Author Topic: 2 questions: one paranoid, the other just clueless  (Read 2396 times)

Offline queryrighter4m

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2 questions: one paranoid, the other just clueless
« on: June 24, 2009, 02:44:44 PM »
Today (062409) I got an email form rejection to an email query + 4-5 pages sent on 120308. It made me think of 2 questions, one paranoid, one clueless:

1 (the paranoid question): My terrible, awful, no-good query for THE PARROT PRINCE has been roosting (and is still roosting) among topmost branches in the QT QUERY HELP and QUERY REVIEW sections. Do you think agents ever look in those branches? If they do, do you think they ever say to themselves, "Hey, that person can't even write a query. Her novel must be terrible. Plus, she's thickheaded and can't seem to absorb or apply basic helpful advice on editing and rewriting. I'd better send her a rejection." (It seems unlikely in this particular case, since THE PARROT PRINCE was called PRECIOUS METTLE in the query. But in OTHER cases.....what do you think?) A related question might be, Do you think agents ever find promising-looking novels described in the QT forum and send the author a note saying, "HEY, GIVE IT HERE." Since they would not react this way to my novel, it's a moot question for me, but maybe for one of you.....?

2 (the clueless question): If an agent doesn't like the query, how likely is it that she reads the attached pages? I realize this has to differ from agent to agent, but I guess the question comes down to, If I get a form rejection, should I assume the query is bad or that the pages aren't appealing either?

3 (bonus question): An agent once said my writing showed promise but that she didn't love my premise. I'd sent her a query, a chapter, and a synopsis. Does that mean my novel has a nice personality but is the wrong animal? Or does it mean I'm no good at writing a query and synopsis? Okay, so this question is impossible to answer. Maybe just chew on it a little and spit it back.

Offline bodwen

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Re: 2 questions: one paranoid, the other just clueless
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2009, 03:30:33 PM »

If they do, do you think they ever say to themselves, "Hey, that person can't even write a query. Her novel must be terrible. Plus, she's thickheaded and can't seem to absorb or apply basic helpful advice on editing and rewriting. I'd better send her a rejection."

Doubtful.  If my experience on NB query experiment was anything to go by, agents just rubberstamp-reject queries by the dozen until one of them makes them pause and ask for a partial.

Do you think agents ever find promising-looking novels described in the QT forum and send the author a note saying, "HEY, GIVE IT HERE." Since they would not react this way to my novel, it's a moot question for me, but maybe for one of you.....?

We can dream.  I don't think agents scout forums, but they will hunt you down if you become world famous.

If an agent doesn't like the query, how likely is it that she reads the attached pages?

I've heard that most form an opinion based on the letter and then glance at the first couple of lines.

Okay, so this question is impossible to answer.

Yep.  I've had a handful tell me that I'm a great writer, but they hate my premise.  I've had a handful of agents tell me that they love my premise, but that I'm not a good writer.  I've had agents form reject me on partials, some form reject me on fulls, and some flat out never get back to me on requested materials.  I can't read anything into any of it.  It makes no sense.

Unless an agent makes specific suggestions that mention a character or a plot-point that is unique to your novel, take it with a grain of salt and assume she tells that to all of the gals.  There is no point to changing a novel to please someone who doesn't want to see it again.  Unless, of course, you are in full agreement with the proposed changes.

Offline MaryL

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Re: 2 questions: one paranoid, the other just clueless
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2009, 04:55:44 PM »
Agents can barely keep up with the queries sent to them directly.  I seriously doubt they troll our forum.  The only reason an agent would possibly take the time it pop in here is if they have a google alert on their name or a client's name and were alerted to a mention on the thread that looked like it needed attention.  They really are that busy.

At conferences and workshops, I've heard agents say they request based on queries alone and I've heard others say they look at the pages even if the query sucks.  Everyone is different. 

As for your book itself, just as with readers selecting books to purchase, agents have specific tastes.  I had several offers of representation and there was no consensus on my manuscript even then.  It was like the literary three bears.  One said my pace was too fast, one said it was too slow and another said it was juuuuuuust right.  Hang in there.  It is a long, drawn-out process.  You'll find an agent that loves your work if you keep at it.  Don't try to second guess something this subjective.

Best of luck. 
I write as Marissa Clarke and Mary Lindsey for Penguin/Random House and Entangled Publishing
Repped by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
http://www.marissaclarke.com

Offline Aiala

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Re: 2 questions: one paranoid, the other just clueless
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2009, 05:10:40 PM »
It is a long, drawn-out process. 

That's a fact. Assuming that you get an agent right away, who then sells your work right away, the practical reality is that your book might be out sometime in 2011.  :)

~A~
"Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate" ~ Dante Alighieri, Inferno
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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7286455-she-s-my-dad
http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewpoetry_all.

Offline MaryL

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Re: 2 questions: one paranoid, the other just clueless
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009, 07:00:48 PM »
It is a long, drawn-out process. 

That's a fact. Assuming that you get an agent right away, who then sells your work right away, the practical reality is that your book might be out sometime in 2011.  :)

~A~

So true.  I'm in submission now.  If I'm fortunate enough to sell my book, I won't get to hold it until 2011.  Kinda sucks.   
I write as Marissa Clarke and Mary Lindsey for Penguin/Random House and Entangled Publishing
Repped by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
http://www.marissaclarke.com

Offline queryrighter4m

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Re: 2 questions: one paranoid, the other just clueless
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2009, 05:25:13 PM »
Okay, thanks!