1. Bocere
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    Bocere Member

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    Traditional On rejection...

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Bocere, Sep 30, 2015.

    I know rejection's a part of the game here. I'm not opposed to receiving rejection (nor do I enjoy it...but I mean does anyone?) I'm just looking for some feedback on what is normal in this industry, and what might be an indication that I'm trying to market something that is either not up to snuff or just plain old unmarketable.

    I'm trying to go the traditional route and have been querying agents... so far haven't gotten past the first gatekeeper! 10 rejections and counting without any feedback or requests for more material :meh: I've been very careful to follow the submission guidelines for each agent to the letter and have written personalized queries to each one.

    I'm sure my query summary must need work, I try to re-evaluate and either edit or rewrite a bit after each round of "no"s, but I guess at the core of it my question is... is this normal, or is this a red flag that something in my concept/query/story is fatally flawed?

    I know there are outliers where someone receives a hundred or more rejections before becoming a bestseller but I'm assuming those are the exceptions, not the rule, and I know it's chasing heartbreak to assume you'll be the exception!

    Any opinions/experiences are welcomed and appreciated!

    Many thanks! :)
     
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  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Well Stephanie Meyer was turned down by 14 agents before she caught a break. And Rowling was turned down by 12. So you haven't hit the magic number yet. Ted Geisel was declined by 47 agents, so I would call that your ceiling.

    I would also recommend re-writing between submissions, just in case there's a reason you can fix in the transition period. That's actually counter to advice from say, Heinlein, but I'm not sure I would measure myself against that author.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide!
     
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  3. Bocere
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    Bocere Member

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    Well there is hope remaining then, so that's good :)

    At this point I wouldn't even mind another rejection if it just came along with some feedback so I had a starting place to fix whatever it is (whether it's in my letter or my actual novel) that is broken! Currently feels a little like yelling into an endless pit filled only with form letters haha.

    Thank you so much for the insight!
     
  4. Dmitriy
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    Dmitriy New Member

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    I have 41 rejections now.
    From ~ 160 queries.
    The last one inform me "publishers want 100k+ words fantasy novels at present time". I have only 80...
     
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  5. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm submitting flash fiction right now. I'm looking forward to getting 100 rejections. I wonder if I'll have any acceptances by the time I get there.
     
  6. ADreamer
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    ADreamer Banned Sock-Puppet

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    The only author worth something of those three is the author of Dr. Seuss, the others are poor in comparison - why either got any fame is, I suppose, merely a reflection on the readers & audience.

    The question is, what are you trying to pitch? Is it a book that has been written 100 times over and very similar in theme to any of the ten dozen versions already out there? Publishers don't want to waste their time - it is utterly that simple. If they think it won't sell, then they won't even bother reading the intro.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I rewrite in between submissions if I get specific comments from an editor as to why something was rejected, and I agree with the comments. It has been successful - one story I got a nice comment from an editor along with a specific criticism that led him not to buy it. I rewrote that portion and it sold on the next submission.

    And yes, the number of successful authors who received many rejections is high. You just keep plugging away if you want to go that route, though I think it makes more sense for beginning authors to choose a hybrid strategy than put all of their eggs in the traditional basket.
     
  8. Tim3232
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    Tim3232 Active Member

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    I'm on 16 rejections with my current work. I've had one with some nice comments and that's it - I consider that a minor success. The odds of even getting asked for a full ms are slim, so i set my expectations low.
     
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  9. Robert Musil
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    Robert Musil Contributing Member

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    Could you elaborate on what you mean by a "hybrid" strategy? Self-publishing, publishing for free to get your name out there, or what?
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say pick the works that you want to pursue traditional publishing with, if you want to go that route, then get other high quality fiction out there, for sale, via Amazon by self-publishing. Seems to me to be the smartest route for new writers. But you need quality work, editing, professional covers, etc.
     
  11. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In between submissions? Are you not supposed to submit to more than one place at a time?
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on the market. A lot of places don't take simultaneous submissions.
     
  13. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    It's normal for it to be difficult to find the right agent or publisher to represent your work. Part of that difficult process is rejection - but you seem to be dealing with it in a very positive way; by taking the opportunity to improve and polish your work.
     
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  14. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    And yet both Meyer and Rowling wrote immensely successful series, and made quite a bit of money doing so. I'd say that counts for something, regardless of what you think about their actual writing.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Quite a bit, actually. If your goal is to engage a large number of readers, it's hard to beat them.
     
  16. ADreamer
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    ADreamer Banned Sock-Puppet

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    I thought when I put down - it being a reflection on the readers & audience - was rather easy to follow. My mistake.

    50 Shades of Sh*t was also very successful and the writing style is that of a 12th grader. If that is what you are wanting to achieve - all the power to you. I was writing better than that when I was twelve.


    ... You mustn't read very much then.

    Only Rowling [107 million] has ever made the prestigious above 100 million copies per book list and only for one book. Tolkien himself sold over 100 million copies for both Hobbit [140.6 million] & LOTR [150 million]. Dickens for Tale of Two Cities [200 million].

    In all actually compared to some of the classics - or the good authors - they haven't made peanuts. Both only made money through the flicks - the books were garbage for value in comparison.

    And obviously Steerpike you've never heard - it's quality over quantity. It all you are aiming for is quantity than you're selling yourself short as a good author.
     
  17. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    @ADreamer, do you mean to be so rude?
     
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  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Do a bit of looking around the forum at who you're responding to, and I think you'll quickly find that it's not worth the effort. Make use of your "ignore" feature and watch the apparent collective IQ of the forum rise significantly :D
     
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  19. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fact of the matter is that their work got published. And they got published because a publisher thought they would sell. That publisher was correct, and I bet some of those agents who turned Rowling and Meyer down are kicking themselves to this day. That was part of your original point, was it not? That publishers made their accept/reject decisions based on whether they thought the work would sell or not. They don't care so much if it's "true art" or not, so long as they can make a profit.

    I find the fact that you're comparing sales between authors that have had published work out for quite some time to ones who have had their work out for much less time to be rather amusing. That's quite the manipulation of statistics. And of course they made a great deal of money through movies and various other forms of media.

    Need I remind you that quality is subjective? Apparently I do. There is a very short list of things people would universally consider bad writing, but past that it's a question of personal taste. I may not like Meyer's work, but I can recognize that others do.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Not only that, in Meyer's case, a lot of publishers knew ahead of time that it was going to sell, which is why there was a bidding war and she got $3/4 million in advance, which is a lot for anyone, much less an unknown first-time author. Given that the technical ability of the writing is competent but nothing spectacular, I think it goes to show that if your main consideration is commercial success, technical writing ability takes a back seat to other factors, such as general storytelling, the ability to engage readers, and so on.

    On the other hand, if you want literary awards then writing something like Twilight is not the route to go.
     
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  21. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quality is not entirely subjective. Some people have more developed tastes just like some people have more developed ahleticism or intellectual capacity. Most children's literature would not meet the criteria for adult literature because children's literature has dumbed down standards. This is because children have less capability (generally speaking) than adults.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  22. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It occurs to me, after looking again at your query letter thread, that your query is mostly about countries, and just barely touches on your MC. I think that to get that "Ooh, I want to read this" vibe, you need more about the MC.
     
  23. thelonelyauthorblog
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    thelonelyauthorblog New Member

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    you have to view this rejection as a positive since you received some feedback. That is a definite plus. Good luck.
     
  24. thelonelyauthorblog
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    thelonelyauthorblog New Member

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    This is a very difficult process (and it can be very disheartening). Most agents reply with a worthless form letter so it is difficult to know to know what your work or presentation lacked. Coincidentally, I wrote about the rejection process today on my blog. Stay positive and don't quit. Rejection is part of the process. Good luck.
     
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  25. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I understand why agents only have time to issue a form letter but they shoot themselves in the foot. If they gave even a sentence or two of the real reason it was rejected, people's submissions would get better over time.
     
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