Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New writer dealing with the BIG 'Rs' - rejection and requests in the writing world

'A Carpet of Purple Flowers'

What a crazy ride the new writer's journey is...
Am I mad for wanting to tell my story to the world? Wait, don't answer that. :o) 
Oh yeah, my first pair of speck's - EVER! Must be all that editing, lol. No really.

Okay, let's start with the good. It's December 2014, and it's been a year of editing, waiting, editing, etc - nope, it's still not over.

The Positive

I received a request for a partial, and then a full from a New York Literary Agency. The agent had passed my query to the intern and then she sent me this feedback:

Dear Ms. McCartney,

       I read the chapters you sent to me. I really enjoyed them. Can you please send more? I really believe this book has potential with the agency. And if it's possible, I'd love to help represent or help you with it.  I look forward to reading more of your work.

Good Evening, Ms. McCartney,

   *** I just finished reading it (continued from the three chapters you sent to me last Friday). It's beautiful, a work that must be made into book form as soon as possible!!!!! I would strongly urge you to send the ms to *** if you haven't done so yet. Tell *** that I read the complete ms and that I think the agency could represent it without a problem. 

 I hope that he agrees to represent you and your work. Fingers crossed!!! 

Well, of course I was (still am) over the moon (containing my excitement - can you tell?). Once the words sunk in, I sent an email to the agent... I eagerly await his reply. Hopefully, permission to forward the full. My emotions are a whirlwind of nervousness, hope and readiness, for I know that her wonderful opinion, however uplifting, might not be his.
No matter what happens, I'll be forever grateful that she believed in 'A Carpet of Purple Flowers', and I'll cherish the amazing comments, giving the glimmer of hope, a brighter light.

The Negative

I sent my first draft (yes, silly I know) to a UK agent earlier this year (2014). She asked for an exclusive (sounds good, right?), but I had to say no, due to the ms being with another agent (which was a later rejection). Eventually, I received a reply asking me to revise and re-submit. I was confused, for she didn't say what to actually revise. Although, I remained confused, I was eager to please and attempted to improve my ms, blindly. After, another re-submission, I received a formal 'R' - email of rejection . It hurt, I think more so because no reason was given. Didn't I derserve a short paragraph of explanation? - Sadly, no (real world alert).

Dear Tracey-Anne,​

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to consider your recent submission.  Unfortunately, I am unable to offer you representation. Please be assured that I gave your submission a fair and thoughtful review.

Regrettably I am unable to give individual consultation, this is due to the small size of my company and the large number of unsolicited manuscripts I receive on a daily basis.

Since the decision taken in representing work is a subjective one and will vary greatly from person to person, I would encourage you to contact other agencies. 

I wish you the best of luck in finding great success with your work.

You can never tell if your work will appeal enough to grab the attention of an agent, and receiving feedback is rare. I just gotta keep going, and refill the faint crack that appeared after reading the email. This journey has, at times, felt cold and lonely compared to the artist's path that I'm used to (a warm and friendly place). So, again, I search the web for more information of other writers experiences, hoping to find out if I'm on the right track, at least.

Here's what I found:

So, what's the big deal about having agents reading your partial or full manuscript? (It's not like you have a publishing contract).

Queries an agent receives a week an vary from 100 +
(That's whopping 5200 queries/year!!!)

Request for partials/full manuscripts  requested: Approximately 3 partials and I full 

Of those 4, only 1 gets representation. 

The chances of landing an agent:   .0019%  / Agents reject about 99.5% of queries.

One highly respected agent recommends maybe to give up after 100 and go back to the drawing board and revise manuscript or start another one.


Just to give you an idea, out of all the partials agents/interns read through, only around 10% of these will get a request for a full manuscript. 

If you have received a partial request, pat yourself on the back – your query letter was good! 
If you have received a full manuscript request, do a few fist pumps.


Full request - first, celebrate. You earned this! Full requests, or really requests of any kind, are hard to come by, so make sure you give yourself the break (and reward) you deserve. 

Asked to resubmit?
That is what writers call a Revise & Resubmit (shorthand: R&R), and it is amazing. Once again, celebrate! Do the Dumbledore dance, because an agent liked your freaking book! 

Keep querying! The fact that an agent even liked your book enough to R&R is a VERY GOOD SIGN. Don’t give up because of subjective rejection. So keep at it, and in the meantime, write something new!  

The Baffled King Composing (blog) HERE

So, you’ve polished your novel. You’ve tackled your query. You’ve researched agents and sent out personalized queries to each of them. You’ve waited. And now the day has come when all this has paid off–an agent is interested in reading your full manuscript. 

First of all stop and take a minute to congratulate yourself. Having managed the slush piles of two different agents, I can tell you that your novel has something special about it if you’ve gotten this far. 

Maybe you wrote a great query. Maybe you added the first three chapters of your novel to your query (depending on the agent’s guidelines of course!) and there was something captivating about it. 

In any case, you did something really right. Because an agent has requested a full manuscript, and that’s an accomplishment.

I feel a little better now, lol :o) 

In truth, I consider myself very lucky getting this far with the 'Gatekeepers', and to have received a few offers of publishing with small publishers, but I'm still holding out. This is when I ask myself if I'm crazy? My answer... 'Let's see what 2015 brings'.  :o)

Meanwhile, I'll sit and scribble/type away on book two, listening to music, hoping that one day soon, my manuscript will transform into a magical (eco friendly) paper book.

Still dreaming and  :o) 

Love and light