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Queries and Agents => The Next Step => Topic started by: rogber on June 13, 2021, 02:14:43 PM

Title: anyone else on submission?
Post by: rogber on June 13, 2021, 02:14:43 PM
This part of the forum seems pretty quiet compared to the agent section. Is anyone else out on sub right now and how is it going?

My experience of sub so far (first time for me) has been brutal, can only agree with those who say it's worse than trying to find an agent, the flip-flopping between hope - so close to the goal at last - and despair - fear of not clearing the last hurdle.

Found an agent for my novel at the end of winter, was over the moon. After relatively minor edits, manuscript was sent out in spring and the agent (at a smallish agency, but with a solid track record) was very optimistic.
Result 3 months down the line: half of round 1 publishers have passed, the other half no reply so also starting to looking like a pass.
Now preparing for round 2 and I desperately want to stay hopeful but it's so hard not to get pessimistic at this stage.

Anyone else going through this and how are your experiences?
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: AnUlstermaninIdaho on June 14, 2021, 11:02:26 AM
Hi Rogber,

Yeah, I’m on submission too, and by the sounds of it, we’ve had fairly similar experiences. I got picked up by my agent around the end of February. Like you, this is a small agency with (I think) a decent track record. My revisions were also pretty quick and since then, I’ve been in the trenches for almost three months. One area where we differ is the approach my agent is adopting. We are doing very small, very targeted submissions and submitting to another editor quickly if there is a rejection or no response. So far, I’ve had one pass it on to a more suitable colleague and another request the full manuscript.

This may be a question for anyone who has more experience of being on submission but when I see estimations of how long before a response (if any) it typically refers to the point from which the agent submitted. Does anyone have any idea how long it typically takes for a response after the editor has said they was to read? Or, like all aspects of this process, is it foolish to even think of being on submission in such human terms as “time”?

Looking forward to charting your progress more Rogber. Keep that chin up.
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: rogber on July 28, 2021, 03:29:39 PM
Now nearly 5 months gone, all round 1 publishers (all of whom were Big 5 imprints) passed. Lots of "really strong work, but not quite right for our list" comments. But a pass is a pass.
Now about to send out round 2 to a mix of remaining big imprints and indie. Fingers crossed but hopes much more tempered this time.
In the meanwhile doing as everyone advises and working on a new project but it really doesn't make the process easier.
Any news from others?
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: mdavis97 on October 13, 2021, 05:29:36 PM
Submissions is such a weird world... I'm learning that nobody talks about it when they're there. It's feels taboo or something. Found this forum after hours of combing the internet and it's 4 months old! Anyone still out there?

Seriously, I'm hoping submissions went well for both of you. I'm in a similar situation- picked up by a small agency with a good track record, quick round of revisions, off to editors. I've only been on submissions for three weeks and I've gotten three rejections. One weird thing my agent is doing is that she's giving the round one editors only a month to respond, and as far as I can tell, that's not normal. But I don't know.

Any updates on how it's been for you guys so far?
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: francis-montgomery on November 01, 2021, 12:48:57 PM
Well, I've just passed the year mark for my first sub... we're on round three, but I gave up hope on this book around round two of submissions. It's really disheartening, but I've read about a lot of authors who didn't debut with their first book. I managed to write another book during the long wait and I'm hoping my agent will get back to me with feedback on it soon.

It's comforting knowing that I'm not alone, wading in the trenches of submissions. Good luck to all of you! Stay strong!
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: rogber on November 17, 2021, 02:17:57 PM
Well, I've just passed the year mark for my first sub... we're on round three, but I gave up hope on this book around round two of submissions. It's really disheartening, but I've read about a lot of authors who didn't debut with their first book. I managed to write another book during the long wait and I'm hoping my agent will get back to me with feedback on it soon.

It's comforting knowing that I'm not alone, wading in the trenches of submissions. Good luck to all of you! Stay strong!

Can I ask what kind of genre are you working in and how have you and your agent deal with rejections? Was there some issue highlighted that prompted revisions before you start submitting again, or was it just that the book simply hasn't found the right editor who fell in love with it? And has your relationship to your agent shifted at all during the process? This is a topic that comes up a lot and that I've also thought about: an agent-author relationship is a bit like falling in love, it starts with such promise and hope. But when things don't work out as planned it's understandable that both parties can start to view the other in a different light.

As for me, I'll give an update on my situation soon! But I can definitely echo what many people on the forum who didn't get a rapid sell have said: being on submission is the hardest thing I've ever dealt with as a writer. I know unagented writers view it is an enviable position, but there's something really agonising about being so close to achieving that career goal but that last door just not opening as agent and writer hoped...
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: jackson on November 18, 2021, 10:39:15 AM
Hey everyone -

I'm on submission and have gotten plenty of rejections. Last night my agent told me about a rejection from my ideal editor. It was a "glowing rejection" which made her feel good. I have long dreamed of working with this editor. She had very nice things to say, but I'm wondering this about their rejections letters: how polite are these editors being? Obviously they can't be rude. If they say specific nice things, should I take that to heart that the novel is pretty good and I shouldn't change those things? Especially if one editor contradicts the other? For instance, this editor loved something another one said was lacking.

I really don't know where to go with all this submission stress and grief, ha. I'm starting to think the book is not as good as I thought it was, which I know you've all felt (or anyone who has gotten rejections). I'm trying not to let it make me miserable. And today I promised myself I would start writing my second work. But I think I'm depressed? This last editor I loved really got to me, even though she was so nice.

Does anyone have good news to report? Or a success story after getting a bunch of rejections? I guess I'm looking for some more sub stats and stories. Even though every single one is different.

It's a part of a writer's life, but dang it hurts to be this close and keep getting no's every week.

We're headed straight into the holidays so I know things are about to slow down massively too. Sending my best vibes to those pushing through and working hard to make it happen for themselves. Keep going.
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: spencer417 on November 20, 2021, 11:30:38 AM
Jackson, I feel you! I'm on sub right now too and those "glowing rejections" sometimes hurt the most because it's that "so close and yet so far" feeling. I feel like if an editor is being specific about something positive, they most likely mean it. I have some writer friends who have received form rejections on sub, which is probably more of a go-to when they can't think of anything to say but want to be polite.

I wish I had something helpful to offer other than you are definitely not alone. It's hard too, after spending so much time in the query trenches and waiting, to be back in that feeling of waiting. Especially as we head into the holidays and things slow down further. I'm rooting for you and everyone else who is currently on sub -- I hope we all get good news soon. <3
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: jackson on November 21, 2021, 07:59:30 AM
Thanks so much for the kind reply Spencer! Yes I guess I'm ready for that radio silence during the holidays. A break from the rejections. I didn't even know you could get form rejections on sub! I've just been imagining the agent-editor relationships are being nourished there. Well, I suppose that makes me feel better.

How are you handling? How long have you been on sub? Thank you for reaching out. We can do this.
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: rogber on November 21, 2021, 02:55:48 PM
Hi Jackson I feel for you. Those glowing reviews are almost the worst. You start to feel "if even the people who think the book is good aren't willing to actually buy it, what hope is there? Maybe it's just missing a cetain X factor to push it over the line?" And then the self-doubt starts.  And sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking about books I've read recently, and particularly the ones I considered bad, and say "if even that book found a publisher how could mine possibly not? am I deluded and my book is actually worse than stuff I consider rubbish and I just can't see it?" But then I remind myself that my agent loves it and believes it can sell. Only then it's back to "but when why isn't it happening?"

I really don't know what the solution is. Yeah, write new work. But even that I've found hard, asking myself if my current book doesn't sell why spend another year or two on a new book that also probably won't sell? Of course that's not the reason to write a book anyway but it's really difficult not to slide into these negative thought loops.

As for standard rejections, even that's a luxury. My agent has had quite a few non-responses, just like people now get from agents. No answer = no interest.

Despite all that, we have a glimmer of hope at the moment, but it could easily amount to nothing, so I'll say no more about it till we hear more.

Has anyone had a good time on submission recently?!
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: jackson on November 28, 2021, 12:45:55 PM
Thank you for your reply, rogber. I got a non-glowing review before Thanksgiving, and honestly it all feels bad, ha! Yes, reading a bad or lackluster book drives me crazy, and my book has so much to offer and it makes me scratch my head for sure. I am going to start the book brewing in my head in December and just kind of let it be. Give it away and let my worries about this go. I have a lot going on in my personal life right now, and I just need to focus on one day at a time, and that will help me get through the days. It didn't take off like a firework and that's okay. There's still hope and I'm thankful for it.

Yes I keep thinking: I got an agent and she loves it! And I love it.

As for your glimmer of hope, I'm praying it turns into a spark that lights a fire. I hope you hear such good news. Same goes to Spencer and everyone else out there. Please tell us your good news! We want to hear a good story! Much love.
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: rogber on February 07, 2022, 04:10:31 PM
Any updates from people? Any good news?

It's now nearly a year since I got my agent, nearly 11 months since we first submitted.

No sale. Closest we got was a big 5 publisher where an editor seemed initially very keen, told us they were pitching to sales and marketing - then came back a couple of weeks later and was suddenly cooler on the whole project. They raised the possibility of a chat which seemed like it might lead to an R&R, but before the chat was even arranged they just stopped making contact entirely. That hurt. Seriously, some people don't even have basic manners.

Anyhow, it's been a brutal experience and it stopped me writing for much of last year. It's also a grim experience feeling how even if your agent loves the book, as time goes on and a sale looks unlikely, enthusiasm seems to wane, replies to emails take longer and have less content. Brings home that this really is just a business.

Anyhow, at the turn of the year I said I just can't carry this negative energy into the new year and am glad to say I'm finally writing again and, for now at least, focusing on the process instead of obsessing on the career side of things. I think we're going to try a small final round of submissions but at this stage I can't say I've much hope. However I did reread my novel recently and despite all the rejections I still like it and still believe in it. Weirdly enough, that comforted me.
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: jackson on February 13, 2022, 10:35:49 AM
Rogber, I'm inspired that you decided to keep writing and not bring the negative energy with you into this year. It's so easy to feel despair. I just did the same thing: I reread my novel and I love it. I really believe in it. I'm having the same experience as you, and I just had a baby so I'm not able to get back into writing, but I do think it would save me.

It hurts so bad. I've not had any close calls like you, but I know it must hurt worse. I almost wouldn't want to know until the offer was made, I think. It really is brutal, and I feel for you. I'm there with you.

But I'm happy you're writing. All this strife will make our success that much sweeter when it happens. We can say we didn't give up! We believed in ourselves and kept honing our skills and trying. We will have a story behind our stories.

Wishing you comfort and joy in your work.
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: rogber on August 27, 2022, 02:40:53 PM
Well, 18 months on and after 3 rounds my agent and I have pretty much reached the end of the road with this project.
I won't repeat all the woe from above except to say it's been a bruising experience and without a doubt the biggest disappointment of my writing life. To seemingly come so close, but not manage that final step, especially when the process started out so full of hope.
And I have to admit that despite my best intentions to shake off the negative energy it's still really affecting my ability to write and has knocked my confidence a lot. But I guess it's a kind of mourning process and these things take as long as they take. I hope some day I'll be back here with some positive news.
In the meantime, best of luck to Jackson and everyone else! It's good having this community to share our stories.
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: Sandbox on August 28, 2022, 10:44:14 AM
Hi Rogber,

Sorry to hear about your project. I really hope you keep writing--because what else can we do? I get that you might need some time to process and mourn. I'm about to start novel 4 here. I've been around a long time--haven't posted much in a while...but have been popping in. I wrote novel one and got an agent, and that didn't sell. Novel 2 was not really something the agent appreciated ( I did!), so I moved on and got another agent. That also didn't sell, so I spent too much time rewriting the whole thing only to find my agent (despite seeming receptive) did not want to re-submit it... and so, goodbye to that agent (although, yeah, when I read it after some time I had to agree, too many flaws..) and then I wrote novel 3 which kept me sane during Covid. I'm trying now to get an agent for that. It is definitely something I am proud of and really believe in--but it has become so brutally hard (as everyone knows) to get any attention from an agent--although I've been fortunate to have requests and some very good personal rejections. It really does seem almost impossible to surmount all that can go "wrong" in the submission process, whether it be an agent or an editor. The subjectivity regarding what people like/situations they negatively react to, the vision to push it forward (I had that one recently--really loved the voice and the story--but didn't have that vision), and the whole climate regarding who wrote it--not diverse enough etc... and good old serendipity. And yes, I read books and think, WOW that got published? And then there are the friends who have published books, or multiple books in this time...But in the end, I have come to the realization that none of it is in my control, and even though I'm going to keep trying-- ...it might not happen for me, plain and simple. And so the writing has to be enough--and the hope that it will happen. I won't give up that hope. All we can do is keep going. SB
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: rogber on August 28, 2022, 03:09:15 PM
Hi Sandbox, I can really relate to all that and I'm sorry to hear that you too have had a rough time of it with all the hopes followed by disappointments. As you say, there are so many factors that determine whether a book gets picked up or not and ultimately all we can do is write the best novel we can and hope the rest falls into place. And accept that things may not happen as we want and ask ourselves is a life with writing still better than a life without? As long as the answer is yes, I guess we we go again.....
Title: Re: anyone else on submission?
Post by: Viddiest on August 29, 2022, 09:57:24 PM
I'm so sorry Rogber, and also Sandbox.

The writing life seems so full of ups and downs, and especially downs. The work you are doing is meaningful and like you said, the hope never dies. I wish you every success.