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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: Johnny 5 on April 06, 2021, 06:15:00 AM

Title: Sometimes They Come Back
Post by: Johnny 5 on April 06, 2021, 06:15:00 AM
I'd closed off a query I sent in December 2020 as a CNR. And this morning I got a mail from the agent, a rejection unfortunately, but personal and filled with great comments on my work! I had sent her the first version of the book originally which had so many issues that I have rewritten it since. Darn! I may have landed this one I think had I just taken the time to get editorial feedback before submitting in haste last year.

So reason I am sharing this is:

A: They go quiet and your write them off, but then out the blue you get feedback. I think the ones who take longest possibly take more time to actually read your material.
B: The rejection had this reassuring statement: For this reason we really are super-selective and only sign up those authors whose work we feel most passionately about. As you can imagine, there isn’t a vast number of those – which is what makes it a good filter for us.

Now you can read that anyhow you like (and clearly I'm one of those authors with my first submission), but it did encourage me to know that just because there's so many other queries we need to contend with, it does not mean they're all great or that our own is less than.
Title: Re: Sometimes They Come Back
Post by: MKWrites_318 on April 06, 2021, 07:26:19 AM
I had a similar thing happen in early March. A query I sent in November suddenly got a reply. Mine wasn't personalized, unfortunately, but I was still thankful to hear back. It brings a level of closure.

I think the ones who take longest possibly take more time to actually read your material.

From what I've learned, the length of time that passes between submission and response has more to do with how often agents dig into their queries and how many queries they get. Some are able to set aside time every day to keep their queries from getting on top of them and some really struggle with doing that or don't prioritize keeping their inboxes clean in that way. I'm sure there are some who don't read thoroughly, but I don't think we can infer that with quick or slow response times. The ones that give feedback seem to only do so with certain projects. I'm glad she gave you a personalized response! Those kinds of replies, even when they're rejections, really are a nice boost.

And I have heard agents and editors talk about the level of passion they have to have for a project before. They have to read and reread and reread and reread a book, put it in front of editors and other agents to read and reread and reread, and if they haven't fully connected with either a story or a voice, it'll be a struggle to do that, even if they really enjoyed it. I mean, we've all read books that we loved but have no desire to pick up again; they were good stories, but we didn't connect with them on that level. That little glimpse into why agents don't grab onto certain projects really, really helped me too.  :)
Title: Re: Sometimes They Come Back
Post by: slcody on April 06, 2021, 02:42:22 PM
This happened a couple of times with me last year, both involving requests for full manuscripts. One requested the full about 3 months after the query (I was actually planning on marking it CNR that very day), and the the other requested it nearly 9 months after the query!

Of the two, the first one seems to have ghosted on me (it's been nearly a year), which is the only type of ghosting that actually annoys me; I'm in the camp of heavily sympathizing with agents in terms of how many queries they receive, so I don't find the no-reply tactic on that front particularly bothersome. But when you've requested a full manuscript, and the author nudges a couple of times... at least have the courtesy to say "thanks, but no thanks"!

The second one send her request after I was already deep into my latest revisions. I asked if I could send her the new version when it's ready, and she said yes. So once this draft is done, I already have a full request straight out of the gate, which seems nice.
Title: Re: Sometimes They Come Back
Post by: Johnny 5 on April 07, 2021, 01:27:19 AM
It is indeed good to hear such stories :)

Fingers crossed for you slcody! Can only imagine the hope and nerves waiting on a full response.

I also read that somewhere MKWrites_318 about agents having to remain in love with a book through so many reads. It makes me nervous as after editing a chapter say three times I already get sick of my writing and think the story is lame. If I read my fav book/s more than twice in short succession, I also get bored of them and start to get annoyed with silly things. Films as well. Music is interesting as I can listen to a song I love over 100 times before it starts to grate on me :)