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  1. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    Rejected! Now what?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Hublocker, Mar 14, 2019.

    Got a note today:


    "I read your m/s and have to decline. It was too technical for me in its
    present state with a lot of the action being conveyed in a Q&A format -
    this makes the writing rather pedestrian and obvious. You need to find
    less obvious ways to convey what is happening to the reader.
    Hope this helps, and I hope you continue to work on it."


    At least he read my novel. I've never even showed more than a couple chapters to others.

    I don't know what to do now. I'm 70,000 words into a new project.

    I'm not even sure what he means or how to fix what he sees as the main flaw.

    I don't feel like rewriting a book I thought I finished four years ago.
     
  2. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I’d write a short story, polish it, get comments from a dozen writers, rewrite the short story, get comments, polish it again, then look at the novel to see if your tastes have changed.
     
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  3. LazyBear

    LazyBear Senior Member

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    If it's done then you can move on with your next exercise. Maybe your tenth book will be worth selling. Just close your eyes and imagine what some character experienced with all senses until you've found your next theme. Get quick feedback on pilot chapters to set the pace and steer in the right direction. Practice with short stories to learn wrapping things up at the end. Read a book in the same genre while analyzing what makes it good or bad.
     
  4. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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    "A" rejection? You're worried about A (one single) rejection? In my first incarnation as a would-be writer I had a red desk with a drawer on the lower left where I kept my rejection letters. I promised myself that I would stop just as soon as the drawer would no longer close. One day, I found that it would no longer open and I though that was close enough so I stopped. Skipping ahead nearly forty years. The desk is long since gone but I started up my foolishness again. Press onward, ever onward! You have years of disappointment yet to come!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  5. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    I'm 65
     
  6. Reece

    Reece Active Member

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    Have you had any beta readers?
     
  7. XRD_author

    XRD_author Banned Supporter

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    No reason you can't query other agents with the book.
    Agents disagree a lot on what books should be published.
     
  8. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    Nope. Who would do that ?
     
  9. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    OP here. I've only recently got into writing fiction again. I wrote three novels in the 1980s but got a journalism job in 1990 and only retired last year. That sucked the fiction writing mojo out of me for nearly 28 years. I needed the time off for family and other pursuits.

    Anyway, I did submit one ms to an agent in 1988 and she turned it down, but she was friends of friends and lived in the neighbourhood so we had a chance to talk face-to-face about it. She said my alcoholic private detective was a cliched figure (he was) and the story not that interesting. Okay fair enough.

    But being business-minded (Well, I guess that's what agents are supposed to be) she reminded me that publishers usually lose money on a first novel and want to get involved with someone young enough and promising enough to stick with and get them more widely known and make money for everyone with subsequent books. I got the hint that she was telling me that I was over the hill. And I was 35!



    I have had rejection letters and or notes dating back 40 years. Nowadays they don't even bother with that. They can't seem to afford a slip of paper and a stamp. You just email a manuscript off into the ozone and if you don't hear from them in 2 or 3 months, that means they are not interested.

    Let me tell you what happened last year:

    A publisher had my manuscript for over two months and I didn't hear back from them.

    They had acknowledged receipt of the ms so I had the editor's name. I emailed her numerous times asking her if her decision was Yay or Nay with no response at all.

    Therefore I looked her up on Facebook and sure enough, there she was, so I sent her a pm on Facebook.

    Well Holy Smoke!!!! You should have seen the response. I should have saved it. She said that I was conducting entirely inappropriate and offensive behaviour and that I had no business at all contacting her on Facebook and that I must never ever contact her again like that. She effectively accused me of stalking her.

    Well, shortly after that she sent me an email from the office saying yes, she had rejected the book, reminding me that she had said in her responding letter that if I didn't hear from her in two months, then they weren't interested. She added that it was not permitted to contact editors personally.

    To be honest , they had published two of a friend's books in a similar vein (West Coast Canada boat-based mystery/thriller) and I was convinced that my book was as good as his and that they'd surely accept it. I might have been a little overconfident and wanted to know for sure yes or no before proceeding to pitch it elsewhere. I had as asked in their requirements, offered it to them as an exclusive submission.

    As far as contacting her on FB, well, I was a journalist for 28 years; I know how to find people, and besides, when you post your name, your photo, holiday and family pics on FB, it's hardly a secret is it?

    Anyway, immediately after that she removed herself from Facebook.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  10. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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    If you're confident in your work there is always self publishing. Audio books are growing in their market share but they can be expensive to produce. Why don't you post the first chapter to the workshop here? Maybe, get a fresh perspective.
     
  11. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    I've had 16 agents/publishers reject me over the last year, and those are the ones that responded.

    None of them gave feedback. All responses were automated. If your agent gave you the feedback you've described, that's a good sign.

    From your OP it sounds like you only sent it to the one agent? If it's not right for him, you've got two options.

    1. Rewrite it to suit that one specific, particular agent and try again. And again. And then rewrite it again. Maybe in 86 years you'll have the book he wants.

    2. Send it to other agents?

    Take the criticism positively and work from it, but if you've only sent it to one agent and you're basing everything off that feedback? If everyone agrees with him, sure, it needs re-writing. But you don't know that they do.

    We don't either, we don't know the book. This is why beta readers are a good idea. They'll tell you if you've got the next Carrie or a pile of stinking nothing, and they'll tell you whether it's ready.

    ETA: in this vein, I'd agree with @exweedfarmer it's probably a good idea to post a sample on here and see what people think in general.
     
  12. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    Contacting people on their private social media if it's for a professional reason is not okay. You should've use her work e-mail, work phone number or whatever work related means of contacting her you had. If she wouldn't answer - then you should not go after her privately, that would scare most people!

    It's not that it's secret, it's that Facebook for most people is a place for friends, family and people you know well. She probably never had problem with a person with you before, so she had no reason to keep her profile private.

    For your first post: either ignore the first agent and send it off to the next - or figure out why your writing is "too technical" and why your action is conveyed in a "Q&A" format!

    If you decide to fix your writing you could either do it to the old one - or use the feedback to make the new one better before you send it off. Also - have someone read it before you send it off so you can get some feedback from someone who have time to actually critique it in a way a possible agent wouldn't have.
     
  13. Reece

    Reece Active Member

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    There is a group on Goodreads that you can join https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50920-beta-reader-group

    You can post and let people know a little about your book and swap services. That way you can get some diverse perspectives and see what kind of tweaks need to be made. There are also people who will do it for pay if you don't want to swap with anyone. There are other places online to find betas, but this is what I've been using.
     
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  14. David irvine

    David irvine New Member

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    I recently used Amazon to self-publish. I didn't even try to get a publisher involved. They have some really great tools to get your book up and running. You can even use their book cover software to create the perfect finish. It's been an exciting journey thus far. I have already sold over 2o copies in the space of two weeks.

    Why use a publisher? The future is digital and instant purchasing...
     
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  15. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    In terms of "Why use a publisher?" I'd say your main reasons are probably better sales, better promotion and (shamelessly) validation.

    Knowing that your book will reach a wider market and people out there will actually read it is something that's just incredible to me. I might reach a few people on Amazon but will I ever feel like I've made a difference with what I've written?

    This is completely just my opinion and how I personally feel, and I know everyone feels different. In no way am I knocking self-publishing, just saying there are definitely reasons to go traditional.
     
  16. David irvine

    David irvine New Member

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    It's all perspective however, what will a publisher do that you can't do yourself these days? You can put the book on all buying platforms including Google Play, Amazon or itunes,

    You can advertise yourself using their promotion and marketing programmes. You can also use Google search marketing. If you understand digital marketing you can send press release information to online blogs and magazines. I think the only thing a publisher can do is shop placement or organise a book signing. I've read about plenty of self-published authors who have a made a small fortune.

    Anyway, best of luck with your writing...
     
  17. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'm not clear who "he" is - agent, or publisher?

    Either way, there are more of both out there. It'd be pretty rare to hear of an author who has never received a single rejection.
     
  18. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If this is specific feedback on what this person thinks is 'wrong,' I reckon you'd be doing yourself no favours to ignore it—even if you don't feel like rewriting the story. Maybe get some feedback (even here on the forum) on how to convey information without using the Q & A method. Sounds to me as if maybe you're trying to tell your story via too much dialogue? And maybe your information is, indeed 'too technical' for a fiction reader to absorb.

    I'd take those two things and work on them, if I were you. There are two parts to getting a story out there. One part consists of you, the writer, putting down what you want to say, and the other part consists of whether or not your readers get it. There is often quite a gap which you can work to bridge.
     
  19. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    Publisher
     
  20. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Get readers?

    I know it's appealing to assume that reputation and professional skills and experience mean nothing, but a lot of appealing thoughts aren't true.
     
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  21. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    The fact that you got a personal reply with specific critiques of all or part of the manuscript is a strong positive. Continue on. The average agent gets 400 queries a month, and picks around ten PER YEAR to push for publication. So a lot of rejection has to do with what is on the agent's plate when your query hits. Use querytracker.org to locate agents and agencies, their websites and criteria and count on getting a hundred or more rejects before the big one hits. Look on it as fishing.
     
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  22. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Most big publishers want novels to be submitted via agents, so it may be time to look for an agent?
     
  23. Flummi

    Flummi Member

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    Hi
    what's Q & A method?
     
  24. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    I wish I knew.

    I believe he meant that a lot of my "action" is actually people talking about it.
     
  25. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    I read your m/s and have to decline. It was too technical for me in its
    present state with a lot of the action being conveyed in a Q&A format -
    this makes the writing rather pedestrian and obvious. You need to find
    less obvious ways to convey what is happening to the reader.
    Hope this helps, and I hope you continue to work on it."


    I thought he kind of meant:

    'But how will we penetrate the black hole to reach the outer dimension, skipper?'

    Carson flicked the switch on the superboosters.

    They were free, yes, free into the Keiper Belts of Aries Aurora, but with meteorites hurtling toward the defensive shields, survival horizons were limited. Carson reached to his console, flicking the shooter bazookas from the auto to manual guidance. He grinned.

    ....
     
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