Rejection, rejection, rejection...

Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by deadrats, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Not sure where else to post this, but I just wanted to say, for those of you submitting novels - if the agent writes in their website or email that you should follow up after X amount of time if they don't respond, please, FOLLOW UP.

    The first time with a publisher who'd requested a full - I had silence for 10 months before I thought, screw it I'm gonna email them even if it makes them hate me. Waiting 10 months was long enough lol. Of course the book was rejected, but because of the follow up, they said I can submit again and directly address the editor when my next piece was ready. When time came to submit, I wrote them to clarify: Should I wait for the next open door submission, as they don't take unsolicited submissions, or submit now? Got a reply back 2 days later to submit now, even though I'd missed the open door submission by several months, and rather than the typical 3 chapter sample, they wanted the full right away. (I mean, the email said to "send the manuscript" - I apologised in the email in case I'd misunderstood, but I sent the full book)

    The second time is with an agent. When I first submitted (this same book I just sent the publisher above), I got a reply back to follow up in 2 weeks if I don't hear back. I waited 3 weeks and by then had got 4 form rejections, and I'd got some good but troubling feedback from a debut author who'd read the first 100 pages - anyway, basically I was feeling like I should scrap the book altogether. I sent the agent an email to follow up because, well, why not, right? He did say 2 weeks. I'd waited 3 already, so you can't say I wasn't patient in that sense.

    I followed up, got an email apologising and saying he was just busy and will reply by Tue. On Tue I got a request for the full - he even said he doesn't normally enjoy my sub-genre (urban fantasy) but he's enjoying mine. It was a 6-chapter sample. On Wed I got an email from him at 9.30am saying he's downloading it right now to his Kindle lol. He said he'll get back to me within 7 days (so next Wed).

    So please, guys, FOLLOW UP!!! All this stuff about not bothering agents isn't very good advice it seems :D (of course, don't follow up with agents who clearly state "Please assume you're not successful if you don't hear back) But if they don't say that, or if they specifically say please follow up - it's worth following up! Both times I got apologies telling me they were just busy (the publisher had thought they'd got back to me already but hadn't).

    Anyway... Am I right to think this agent sounds pretty excited about my book? How can you tell if he's just like "Hey I like this, send it over" or if he's like "WOW I love this I can't wait!!!"

    I'm now making myself nervous thinking fuck what if he doesn't like the rest of it - what if he doesn't like the turn of events? The character changes sides and the villain gets a bit creepy lol. Did he really read 6 chapters before requesting the full? :ohno: I'm just trying to gauge how excited I should be... what are my chances. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL WEDNESDAY MAN THIS IS KILLING ME!!!!
     
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  2. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Senior Member

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    Also- I was published in a Christmas anthology recently. The Publisher said on their Twitter that they had some interviews up with some of their authors and to let them know if any other of their authors wanted an interview. I decided to volunteer to boost my profile. The interview went very well and the editor raves about my writing, which was lovely. During the interview I mentioned a story I’d been having trouble with, and she offered to take a look for me. I also mentioned I was writing a novel about mental illness and she said they have a call next year for mental illness novels and she’d love me to submit. The next day I had an email from the aquisitions editor at that publishers saying they want to publish more LGBTQ+ novels and asking if I would send them some chapters. I said the mental illness novel I had mentioned was quite unfinished but that I had another LGTBQ+ novel finished and she’s asked to see both! Probably nothing will come of it, but it’s nice to have the opportunity anyway and perhaps I’ll get useful feedback if nothing else.
     
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  3. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Senior Member

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    Best of luck! Wednesday will come soon enough.
     
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  4. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh wow that sounds amazing!! You gotta let us know how it goes! :D

    As for my book, on the off chance that the agent likes it, what do you do with the agents who haven't got back to you? Of course I'm probably just gonna get rejected.
     
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  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    @Mckk and @Woodstock Writer -- I think that's great news for both of you! Fingers crossed and keep us posted.
     
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  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    The agent game is a little different than submitting to the journals. If the agent offers you representation, you can tell them you will get back to them in a week or something like that. During that time you contact the other agents still considering your work and tell them you've been offered representation and that you told that agent you would let him know in a week. This gives the others a chance to respond (which happens much quicker when they know someone else has bit). Then you have options and can decide who you most want to work with or the others could still all pass and wish you luck, but you'll still know you're options from that. Of course, if the first one is your dream agent, you can always just withdraw your novel from the other places, but I would still take a little time before committing. This is different than submitting short stories where the rule is first come first serve, meaning you always go with the place that wants it first and withdraw it immediately from the other places considering it. Good luck!
     
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  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    So, a bit of unexpected good news came to me. I have a short story coming out real soon. I thought it was with a place that didn't pay, but I still wanted to publish with them. Well, today I got check for my story that was for more than I thought they would have paid to begin with. Pleasantly surprised, to say the least. It's not a huge payday, but it's not nothing and I could use the money for sure. Feels good when I had been kind of down about some other stuff.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
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  8. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Senior Member

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    Great news, well done!
     
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  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    :)
     
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  10. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Congrats! That's wonderful!
     
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  11. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    Regardless of whether a form or drafted it’s good feedback. They don’t have to put nice comments like that. Keep pushing
     
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  12. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Senior Member

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    45-day form rejection from Crush anthology.
     
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  13. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Now that we're in the final stretch of 2020 I wondering how the year has been with some of you when it comes to submitting. I'm not talking about acceptance rates, but just really trying and putting our work out there. For the first several years I submitted my work, I got nothing but rejection. But the key was to keep sending work out, new work, old work, revised work. I had to try harder and longer than I thought it would take, and for a long time I wasn't sure my stories would ever be published. I had somehow integrated being rejected into my life. And it still is a big part of my life and always will be as a writer.

    But then you hit the ball out of the park and it's like, "Holy Shit! Am I a literary superstar now?" LOL. I'm no literary superstar, but I've now been published and have stuff coming out that I'm really proud of in publications I feel extremely lucky to get in with. But I've learned luck has little to do with it. Part of this really comes down to how bad you want it. Sometimes (and often) that means writing better and writing better stories because that's always going to be a part of it. But submitting is where it's at. Everyone here takes chances on themselves and that's awesome! I also think we've all learned a lot from each other and I'm really glad we've got a great group of regulars here, though, as brought up earlier some past regulars are deeply missed.

    So, how was 2020 for you? Did you submit more? Do you wish you had submitted more? And what do you plan to do differently next year? How will you make next year a better writing year? A better submitting year? Think of these questions sort of like comparing notes. I'm interested in learning how you plan to approach next year which hopefully has great things and many publications in store for all of us.
     
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  14. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    Finally followed up on the publisher I sent my novella to this spring, and it turns out they seem to have shuttered months ago without a word.

    In some ways, I suppose that's a blessing. This gives me an opportunity to target a very lucrative market, and during #PitMad last week I received a request from the Editor-in-Chief of another market.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
  15. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    To respond to DeadRats I think 2020 had been good for me. If judged on getting an agent I’ve failed (unless I hear back before Xmas) BUT the journey has been good and a huge learning curve.

    ‘how much you want it’ - damn right. I want it bad.

    I took say 3 years to write my first novel. I submitted it October 19 and realised following some positive (but a rejection) feedback that I needed more work on it.

    Started submitting properly in spring. Yes the rejections outweigh the requests for full MS by a long way but I’m doing ok. I’ve learned a lot, my queries are a lot better- 6 months ago I deserved rejections as my submission wasn’t good enough regardless of the book.

    I’ve had a lot of full MS requests, including from some super agents. Some are still outstanding since July so all I can do is wait.

    I feel I’ve got in a position where I know the process and I now know which agents to target and which not to. Following so many on twitter shows me that a large % of those I wrote to I’d never work with. They aren’t right for me.

    I probably have another tranche of agents I can try in the new year but at that point perhaps this book isn’t meant to be.

    The other good news is that I’ve written a second book in 2020. So I’m improving my craft and speed. It needed a lot of work but by spring I can start again. Whilst writing my third book!

    So yes I want it, a lot, and the feedback I’ve had tells me I’ve got a chance. A small one, but better than many!

    This thread really helps. I probably shouldn’t be here as you guys are subbing to magazines and I’m after an agent but you’ve all made me welcome and it feels like we are in the trenches together.

    Finally, why am I here? Oh yes, first rejection for a month. Said the plot was intriguing but it wasn’t right for her.

    Onwards!!
     
  16. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Senior Member

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    According to Duotrope, I have submitted 105 pieces of writing- 85 fiction and 20 non-fiction in the past 12 months. Many of these are the same things submitted to multiple places, but there are a few extra that don’t use Duotrope. I’m pleased with that, especially on top of a stressful job and a full-time therapy programme (one day per week).

    My highlight of 2020 was being accepted for 4 anthologies, 2 of which are now published- the first time I’ve had a story in print.

    My goals for 2021 are to build on this with more published stories but also to send out my first novel to agents and/or publishers (this has been my new year’s resolution for years but I’m determined to actually achieve it this year!) and to make good progress with my 2nd novel.
     
  17. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    congrats on being published !!
     
  18. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    @Medazza -- You're totally one of us. :)
     
  19. Earp

    Earp Not Sorry Contributor

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    Ordered my copy today. I'm not a Prime member, so they should be loading my order on the slow mule train to Michigan any day now. Looking forward to seeing how writers much better than I am do this stuff.
     
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  20. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm getting my copy for Christmas. There's only one person giving me a gift this year and that's all I asked for. They might not be better than you, but this is a look at the the stories editors probably knew right away they wanted. What's in the Pushcart anthology is a current look at the best of the best. Hopefully, we start to see some trends in form and subject matter and compare notes. I think it will be fun just to discuss anything in there. And I think we can all get something out of reading this. These are the stories that sold. Not only that, they are winning prizes. It's kind of cool that they do this every year. I think it's probably the best way to keep up on short story publishing. If you guys get it before me, start a thread and discussing. I'll catch up.
     
  21. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    A 68-day form rejection from Crazyhorse.
     
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  22. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    A 104-day form rejection from Saturday Evening Post.
     
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  23. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Yes, this:

    I love this thread. I'm an outsider too (hunting agents), and have been MIA for awhile, but frequently pop in here for inspiration. I was actively querying in the spring/summer and paused after a couple dozen rejections. I enlisted the help of an editor to get some feedback (not an actual edit; more like a critique). While waiting for that, I tinkered with some short stories and read a bunch of stuff I love (Patti Smith, Jeffery Eugenides, Lauren Groff), which is always humbling, but inspiring. I can only dream of writing at that level. Finally got the editor's feedback, and . . . wow. She articulated all the things I felt were off but couldn't pinpoint. Good news is there is a lot right about the MS; but lots to work on, mostly to sharpen the voice/heighten emotion. My day job is leaving no bandwidth for creative pursuits, but I can't wait to dive in and, in the meantime, have been reading some recommended craft books and furiously writing notes to myself on napkins. Hope to be back to logging rejections with you soon...be well!
     
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  24. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, no word from the last agent about the full he requested, but it's only been 9 days, so let's see.

    In the meantime, a small publisher has requested my full, one called Literary Wanderlust. Let's see eh?
     
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  25. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    Full MS, I have had requests from July and still nothing back. It’ll just be on a different pile now! But a full request has to be good
     

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