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Author Topic: extremely close but incredibly far?  (Read 697 times)
moongirl
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« on: October 19, 2017, 12:37:54 PM »

So a month ago I made a topic about my querying situation. I received a good amount of interest on the YA I'm querying, but was sort of losing hope. Flash forward, I entered a pitch contest and things went a bit topsy turvy, and now I have materials (fulls and partials) out with around 15 agents. This sounds like a first world problem, querying edition LOL, I know, but for reference, I've been on the long haul. I started querying this book way too early in fall 2016, but stopped after 2ish weeks and rewrote the entire book from scratch. After several rounds of revision, I started querying for real in May 2017, and I garnered interest, but while I have lots of fulls out now, I have at least 10ish full rejections under my belt already.

The other day I received a really kind, thoughtful, personalized response to a 50 page partial. Everything this agent was saying hit home for me, because I could really tell she read all of my writing with care, and I was offered an R&R based on those early pages. The thing is,reading the full MS could answer a lot of her questions, but I see where she is coming from 100%, because all she had were those beginning pages. I think what really hit me, though, was when she told me that my book was "far from ready".

So I'm standing in a no-man's land, with a lot of agents with my story, and a lot of agents who rejected the story with varying degrees of feedback (a lot of it was pretty polar), and I don't know who to listen to. I've had a lot of eyes on this MS, and one of my betas is a published author in the genre, so I thought I was ready as I ever could've been. But now I'm having all those second thoughts, and a huge bout of imposter syndrome. It's kind of frightening to think all those requests can amount to smoke and mirrors, and not knowing if I could somehow have prevented it. On top of that, I have started a new YA, but now I feel like I can't move on if the book I'm querying is inherently flawed. I'm scared of being the tinkerer who picks their story apart until it's unrecognizable, but I also don't want to be that person who ignores criticism, but it's so hard to find the balance.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? What's the wise thing to do?

Thank you!
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 12:51:12 PM by moongirl » Logged
Tabris
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2017, 04:36:05 PM »

Sit on the comments for a while and think about them. Analyze them. Just because the agent read and commented with care doesn't mean the agent is 100% correct in how to solve the issues. "Far from ready" is a relatively concept, and many agents are willing to take on a book that needs a rewrite, whereas some think a book needs to be 100% publication ready before they'll even think of signing it. One agent's "far from ready" is another agent's "We can do one rewrite together and then send it out."

So don't panic.

If after a while you decide the agent is correct in her comments, start the R&R and see how it feels. If you like the way it's going, keep working and carry those changes through the whole manuscript. If you get rejected in the meantime, so be it. If you finish the R&R before others reject you, then contact the agents who still have the manuscript and explain that you revised for an R&R and ask if they'd like a look at the updated manuscript (citing the kinds of changes you made. "I removed the first two chapters, combined Bill and Ted into one character, punched up the dialogue, and strengthened all the verbs.")

Don't go all imposter syndrome on yourself. You got a disappointing rejection, but that doesn't mean everyone will feel the same way.
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Rachael846
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2017, 04:53:28 PM »

I agree with Tabris. Far from ready can mean so many things, and it might not even always be a bad thing. My agent loved my novel off the bat, but we still did extensive edits on it. That might be just what someone else is looking for. I have several friends who signed with agents and then did total rewrites. It's just a phrase that someone used in passing, probably without even thinking about it, so don't stress over it.

Let the one you're querying sit and work on the new thing. When most of those responses are in you'll either have an offer or you'll have a better idea of what to do with the manuscript.
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gckatz
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2017, 05:07:48 PM »

Without seeing your work, it's impossible to judge what you should take away from the feedback you're getting. Focusing on the detailed mechanics of the querying process is a big mistake. Your book is strong if it's strong.
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moongirl
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2017, 05:29:26 PM »

Thank you all for talking me down. Sorry if it came off as whiny, it's just been such a confusing several months and sometimes feels like a few steps forward and several back! I've revised a few times based on feedback I've gotten from agents, but I think I've gotten to the point where I need to let it rest. The "far from ready" comment probably was just more triggering than it should've been because in my head I was thinking about all the people reading that book right now/before this. But everything is so subjective that sometimes it's difficult to parse out what's right and what isn't.

I'm going to go onward to my next thing for now  Smiley You guys are so kind for taking the time to pull writers down from the metaphorical ledge lol. It means a lot!
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Rachael846
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 05:43:43 PM »

We've all been there...
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jcwrites
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 05:50:36 PM »

There's a ledge? What ledge? *panic* Nobody told me about a ledge!
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J. Paul Barnett
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2017, 06:13:30 PM »

It sounds like you're doing pretty good! I sent out 27 queries over the course of the last 3 weeks, and I have nothing to show for it except 9 rejections and a bunch of no responses. I'm starting to think that it may be time to go back to the drawing board...
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Munley
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 01:19:18 AM »

Sit on the comments for a while and think about them. Analyze them. Just because the agent read and commented with care doesn't mean the agent is 100% correct in how to solve the issues. "Far from ready" is a relatively concept, and many agents are willing to take on a book that needs a rewrite, whereas some think a book needs to be 100% publication ready before they'll even think of signing it. One agent's "far from ready" is another agent's "We can do one rewrite together and then send it out."

So don't panic.

If after a while you decide the agent is correct in her comments, start the R&R and see how it feels. If you like the way it's going, keep working and carry those changes through the whole manuscript. If you get rejected in the meantime, so be it. If you finish the R&R before others reject you, then contact the agents who still have the manuscript and explain that you revised for an R&R and ask if they'd like a look at the updated manuscript (citing the kinds of changes you made. "I removed the first two chapters, combined Bill and Ted into one character, punched up the dialogue, and strengthened all the verbs.")

Don't go all imposter syndrome on yourself. You got a disappointing rejection, but that doesn't mean everyone will feel the same way.



Tabris, I always appreciate the way you have of reminding the author whose book it is. And you do it a way that doesn't rule out the author taking into account others' suggestions that really could improve the book, while ruling out suggestions that don't, according to the author's own vision for the book.

And the suggestions you make regarding pending fulls with other agents, should an author decide to make substantial changes, are also very practical.

And, most of all, your level-headed tone and approach have a very calming effect on me when I feel buffeted by bombardment of conflicting quirks authors encounter during the submission process.

Cheers!
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Tabris
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 05:53:55 AM »

Thank you, Munley. I appreciate that.
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2017, 08:25:30 AM »

And, I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen? All these fulls end up being rejections?

That sucks but isn't the end of the world for either you or that book. Just put it aside and work on the next thing.

My first two querying manuscripts got 17 and 16 fulls respectively, and a few R&Rs. And they were all rejections. I just put them aside for when I'm ready to tackle them again with better skills.
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