Monday, February 28, 2011

Ho Hum, Another Partial Request

Technically, the agent asked for the first three chapters "if no other agent has your material."  I decided to interpret that liberally as "if no agent has offered you representation" and sent the stuff.  (I explained it to him and owned up to the full and partial I had out there.) He said I'd hear from him in a few days, so watch this space on Friday for news of another rejection...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Sting of Rejection

You develop a pretty thick skin doing this query-your-novel thing.  You have to. I've had rejections that have been particularly disappointing, but never one that devastated me.  This last one, though, has left me feeling battered.

For one thing, I let my guard down.  Here was an agent who, reading the first 100 pages, said I was a "fine writer" and that he was "really enjoying" my book.  Not just that.  After I'd sent him the rest, we got into a little colloquy -- had I sent the book to anyone else, any publishers, was this my first novel?  And more.  He was going to finish over the weekend.  All of which lent the impression that he was not just enjoying the ms., but enthusiastic about it.

I kept the cynical me locked in the closet.  I allowed myself to think that this time, just maybe, I had found someone who got it.  I read the book over the weekend, too, wanting to refresh myself on why he might have liked those first 100 pages.  I came away, again, thinking, This is a pretty good book.  Not great.  Not Pulitzer material.  But pretty darn good.

Then, the reply.  He liked my writing style a great deal.  My characters are sympathetic and interesting.  But he thought the story's narrative lost pace and power as the book progressed.  (Odd, because everyone else, myself included, thinks it starts off slow, picks up steam as it goes along, then rockets to the end.)  Maybe I could have survived that.

Then came this.  He might be wrong, but he was fairly sure others will feel similarly.

I have never had an agent say that to me.  They've said they liked it but didn't think they could sell it in today's market.  They've said it just didn't do it for them.  And all manner of other things.

But no one has ever said, in essence, that I shouldn't bother with anyone else, that my novel is a failure.

It felt like a sledgehammer to the sternum.  What do I make of this?  It's not like the guy is some fly-by-night nobody: one of the reasons I allowed myself to get excited was because he's someone who's been around a long time, has an estimable track record, knows his stuff.  Is he the only one who has dared to tell me the truth?  Have all my friends who've told me how much they liked it, despite my entreaties to be brutally honest, been lying to me?  (Not all of them were uncritical.  One of my friends said he thought my protagonist was "stupid.")  Have those agents who read the full, said they liked it but didn't feel it was saleable, just been feeding me a line?  Why didn't they just give me a pro-forma "not for me" rejection?


I haven't been this depressed since a certain woman, the [very bad word], broke my heart in 1983.  Before many of you were born.  And that's part of it.  I can't just devote another 10 or 15 years to honing my craft.  It won't be all that long before I can start claiming senior discounts at the movies.

Not that this changes my plans.  I'm just going to run out the string: one full, two partials out.  Then send the thing off to independent publishers.  Then Kindle it, I suppose.  Try to write another book, if I can ever find the time, which I can't, because I have to spend every waking moment trying to earn enough to pay the bills.

But really: fairly sure others will feel similarly.


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Answer Is No

I don't want to go into it, but the answer is no.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

OMG: 100-Page Partial Leads to Full Request!

It was such a short e-mail I was sure it was going to say, "Thanks, but in today's market..."

Instead, it said, "I'm really enjoying [the book]... You're a fine writer... So please send the rest."

OMG.  I try not to get too excited about these things.  But, you know, the bad news has been so frequent, and the good news so...non-existent.  And this is a real agent with a reputation in the mystery/thriller genres.

Of course, the cynic in me thinks, the only other time a partial led to a full request was from the Nice Agent Lady, and we all know what happened there.

Still...  "I'm really enjoying...  You're a fine writer..."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Five Months Later...a Partial Request

Wow, 2011 is just taking a crazy road.  First, a partial from a snail mail query.  Now, a partial request from QBI, released on an unsuspecting AgentWorld back in September!  From the Grasping-at-Straws Department, this must mean 2011 will bring something really unsuspected -- like an offer of representation.  Right?  Right?  Anyone?

Oh, and regarding Miss Nudge-or-Not, from comments on Absolute Write, it's clear she's backed up, 'cause she's not getting back to anyone.  So we'll just wait her out.

What other weird stuff will 2011 bring?

Friday, February 11, 2011

First-Ever Partial Request From Snail Mail Query

Well, new ground was broken today with a request for a partial from a snail-mail query.  That's never happened before. I don't get too excited about this stuff anymore, but it's the first positive reaction to QBIII.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

To Nudge or Not to Nudge

That is the question.  One agent's had my full since mid-September, so not quite five months.  Should I bother to check in with her or just let it ride?  Seems to me the few times I've ever nudged all I did was prompt a reject, but I'm sort of anxious to clear the decks on this thing.