Friday, June 26, 2009

Thanks for the rejection! No, really!

Somewhere in there is the perfect manuscript.
For another agent.

I love rejection. I am not being sarcastic; personalized rejection letters from literary agents can provide you with fresh reader reactions, editing suggestions, and even emotional support. After all, why would an agent waste his or her valuable time writing even a single extra word about a project that had no merit? A form rejection can mean anything from "your writing sucks" to "I love it but don't know how to sell it"... but a personalized rejection means there was something of interest in your query.

Here are some lovely things literary agents have said about the first 30-50 pages of my novel: some received the first 3 chapters of the novel as part of the original query package, and some requested a "partial" before deciding to pass, but all of them had a reasonably substantial chunk of my writing to consider. Some also had a copy of the synopsis, so they could see where the story would eventually lead.

I have combined nine agent comments into a single "response" – the connecting words may be mine, but all substantive comments and flattery are direct quotes.

Dear Carrie,

Thank you for the opportunity to consider your materials. You have a great imagination - I love the premise - and you're a good writer, but I'm sad to say that I just wasn't passionate enough about this to ask to see more. I wish I could offer constructive suggestions, but I thought that the story and writing are snappy and easy to get into, you have a good sense of pace about your writing and a strong wit demonstrated through dialogue, the characters are well-crafted, and the plot is intriguing and well-conceived.

I think it's the kind of thing that really is subjective - why some people adore the book on the top of the NYTimes bestseller list, and others don't. This isn’t right for us, but no doubt another agent will feel differently.

SO sorry, and best of luck in your writing career.

So, what’s bad about that?

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I'd frame that sucker and hang it up for motivation! :)