Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What would you do?

You've finished your book. You've edited until you're blue in the face, or maybe indigo. Beta readers have added their suggestions, and you're ready to query it to agents. So you do.

Excitement fills your heart when you get a request for a full. You send it off right away. Time crawls by while you're waiting to hear how much they love your work. Then the email finally arrives. Your heart jumps a little when you see it in your inbox, and you get rid of all the other emails, saving that one for last.

Unfortunately, it not exactly what you were hoping for. There are some nice words complimenting your writing and your plotting, etc., but there was something that prevented the agent from falling head over heels in love with it.

So what do you do? Do you chalk it up to personal preference and move on? Or do you write back to the agent and offer to revise those things that were mentioned and ask if you can submit it again?

You tell me. I'd love to hear your input.


  1. Here is what I did -- nothing.

    I lived that exact moment. The agent was very complimentary, I suppose stating, "it was a fast-paced, fun read. I just couldn't connect with the main character."

    What then, should I have done. I actually tried to change it, but since I don't know how said agent wanted to connect, it was a bit like grasping at straws. I actually sent a follow up email, asking for suggestions but got no reply.

    Chalk it up to personal preference and move on.

  2. I cried. A lot. Then I said, fine, you weren't the right agent for me so I'm glad I've got that out of the way. Now I can get to work making it even better than it was before, and try again.

  3. I agree with Matt. Chalk it up to personal preference.

    You want an agent to really "get" your work and be a champion for it.

    Think of this way: This agent did you a favor by passing on this work so that you can find the agent who will love it.

  4. Chin up. This happened to me and I knew it was about personal preference. Remember, it's a sales game. They have their personal taste, their clients taste, the editors taste and publisher's taste to worry about. Don't take it personal. Get your shield ready and keep submitting that baby. Sale, sale, sale. I wrote a blogpost on this subject. Check it out and stay on the path. http://lmpreston.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-get-published.html

  5. Buy some good books on writing.

    I had a similar problem to Matt (though, thankfully not on a full, just with a writing sample that went out in a query). I didn't know what to do so I bought some books from Amazon.

    Boom! There it was, Chapter 4 of Plot & Structure. I couldn't see WHY the agent didn't connect but it's pretty well explained in the book. I also super-highly recommend Editing for Fiction Writers.

  6. I'd send the agent a nice email asking whether there was something they would have liked changed and that might make them reconsider their decision.
    There's always the chance said agent replies with some feedback.


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