Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Wrong Agent Versus Bad Writing

I sent my query package to an agent for whom, I thought, my first novel would be a great fit - his likes and preferences, as well as his willingness to accept first time writers without referrals or references gave me just enough hope to believe that something might just work out.

This unreasonable amount of hope, brewing until I could almost smell it, soon evaporated when I received a rejection letter via email.  It was addressed to me and mentioned the title of my novel - a form rejection but at least it had some some personality.  Although I really like my work, I am not exactly sure what made me think a positive response was in order when novels like The Help were rejected 60 times.  Perhaps a bit too much confidence.

The letter made me rethink my approach and I returned to the questions and answers I put aside just last week, when I thought I was query ready.

Aside from the obvious (does the agent handle the type / genre of my novel, does he accept unsolicited submissions),  what are the key qualities and factors, or that "subjective intangible" that makes agents decide onto which pile the submission is going?  For some, it is the tone of the work, for others the voice, and some just say it cannot be defined but they know it when they see it.  Writing aside, a novel has to have a certain something that connects with the agent and what is a star submission for someone may be a nightmare for another. 

Going back to my list of agents, it is that certain something I have to identify in the books they represent.  Then I may be on the right track.


  1. We've ALL been where you are. ALL of us. Once you have an agent, you do the same thing with publishers.
    You KNOW they're a perfect fit for your MS. And your agent is a professional. Should be easy-peasy.
    But it's not.
    None of the process of getting published is easy, but when you hold your book in your hands, it'll be totally worth it. All of it.

  2. Believe in your work. Keep researching and keep pushing forward. You can only improve. Learn from the experience, and never give up. It's hard work, stressful, and can come with many tears. But there is always support, hope, and Ben and Jerry's to get you through it. :)

  3. I recently read The Help and it blew me away. It's hard to believe that many people would pas. I'm guessing a lot of folks are kicking themselves now.

  4. Sorry! As others have said, keep believing in yourself and in the story you want to tell. One day it will happen if you keep at it. This is what I have to tell myself too :)

  5. Thank you Ladies and Gentleman for your kind words and support! I guess without the struggle writing just would not be the same!

  6. Definitely the wrong agent. Good luck on the next one.