Thursday, May 01, 2008

One of My Rare Encouraging Posts

Dear Rejecter,

I am a young writer who actually isn't that naive or arrogant enough to think that my writing deserves publishing (but I can dream right?), however, I at least think everyone is entitled to a response. My young adult novel has gotten to the full stage with five - count them - five different agents. After at least six months for each, the agents have not replied to my check-up e-mails or phone call. One agent said they were still reviewing, but that was two months ago (after the six months). Do I have the right to be frustrated, or should I be happy that someone even might be considering my work? Or maybe the silence of the five is a consensus of suckage toward my writing? What kind of message does it send when you take the time to write a novel, edit it, send it out, get requested, and then hear nothing?

You mean all five agents not only have kept you on hold for 6 months, but also don't answer phone calls or emails? Wow. They're jerks. I would be frustrated. Ignore any exclusives you may have given and start querying other people.

Publishing is frustrating - to writers, to agents, to editors, to the guy who has to design the cover that nobody ends up being happy with - we're all very frustrated. All the time. There's a high burn-out rate in this industry. On the other hand, we occasionally get to make dreams come true, which is pretty cool.

Your manuscript is obviously of some potential for so many agents to have considered it; start querying again and hang in there.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Graphic Novels and Responses

Dear Rejecter:

My question is about the follow-up procedure on the query letters that seem to disappear into the abyss with neither rejection or request for partials/fulls.

I've cast a fairly small net at this point (only eight queries sent) as I researched potential agencies pretty thoroughly in search of agents that might be a fit both for my current fiction novel and also for me in general, since I'm also a graphic novelist (writer/artist) which seems to be a very niche market.

I have had a fairly positive response from those eight queries - two requests for partials; one request for a full; and one flat out rejection. Of the four queries that have had no response, three agencies list on both their website and in my silly little "book about agents" that they respond to queries in a certain amount of time regardless of rejection or acceptance, yet some of these are months beyond those rough dates without a word.

So do I write them off and move on, or requery?

I'll start off by saying that the graphic novel market is a niche market despite its tremendous growth, and I don't know any agents who specialize in it, or even really know if anyone does. I'm fairly sure that if you were a client to an agent and he/she sold work for you, and you approached them about a graphic novel, they would at least make some calls and point you in the direction of getting that published. That's what sub-agents, foreign agents, and whoever else is in the agent's Blackberry are for.

As to the queries that got no response, move on. They got no response. They're rejections. Agent websites are not necessarily accurate to that day, month, or even year. I would exhaust all other avenues before re-querying, and from your high response rate, it seems like you won't need to.