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All Things Rejection! (1 Viewer)

luckyscars

WF Veterans
My find-an-agent journey so far for my new novel. I started submitting the queries/synopses/samples in mid-July so about a month later in:

19 submissions total sent (I paused submitting last week to start a new project)...

...of which

9 rejections
- 6 'wasn't the right book for me'
- 1 Not taking new clients
- 1 stated 'didn't engage with the voice'
- 1 praised the book but advised they aren't the right fit for genre -- referred to another agent at same agency

2 requests for full (1 just received today:))

8 still waiting for a response
 

Tiamat

Patron
My find-an-agent journey so far for my new novel. I started submitting the queries/synopses/samples in mid-July so about a month later in:

19 submissions total sent (I paused submitting last week to start a new project)...

...of which

9 rejections
- 6 'wasn't the right book for me'
- 1 Not taking new clients
- 1 stated 'didn't engage with the voice'
- 1 praised the book but advised they aren't the right fit for genre -- referred to another agent at same agency

2 requests for full (1 just received today:))

8 still waiting for a response
Well that's all sorts of awesome. I mean, nine rejections less so, but two requests for full feels like it requires at least the first few steps of a happy dance.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Well that's all sorts of awesome. I mean, nine rejections less so, but two requests for full feels like it requires at least the first few steps of a happy dance.

Definitely! I honestly tend toward believing a single acceptance (it's not really an acceptance, but it's not a rejection yet at least!) is generally a fluke so two definitely feels more vindicating. At the very least it means my query and sample is working :)
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
Dialogue's weird. When I started writing I had a kind of phobia about it, which I think was partly down to not really being comfortable with the formatting (I was fairly ignorant regarding grammar) but also I just...didn't feel comfortable with it. I think because most of us by the time we start writing fiction are pretty well schooled in regular prose through essays and stuff so just describing things was always pretty easy for me. Dialogue, though, isn't really something I was ever taught much and certainly not something I had ever done before I tried writing my first story.

So I avoided dialogue for a good couple of years of tinkering, always sticking to short stories written in a way that didn't necessitate it. Of course, that's pretty limiting so eventually I bit the bullet. I then wrote a bunch of stories that had 'dialogue' but it was really pretty bad -- like, extremely rudimentary sort of doing the bare minimum, like this:

After more practice, I started to really love dialogue. It's still my favorite part of writing, to the point I sometimes make conversations go on too long or try to make them too convoluted. I find writing dialogue now to be the part of the story that feels the most alive, if that makes sense? A good dialogue starts to feel like a musical jam or drunken dance, you don't have to really think about it but can feel it. When it's good, you hear the voices speaking.

So I'm not sure how long you've been writing for but I would say it's something that will change and possibly quite dramatically. I believe that if you can talk and listen, you can write dialogue.

When I said hard, I didn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I just think it takes more creativity. But like you, I love writing dialogue, and I do hear the voices speaking....that's the hard part...it takes more concentration.

And after I've writtien a good conversation...I feel incredibly statisfied with myself...lol!!
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
A rejection letter which sounds encouraging I received today.
Dear (me),

Thank you very much for submitting, but I'm sorry to say I can't accept "(erased the title since it can be searched with google on the web and I workshopped it here)" for (publication name omitted). There are some fine points made here, about the blurry intersection of humanity and technology, and more importantly, there is a palpable care for the subject matter at hand, evident in the passion with which you dissect it.

That said, precisely because the subjects you are dealing with are so simultaneously so delicate and so powerful, I wish there had been more subtlety in your approach to them, which would have benefitted the overall story. Maybe slowing it down, or infusing more scenes of introspection rather than dialogue could be one way of dong this.
I hope this helps. Please try us with another piece again in the future?
Sincerely,
(name omitted)
(publisher's name omitted) Editorial Staff

A close call. It sounds like to me they wanted less dialogue and more reflection by the main character in the scene. I don't know what else they could have meant. It's clear when I write a positive theme that my odds increase of getting published. It's much better than a cynical view of the world.
 
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Tiamat

Patron
Sounds like the best kind of rejection. (Not that anyone likes rejections, but silver linings and all that). An encouraging personal rejection with some solid feedback. I got a personal rejection yesterday for a humor piece I subbed, and the feedback I got basically boiled down to, "We just didn't think it was funny." I'll take your sort of rejection over mine any day. :)
 
Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores are awesome rejectors, because they'll give you all the editor's notes if you ask. So I got a rejection from them, but with feedback from six different readers (The readers didn't all agree, of course!). I love it because it not only helps improve your piece, it gives you a feel for the reading process, different tastes, how your writing affects people in different ways. Very useful.
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
Ok, so this just happened!!

I read that Margaret Atwood said it was important for novelists to write short stories so that you get some short term recognition. Coming home on the ferry last week, I picked up the local free publication for the small city I was traveling from. I thought it was a good mix of news and personal interest stories. There was an announcement of a new editor taking the role as news editor.

I sent her a nice congratulatory email, and praised her on her significant background. She has strong credentials and writes novels herself.

I told her that I would be moving to the area and that I was currently writing a novel, but looking to contribute to a periodical in some way. I attached a sample of two previously published articles, ones that had been highly praised.

I'm not sure what I expected, but not what I got! Within minutes I got an email that said:

"Hi Taylor,

Thank you for the kind words.

We are not currently accepting submissions from writers, but I will happily keep your name on file.

Good luck with your novel!

Cathy McNeil"

The first thing that came to mind is the rejections you folks have been talking about. This is the first time I have received a rejection. Typically I am asked to submit articles to professional magazines. I don't know how busy she is, but it seems to me in a small town when communicating with a taxpayer, a bit more finesse is required, especially when you are only providing a free newspaper that survives on local support.

Is this normal?

What else, might I expect?

Is there something else I should have said, not said or done in the first email?

What would you do next?

 

Tiamat

Patron
That does look a lot like a form rejection. I'm not sure there's necessarily anything different you should have done though. You reached out and tried to find an "in" with this new person, and unfortunately she shot you down. She could have made her rejection a little more fluffy if she were so inclined, but I don't think the bare bones of her email is unprofessional or even atypical for that sort of thing. (Though I have little experience with this sort of query, I imagine non-responses to be fairly common as well.) And maybe she really will keep your name on file. I don't know that I would "do" anything here. If anything, send a quick email to say thanks for the response (though this is not needed, IMO) and get back to writing.

On the bright side, the first rejection probably sucks the most, so that one's out of the way! If you have any stories ready to be subbed, I'd recommend doing so. An acceptance letter takes the sting out of all the rejections that came before it.
 

Darren White

co-owner and admin
Staff member
Co-Owner
This is very normal, it is even a kind rejection :)

I get these rejections regularly, I even do NOT get rejections, but silence.

As Flashes editor, I am trying to give people a decent reply, but that is not always possible. When the amount of submitted work is overwhelming, I am glad to be able to send out a semi-automated response.

Try not to see it as a personal thing. Keep writing and submitting.
 

john1298

Senior Member
One has the positive side of abrupt refusals - there are no unnecessary hopes, you just take up the job again.
 

ehbowen

Senior Member
First four queries (all to the same agency, my very first choice) sent today...will any of them connect? Fingers crossed!
 

ehbowen

Senior Member
You sent four queries to one agency? You’re typically not supposed to do that...

Okay. Live and learn. But it was to four agents at a major agency who were listed as being willing to consider open submissions, and if I could pick any agency to represent me it would be this one. I am being honest about that. We'll see if that gets me anywhere.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Okay. Live and learn. But it was to four agents at a major agency who were listed as being willing to consider open submissions, and if I could pick any agency to represent me it would be this one. I am being honest about that. We'll see if that gets me anywhere.

I would suggest you check their submission guidelines right away (should always do this) and see if they mention a policy on it. If they don't mention a policy, I would reach out to them and check if it's a problem.

Different agencies are different but the general rule is you can query multiple agents (and you should) but only one per agency at a time. This is because agents don't want to be in competition with others at their same organization, for obvious reasons. If/when an agent rejects, you may be able to query another agent at their company, or they may have a rule that you cannot -- they may share work internally, negating the need for multiple queries.

Bottom line is you don't want to flout the rules on this stuff. At best, it makes it seem like you're unsure on the etiquette and, at worst, some agencies will see it as spamming and actually blacklist you. I don't think that's very usual (and it's pretty harsh) but that would be super unfortunate, especially if you really like the agency.

https://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2018/05/querying-another-agent-at-same-agency.html?m=1

https://bookendsliterary.com/2016/09/29/multiple-submissions-to-the-same-agency/
 

Golden_Age

Senior Member
I started submitting a few months ago (in the UK). So far I've received six straight rejections and a few I'm waiting to hear back from. Not sure whether to rework the opening based on this and no personalised feedback! The opening was longlisted in an established first chapter competition this year, so it makes me wonder what needs changing (something obviously does but no idea what).
 

Tiamat

Patron
I started submitting a few months ago (in the UK). So far I've received six straight rejections and a few I'm waiting to hear back from. Not sure whether to rework the opening based on this and no personalised feedback! The opening was longlisted in an established first chapter competition this year, so it makes me wonder what needs changing (something obviously does but no idea what).
Could just be that you haven't found the right market/agent yet though. Six seems like a relatively small number as a start.


Tiamat said:
Well I woke up this morning to a rejection from Hypnos, but a maybe from Wyldblood. I'm assuming the latter only emailed me because their website says they respond to all submissions within 14 days and today is day 14. (That's really awesome of them, for the record.) So they replied and said they loved it and asked to hold it for a bit longer while they make their final selections. I said yes of course, because duh (and re: the sim sub conversation, I reiterated that the same story is still pending one other place, because etiquette). That said, every time I've gotten a "maybe," it has always turned into a no later. Here's hoping that trend gets broken...
Well for the first time ever, I had a "maybe" become a "yes." Wyldblood bought my frog prince rewrite. It's going in their January issue. Yay!
 
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EternalGreen

Senior Member
I had a 8-cent-per-word publisher say that, while they liked the story, it's setting, and characters, the editors would have preferred slightly more character interaction towards the beginning to increase the emotional conflict within the protagonist.

You might say it's hard to make it in the SFWA-qualifying market.
 

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