the Unreal City is definitely satisfying enough to keep readers engaged." I look forward to hearing back from you,


    [Name/contact information]"
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the problem is most likely the poorly written and overlong [summary should be a single paragraph, not 3] query letter... mistakes such as the missing 'be' in 'that will available soon' and a scattering of other goofs and glitches made by one who claims to be a teacher [of english?] will not impress any agent in a positive way, or lead them to believe you capable of turning out a marketable ms...

    add to that the fatal mistakes of asking a question in the summary, then mentioning self-published books, and i can see why you have not gotten any requests for the ms or sample chapters...

    as for the 'young writer' part, since you're a college graduate, i wouldn't say that = 'young'...
     
  12. graphospasm
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    graphospasm Senior Member

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    "My name is ---- and I have written a 67,000-word dark fantasy novel called “Unreal City” and I hope you will consider it."

    You opening sentence tastes like a run-on. Change that last "and" to a period and your opening won't read like a marathon, although even with that change it feels a little wooden.

    "Sarah Wilkes would do anything to escape the tragedy that her life has become
    ; even make a deal with the devil--or in her case, a Familiar Spirit."

    Similarly, your opening line of summary is a bit melodramatic/cliche. Don't a ton of YA novels (especially "dark," supernatural YA novels) hinge upon the protagonist suffering some sort of tragedy? I think the answer is "yes," but claiming that your MC's life is one gigantic tragedy seems self-indulgent. Furthermore, you've misused that semicolon. It should be a comma. As mammamaia mentioned, a publisher won't be impressed by a teacher misusing a semicolon.

    Definitely mention your PW review. I might be emboldened to a fault, but I'd even go so far as to mention it sooner in your letter--maybe even in your first paragraph, which I'd probably make into a kind of teaser for the summary. You need an effective hook to grab an agent/publisher's attention. Right now your opening reads generic.

    If you'd like, I (and I'm sure many other members of this forum) would be happy to give your letter a good scrubbing. This public forum just might not be the place to do it, as there is a particular forum meant for query letter critique. PM me if you'd like to chat! :)

     
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  13. Tanpoponoko
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    Tanpoponoko New Member

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    Thanks for the input, I'll try reworking the query. I actually hadn't put a semicolon there to begin with, but another English teacher I worked with insisted that I did and I took his word for it-- oops...

    If it's okay, Graphosphasm, I'll PM you later after I write it again and see if it works better. Thanks again.

    And sadly today I got news back from the publisher, and they passed on the novel. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
     
  14. graphospasm
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    graphospasm Senior Member

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    Write me any time! Sorry about the bad news. Getting a snowstorm of rejections is a right of passage for all authors, though, so if nothing else know that this is normal. Weather the snowstorm with pride!
     
  15. graphospasm
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    graphospasm Senior Member

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    OH MY GOD. *Rite* of passage. Wtf, me?
     
  16. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Editors are not saying no because you're young. They don't know your age. They're not saying no because you're unpublished. They rejecy your work because they have a story that their readers will like better. It's a fair competition, and thousands of new writers are published every year. So if you're not selling your work don't look for someone with lower standards. Work on improving the quality by learning the techniques the pros take for granted, but which we don't learn in our primary education. Makes a lot more sense.

    Something to think about. Let's assume that the people who were unimpressed by that punlisher's stories are right, and they're not the greatest. How does their publishing you help your career? They can't place your work in the local bookstores, and there aren't many people saying, "I wonder what Bloodbound books put out this month." And even if they did, after the first month you're no longer on the new list and the only people who will see that book's page are those you manage to send there.

    So you'd be published in a technical sense, but it means nothing at all to an agent or publisher that a house they don't respect took your book. In fact, if sales are poor, and they probably will be, given the situation, it can look as if you'd be a poor risk to a publisher checking up on you.

    Here's one way to check for yourself:

    Check the sales rankings on Amazon for their individual titles. See where the books released in the past few months fall. If they're greater than 250,000 from the top, while they're still new, no one is buying, because if you sell a single copy you drop to about 40,000 from the top. It takes weeks of no sales to fall to #250,000. Older books may drop to the bottom because those who are going to buy them already have. But if it happens in the first year that speaks to the quality of the product and the editing.

    I looked at several of their offerings and I'll be kind and say I wasn't impressed.
     
  17. Tanpoponoko
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    Tanpoponoko New Member

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    Well, they rejected me so it's not really a problem anymore hahah... I'll try and shoot higher next time. I just hope I can find another home for my novel, or an agent who believes in me. Goodness knows I'm going to try my best for it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i mentor aspiring writers and will be happy to take a look at your first chapter and your query letter, to provide a detailed assessment of the quality of the writing and suggestions on how to improve it, if necessary...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  19. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @Tanpoponoko - you might be interested in this list. It's a list of big publishers who take unsolicited manuscripts - they only do so on particular days and a lot of them are in Australia, so you gotta be careful with the time zones, but it's worth a shot: http://writingsbylisamcronkhite.blogspot.cz/2013/09/big-publishers-accepting-unagented-ya.html

    Your query does come across as overly long. Ditch the biographical paragraph - agents don't care that you're an English teacher, means nothing. And don't mention your self-pub series unless you've got millions of sales (in which case, mention the sales, or your Amazon ranking, or something that shows your series' popularity). Self-pub works are still stigmatised, whether legitimately so or not, and many agents don't take self-pub works seriously (again, unless you have whooping sales to prove your worth). The fact that your series isn't even available yet makes mentioning it completely pointless and worthless, and definitely shows you up as being an amateur rather than just an individual's subjective sense of what constitutes a good query.

    I understand that you've changed a lot about the story summary now (and I've commented on that thread, as you know) - however, even in this original, I see the same problem as I pointed out in your newer version. The connection between the deaths and Sarah's choice is absolutely non-existent. You simply MUST show us how they connect. What's Sarah's choice of either staying or leaving Unreal City got to do with the deaths that are happening around her? It seems you have an excellent premise, and then you through in a grave mystery - but it doesn't read like a story because I'm not seeing how it all connects. You've connected Sarah with the Familiar, and you've connected the deaths with Lea's death, both excellent. Now connect Sarah's choice with the deaths - show me what's really at stake here.
     

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