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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: Aiala on July 03, 2009, 09:49:52 AM

Title: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: Aiala on July 03, 2009, 09:49:52 AM
Consequent to the “Quirky Rejection” thread, let me pose the following hypothetical question:

Assuming you were a literary agent (Heaven forbid!) how would your rejections be worded? Would you be straightforward, dismissive, or terse? Try to soft-pedal it with a bunch of insincere form mush? Or, as so many do, would you take the spineless route and not even bother to answer queries that didn’t interest you?

I think I’d go with something along these lines: “In my view –and others may well dispute it– your work still needs substantial editing, which I’m not in a position to provide. I wish you much success.”

Succinct rather than brusque, and almost universally true. (If by some miracle I received a manuscript that didn’t need editing, I sure as heck wouldn’t reject it!)  :)

~A~
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: bodwen on July 03, 2009, 10:12:59 AM
Harsh!  I'm glad you aren't an agent.   :eek:

Besides, agents aren't just evaluating the manuscripts on technical merit.  Their job is not to decide if the book is good or bad.  Their job is to convince someone else to pay 6 figures to get the book out into the market.

***

Standard query:  A standard "Thank you, but it is not for me.  Best of luck."  I would write this as a formal business letter, careful not to include false flattery or ambiguous phrasing.

Fatal flawed query:  Same as standard, but I may point out the fatal flaw if it is easily corrected and I don't think that it will cause a blitzkrieg of retaliation from a crazy writer.

Partial rejection
The standard.

Full rejection  
The standard, if there is no hope.
The standard, if I detect plagiarism.
The standard, if I suspect that the author might be a dangerous psychopath.
A personalized letter, with referrals, if it's great but I don't think I can sell it.
A personalized letter, with suggestions and an invitation to resubmit, if I think it's close but not quite there yet, and I'm not sure the author can or will edit.

Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: Aiala on July 03, 2009, 10:30:19 AM
Harsh!  I'm glad you aren't an agent.   :eek:

So am I, LOL!

As for the rest, I believe it IS an agent's job to decide what's good or bad; and if the latter, to refrain from further polluting the current state of literature by pushing infantile leaden rubbish into the marketplace.

As you can see, it wouldn't take me long to go broke as an agent.  ;D

~A~
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: violet on July 03, 2009, 12:54:07 PM
Harsh!  I'm glad you aren't an agent.   :eek:

Agreed!  ;D

Query and partial, standard.

If I'm going to take someone's full, I will take the time for honest feedback. Some agents request a full but I wouldn't unless the idea was intriguing.

While easier said than done, I believe that this should be a process w/ a learning curve. So if you continue to get the same note repeatedly, it may hold some merit. I used to read scripts for a production company. While my comments should've been taken with some semblance of a grain of salt as I was only one opinion, I always tried to let the writer know what was working, and what wasn't.
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: Aiala on July 03, 2009, 01:55:33 PM
If I'm going to take someone's full, I will take the time for honest feedback. Some agents request a full but I wouldn't unless the idea was intriguing.

Yes, and the writing was indicative of something more than a passing acquaintance with correct spelling and grammar usage. In light of which, I rather suspect that I'd ask to see one full out of every two thousand queries.

Like I said, I'd be broke in a fortnight.  :)

~A~
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: luctari on July 03, 2009, 06:07:20 PM
How would I do it?  Hmmmmmmmm . . .

OK, first of all, everybody gets a reply.  I've got a day job where I routinely put in 50-70 hours a week, especially now, after staff cuts, but I'm still expected to return all my phone calls and answer all my e-mails, so I just don't buy this "the poor agents are so oppressed they can't answer all queries" crap.  How long does a "Sorry, not for me" e-mail take?

Second, my web site would indicate that ALL queries should include at least 10 and no more than 20 sample pages.  My web site would also state that I would only read as many of those pages as I felt compelled to, based on their quality.  If I was not compelled to finish, then I wouldn't be asking for anything.

Third, I would not ask for partials -- I'd ask for "fartials."  I would always ask for the whole thing, but again with the stipulation that I was only going to read as long as the writer made it worth my while.  If I was compelled to finish, but still did not want to represent, then i would provide at least a page or so of comments on the draft -- what worked, what didn't, etc.  If I was not compelled to finish, I would at a minimum tell the author where and why they lost me.

Fourth, I have to suspect that the vast majority of the material agents read demonstrates that the author has no real chance not only of getting the queried work published, but of getting anything published, ever.  In such cases, I would be honest and say something along the lines of:

"As a literary agent, I read dozens of manuscripts a weekand have a very good handle not only on what can be published, but on which writers evdience the talents and skills necessary to hope one day to be published.  I am sorry to have to tell you that you evidence neither in your submission.  This is not meant to be cruel, but simply to be an honest evaluation of your material.  I would strongly advise that you take some writing classes, join an writing group and otherwise significantly polish your skills before submitting work to the agent community again.  If you already have taken those steps, then it is quite possible that you simply do not possess the requiste talents to be a published author."

I mean geeze, kids get cut from sports teams and school plays and stuff all the time.  I still remember the high school baseball coach telling me, "Kid, I hear your a good football player.  You'd be better off spending your spring in the weight room, cause you suck at baseball, and even if you make the team, all you're gonna do is ride the bench."  Didn't kill me.  In fact, the extra time in the weight room probably helped me with swimming in the winter and football in the fall.  Why tell somebody who's invested god-knows-how-much time writing a novel that clearly demonstrates that they have no chance of getting published that it's "Not for me" when you know damn well it's not for anybody.  At least do them the courtesy of telling the truth.

Of course, I'd probably get gunned down by some obsessed wanna be writer for crushing his or her unrealistic dream, so it's a good thing I'm not gonna take up agenting any time soon.

Luctari
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: munley on July 03, 2009, 06:24:39 PM
Here's a link to a page where a writer has posted the many rejection letters he received:

http://www.spywriter.com/rejection.html
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: MarvaD on July 03, 2009, 06:33:14 PM
luctari: Excellent. I think what you say should be the norm on responses.

I have heard that if you don't get personalized responses to partials or fulls, then you should consider a different career.  I guess I'm near that point.  I don't get the positive responses in the numbers indicated by the QT stats.  I can only assume my books suck in some way, shape, or form.  I know it's not the technical aspects of writing.  Thirty+ years as a technical writer and numerous awards for same tell me I can put words together into a coherent sentence.  My writing must lack something, but if an agent won't tell me what it is, then what do I do?  I examine my plot, story arc, characters development, etc.  All good.  It would be good to know just how I'm a zero in the query/publishing wars.  If I knew, maybe I could change my ways, improve my style, or whatever.  If I only get generic feedback, then I will continue to annoy agents with my lack of ... ?  I have no idea.  Why do my critters and beta readers love my books, but agents do not?  Without an agent flat out saying "this is what you're doing wrong," then how can I change or improve?

Lots of questions in my mind, but I can only come to the conclusion that I'll never get an agent because agents don't want what I write.  Why is totally open to speculation.

Okay.  My writing sucks.  But why have I published more than thirty-five shorts and have two books out from a micro-publisher?  I guess I only semi-suck.


The whole "keep querying forever" thing is ridiculous. I have to call the line somewhere, and I'm freakin' close to doing just that.  Good luck to everyone who continues to hold out hope.  You all must be better than me.
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: Aiala on July 03, 2009, 07:42:32 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Luctari, especially:

"OK, first of all, everybody gets a reply... I just don't buy this 'the poor agents are so oppressed they can't answer all queries' crap."

"I have to suspect that the vast majority of the material agents read demonstrates that the author has no real chance not only of getting the queried work published, but of getting anything published, ever." 

And above all else:

"Why tell somebody who's invested god-knows-how-much time writing a novel that clearly demonstrates that they have no chance of getting published that it's "Not for me" when you know damn well it's not for anybody.  At least do them the courtesy of telling the truth."

Well-expressed, Mr. L. Kudos. Too bad you're not an agent.

~A~


Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: JeanneT on July 03, 2009, 08:10:11 PM
While I can agree with Mr. Luctari, I also frequently see novels PUBLISHED that I think should have been flushed the writing is so bad, so I'm not sure I'd go that route. Who am I to know that no one is going to buy what I consider crap? People eat at McDonalds. Nuff said?

Ok, my own answer. First I'd have an auto-responder.  Takes no time to do and the author knows it's been received. I appreciate them and DARN few agents bother.

I don't care how many emails you receive it really doesn't take that long to go through and respond. I would be a bit less harsh than Mr. Luctari while trying to be honest on the 95% (low estimate) that is crap. I'd do a standard: I don't see any market for this work, but that is one agent's opinion. Best of luck.

Partials I think deserve at least a sentence or two of honest reaction, although not a detailed crit. Critting isn't an agent's job. I suspect after a few hundred, I'd end up with templates (and people complain about these but as long as they're honest, I don't see the problem) saying something like: The plot/narrative/dialogue/characters (one or combination) didn't work for me, but that's one agent's opinion. Best of luck.

I honestly think that a full deserves at least a paragraph or two of non-template opinion, but that's assuming that the agent doesn't request a full on everything that comes down the pike, which you can bet I wouldn't.  :naughty:
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: bodwen on July 03, 2009, 08:55:12 PM
I don't see any market for this work, but that is one agent's opinion. Best of luck.

Trouble is, that how I feel about 7 out of 10 of the published novels I've read lately.  Most of the fare that has churned out of the big-name presses lately I've found so cringeworthy that I've been previewing my purchases at the library to save time and money.

The book I'm reading right now is decent, but it could have been great had it been flogged without mercy by a ruthless editor.
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: cipherqueen on July 03, 2009, 08:57:38 PM
"First I'd have an auto-responder.  Takes no time to do and the author knows it's been received. I appreciate them and DARN few agents bother."

I'd use this.
"Why tell somebody who's invested god-knows-how-much time writing a novel that clearly demonstrates that they have no chance of getting published that it's "Not for me" when you know damn well it's not for anybody.  At least do them the courtesy of telling the truth."
-and that.
Still, I would try to reply personally to each query, even if the email only contains one or two notes on why I decided to pass, and is a fill in the blank rejection form.
If the writing is clearly wonderfully, but I can't market it at the time, I would explain why.
That's my take on it.
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: JeanneT on July 03, 2009, 11:57:41 PM
I didn't say to use the auto-responder as your only response. An auto-responder is only to let the sender know that the email has indeed been received. I find it a courtesy that I appreciate.

A response to the query would be separate.

I think personal responses to 200 queries a week isn't practical, but, hey, that's one NON-agents opinion. ;)
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: DHE on July 04, 2009, 03:19:50 PM
I'd love to say I'd be honest and give personal critiques, but I feel that's like the brand new teacher all bright-eyed and busy-tailed, thinking they're going to change the world, only to be a wreck by the end of the year barely able to refrain from murdering their students, then eventually settling into a tone/routine/etc. that just keeps everything running (at least, this seems to be the path most of my high school teachers followed).  I feel like you'd start out with your honest critiques, then start getting the follow-ups, the ranting emails about how you don't "understand" and how you didn't need to be so mean, you get the tons and tons of queries you just don't really feel anything about in particular so you don't have much to say, etc.  At some point, I think I'd say screw it, send out the standard "It's not for me, best of luck" emails (though definitely no non-response for rejections!) and take out my frustrations on a blog or something...basically, I'd become the Query Shark.  :) 
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: MaryL on July 05, 2009, 08:27:31 AM
What would I do were I an agent?  I've thought a lot about this over the last year. I would do what my agency does.  I wouldn't take unsolicited submissions.  I would accept submissions based on referral and word of mouth. 

Many agents have two jobs.  I can name a dozen off the top of my head who are successful writers too. Some work for bookstores, law firms or other industries in addition to the agenting, which doesn't pay as well as you think. Many answer their own queries and don't have the luxury of interns to take the load off. 

Their primary job is not to answer queries.  Their primary job is to represent their clients. 

It is irritating to all of us to receive a form letter or no response at all, but I totally understand it. In my opinion, it is an honor to send a query.  I'm glad they are open to seeing my work at all.  They consider my work through a letter and owe me nothing. 

I love some of the suggestions below.  I would have appreciated responses like the ones suggested, but I don't expect agents to respond to an initial query.  After they have requested material, my expectations change, and I've never been disappointed. 

In addition to possibly spending hours a day at another job, like writing their own books, agents must (in addition to other aspects of the job I'm not mentioning): 

Put together submission packets (this makes query letters look like a picnic.  Remember how much time you spent on your query?  They have to do something harder for every book each client produces that they choose to represent.)

Review and negotiate contracts on behalf of clients.

Handle phone calls/emails from clients, editors, marketing departments, foreign rights departments, lawyers publicists, etc.

Receive, confirm and distribute royalty checks. 

Read clients' new works, revised works, editors' revision notes.

Handle all hard-copy author fan mail and sometimes emails from fans to writers.

Sometimes handle solicitations for writers to attend events.

Read potential clients' submissions.

Read incoming queries.  Really, this would be last.  It wouldn't be more important than the existing clients' needs.  If an agent can't handle the client needs listed above, why would she take on more clients?

I hate non-response or unthinking form rejections as much as the next writer.  What I'd hate worse is an agent who is so swamped by incoming query responses and the search for the next client, she can't do a good job representing me (which is one of the reasons I parted ways with my first agent).



Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: munley on July 05, 2009, 10:35:43 AM
What would I do were I an agent?  I've thought a lot about this over the last year. I would do what my agency does.  I wouldn't take unsolicited submissions.  I would accept submissions based on referral and word of mouth. 

That leaves the market open only to writers with connections.

In my opinion, it is an honor to send a query.  I'm glad they are open to seeing my work at all.  They consider my work through a letter and owe me nothing. 

If I were any other kind of contractor, like a plumber or an interior decorator, I would consider it a matter of profession for both of us, something to be carried out with mutual respect and equal regard. Agents need writers. Writers need agents. They are not doing us a favor by taking us on as clients. We are both putting in our professional part of what it takes to get a book to market.


I love some of the suggestions below.  I would have appreciated responses like the ones suggested, but I don't expect agents to respond to an initial query.  After they have requested material, my expectations change, and I've never been disappointed. 

In addition to possibly spending hours a day at another job, like writing their own books, agents must (in addition to other aspects of the job I'm not mentioning): 

Most writers have other bread-and-butter jobs too, and often find little time to just write. It is good the remember that agents, like us, are not just sitting on their thumbs waiting to hear from us. It helps us to keep a realistic perspective.

If an agent can't handle the client needs listed above, why would she take on more clients?

I hate non-response or unthinking form rejections as much as the next writer.  What I'd hate worse is an agent who is so swamped by incoming query responses and the search for the next client, she can't do a good job representing me (which is one of the reasons I parted ways with my first agent).

Maybe one solution would be to be closed to submissions during certain times of the year and specifying on the web page that no queries received in the off period will be acknowledged. Literary journals state such policies all the time, and writers live with that just fine. Having an open submissions time would give a decent chance to writers who have no connections in the business, and allow and agent more time for existing clients. As an agent, I would not take the time to personalize responses to initial queries, but then again, I would not have a double standard, such as insisting that writers personalize their query to me, or having some other standard with manuscripts I don't feel a need to reciprocate. I once sent a full to an agent who stressed, in great detail, the need to send an crisp, unblemished manuscript and a very professional cover letter. I got the manuscript back wrinkled and stained with coffee. PLUS, her return "professional" letter to me was a handwritten note on a half sheet of paper that had been torn from the other half. (That agent is dead now, and I didn't do it. I didn't! I didn't!). I don't mind receiving a handwritten note on my original cover letter, by the way.

As for getting too bogged down to provide responsible service to the clients I already have, besides limiting open submissions periods, I would not ask for a partial or a full unless I could picture right off, from the initial query, some particular editor who might be interested. Reading more of the manuscript might indicate that wasn't a likely editor after all, but I wouldn't swamp myself with manuscripts with no clue beforehand who might want each one.



Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: MaryL on July 05, 2009, 11:44:35 AM
What would I do were I an agent?  I've thought a lot about this over the last year. I would do what my agency does.  I wouldn't take unsolicited submissions.  I would accept submissions based on referral and word of mouth. 

That leaves the market open only to writers with connections.

Right, which is why it would suck if closed submission policies were the norm.  I was only answering what I would do, which is the original question.  (And my agent found me, not the other way around.  No connection. Miracles happen.)


Maybe one solution would be to be closed to submissions during certain times of the year and specifying on the web page that no queries received in the off period will be acknowledged. Literary journals state such policies all the time, and writers live with that just fine. Having an open submissions time would give a decent chance to writers who have no connections in the business, and allow and agent more time for existing clients. As an agent, I would not take the time to personalize responses to initial queries, but then again, I would not have a double standard, such as insisting that writers personalize their query to me, or having some other standard with manuscripts I don't feel a need to reciprocate. I once sent a full to an agent who stressed, in great detail, the need to send an crisp, unblemished manuscript and a very professional cover letter. I got the manuscript back wrinkled and stained with coffee. PLUS, her return "professional" letter to me was a handwritten note on a half sheet of paper that had been torn from the other half. (That agent is dead now, and I didn't do it. I didn't! I didn't!). I don't mind receiving a handwritten note on my original cover letter, by the way.

As for getting too bogged down to provide responsible service to the clients I already have, besides limiting open submissions periods, I would not ask for a partial or a full unless I could picture right off, from the initial query, some particular editor who might be interested. Reading more of the manuscript might indicate that wasn't a likely editor after all, but I wouldn't swamp myself with manuscripts with no clue beforehand who might want each one.


Love this approach. Limiting open submission periods seems like a fantastic policy. And, yeah, unprofessionalism on either end is unacceptable. Karma, Munley. Here's to wishing you were an agent!
 


Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: AshK on July 06, 2009, 03:00:30 PM
Form all the way, with thanks, unless I read the full and was on the fence. A form if I requested the full and ended up skimming and never once thought I'd offer. And no referrals unless I absolutely knew for sure the other agent would want it--being referred by someone can make one feel uncomfortably obligated sometimes. 

I imagine an agent spends time glancing and skimming queries, looking for something to really stand out. They get hundreds of letters a week, so they can afford to be picky. I received over a hundred different form rejections. I didn't expect personalized feedback on a mere query. That's what writers' groups are for. I got form rejections on partials. I didn't expect personalized feedback on them, either. That's what critique groups are for. And if I did my job right, I wouldn't get a form rejection on a full--I'd get an offer, but that's only if the agent knows who to sell it to.

Agents get paid to sell, not to do charitable works of mercy-critiques. Honestly, I would have loved helpful feedback from each of them. Shoot, from a fraction of them. But I never expected it, and can't fault them for the form rejections. If I were their client, I'd want them hard at work selling my books--not being nice to a hundred strangers a day.

I guess marketing for such a long time makes me comfortable having these opinions. I was much younger and much more sensitive when I first started this query business, and I know I felt differently back then.
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: Aiala on July 06, 2009, 03:22:06 PM
Agents get paid to sell.

Yup, exactly. So much so, that in their eagerness to sell, they never stop to ask themselves if what they're pushing should be sold. The result is that we end up with such hellish sewage as If I Did It, and literary civilization continues its sorry decline into ruin.   :'(

~A~

Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: bodwen on July 06, 2009, 03:28:24 PM

I blame the publishers. 

An agent might choose to hook a huge advance with the memoirs of a celebrity who was voted out on week 4 of a VH1 dating show, but nobody's forcing the publishers to take the bait.
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: Lizzerbear on July 06, 2009, 03:53:53 PM
Bodwen, by that same logic you must then blame the entire population of America b/c editors have to acquire books that will sell whether they want to or not or they'll lose their jobs. And Americans are far more likely to spend their $ on a poorly ghost-written memoir by the reality-star-of-the-week than even the most brilliant literary fiction ever written. I know that doesn't make it right, but the publishers have to sell enough of those truly terrible celebrity "written" novels and memoirs, in order to be able to afford to also sell good, quality fiction and nonfiction.

Horribly sad, but true.  :crazy:

Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: Aiala on July 06, 2009, 03:55:26 PM
Agents and publishers alike are guilty of colluding to bring forth lowest-common-denominator crap for the sole purpose of enriching themselves. Whether it's of benefit to the consumer is irrelevant. Of course this is simply free-market capitalism at work, I get that, but so is pimping or selling heroin.  :)

~A~


Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: bodwen on July 06, 2009, 03:57:27 PM
And Americans are far more likely to spend their $ on a poorly ghost-written memoir by the reality-star-of-the-week than even the most brilliant literary fiction ever written.

Maybe, if given the choice.  But we're not being given the choice.


Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: twoheadknight on July 06, 2009, 05:46:08 PM
Sorry if I sound bitter, but I'm pretty sure if you laid LIGHT IN AUGUST by Falkner out with some book written by some bimbo from The Hills, your average American would pick the one with the hot chick on the cover, and leave the Faulkner in the dust.

If the consumers didn't buy it, the suppliers wouldn't supply it. 

What we all need to do is stop whining about books that suck, and stop buying sucky books  :zip:.  I'm guilty of buying utter crap books because they seem entertaining, so it's my fault as much as the next guy/gal  :emb:.

If we buy the good stuff, we'll be helping solve the problem.  If not, then we need to get off our high horses and read our Dan Brown quietly in the corner...
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: JeanneT on July 06, 2009, 06:11:33 PM
And unfortunately, I don't like Light In August.  :eek:

I think twoheadknight is right. Whether it's Twilight or the ten-thousandth Harlequin novel that is exactly same as the previous nine-thousand-nine-hundred and ninety-nine, it's the fault of the buying public.

If readers wanted other works, publishers (who ARE in it for the money) would happily provide it.

Sorry if I sound bitter, but I'm pretty sure if you laid LIGHT IN AUGUST by Falkner out with some book written by some bimbo from The Hills, your average American would pick the one with the hot chick on the cover, and leave the Faulkner in the dust.

If the consumers didn't buy it, the suppliers wouldn't supply it. 

What we all need to do is stop whining about books that suck, and stop buying sucky books  :zip:.  I'm guilty of buying utter crap books because they seem entertaining, so it's my fault as much as the next guy/gal  :emb:.

If we buy the good stuff, we'll be helping solve the problem.  If not, then we need to get off our high horses and read our Dan Brown quietly in the corner...
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: Aiala on July 06, 2009, 06:30:57 PM
If readers wanted other works, publishers (who ARE in it for the money) would happily provide it.

First they'd have to learn how to recognize quality. Lately, they can't. Oh, sure, they'll still publish Tom Wolfe and Pat Conroy, but only based on their past stellar track records. Do you seriously imagine they'd consider Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers if some unknown newbie sent it in today?

Please. It'd be rejected in two seconds flat. No vampires, y'see.  (http://forums.snapstream.com/vb/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif)
~A~

Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: bodwen on July 06, 2009, 06:51:36 PM
I don't think its as bleak as all that.  Great books might not be flying off the shelves at the rate of the topical dreck, but they do tend to have a longer shelf life and better selling power -- whenever a publisher is brave enough to put one out and give it the marketing it deserves.  People are still discovering books like "The Princess Bride" while nobody has wondered aloud what Colleen Haskel has been up to lately.  (If you're headed to google to remind yourself who Colleen Haskel is, I rest my case.)

My local Borders has a table called "Summer Reading" that has many good books written in the last ten years.  (I'm just sad that it all fits on one table.) 

It's too bad that publishers don't have a televised celebration of the year's greatest books.  Without the Oscars I think all movies would soon devolve into CGI fests, bromances, chickflicks, and remakes of cheesy 70's franchises.


 
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: SunriseSunset on July 12, 2009, 04:14:57 PM
I'd have pre-prepared queries to suit each type of rejection:

1. I've got something similar
2. The storyline has been done before, so make it more original
3. Too many typos/errors
4. It just didn't grab my attention
5. You need more revisions before sending out more querys

Finishing all with 'Good luck with other agents. This is a form rejection because I don't have time to respond to everyone. Don't be disheartened because Winners never quit, and quitters never win.'
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: isinglass on July 14, 2009, 02:05:18 AM
Yes, I Googled her. No wonder I don't remember. I watched three episodes of the first Survivor and gave up on reality TV.

I truly thought, when they said "Survivor," that it was more of a science/nature show, sort of like reality Castaway, and they'd have to figure out how to catch fish and build shelters. Instead it was, as I told a coworker at the time, "office politics with palm trees."
Title: Re: Okay, how would YOU do it??
Post by: ajcastle on August 03, 2009, 01:17:32 PM
First, I would accept unsolicited queries. I feel like there is so much out there and maybe I'd get lucky enough to snag a gem! So, yeah, I'd want to have the chance to find it.

Second, I would ask for every query to include the first chapter of their book. Now, I say first chapter because it has been my experience that MANY good books I've read start off kind of slow, and maybe take several pages to get going. Not that I think that is good or anything I just think that I would want more time to make a decision. That said, if the query and first page or two completely disinterested me or was incredibly awful, I would stop reading.

I would have a polite standard rejection for queries. I actually don't mind standards. But, I believe in constructive criticism, I don't believe in flat out dashing someones hopes, so I know it would be a very thoughtful rejection query, LOL! I am absolutely of the opinion that just because I think something sucks, doesn't mean it actually does to everyone else.

If I ask to read more, I'd probably ask for a full. But in the rare case I just needed a little longer to see if I was actually interested, I'd ask for a few more chapters. But, I think I would probably know after reading one. In those  cases I would personally respond. I feel like if you get an authors hopes up and request a partial/full, then reject, they should know why. If it just didn't capture my attention enough, I'd say so. If I thought the plot was weak, I'd say so. If something didn't make sense I'd say so. I just feel like it would be my responsibility as someone who has elicited hope in this person to tell them why I'm rejecting it. Maybe my words or reasons would help that person to make the book the best it could be. But that's just me.