Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This Isn't Right For Me

For those of you who have e-queried me (using my website submission form) and gotten a pass, you know that my standard response is that your project "... isn't right for me."

I chose this language carefully. Your project might not be right for me because I think there isn't sufficient publishing viability, or it might not be right for me because it's in a genre I'm not interested in representing right now. It might not be right for me because I think your writing could be improved, or it might not be right for me because you can write but the story lacks originality.

The common thread to all of these possibilities and any others is that I've passed on reviewing your work based on my own subjective criteria. So please remember to take my response with a grain of salt and continue to query. But please don't ask for for more details about why I'm passing or a list of other agents to try.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I certainly understand your position. However, it sure makes it tough for us not knowing that we might need to go in some direction -- writing, plot, etc.

But, it's decent of you to put this post out there.

Karen Duvall said...

I agree with anon. Thanks for posting this. I pretty much gathered your meaning when I got my R from you, so it's no biggy. I kind of fumbled with that online form you've got going on your website. It was weird. I'm used to writing a letter.

Anonymous said...

I think any writer who does his or her homework knows that agents rarely give feedback to rejected authors. When an agents offers representation and is vested in getting you published, you'll get all the feedback you need -- from someone who believes in your book.

Writers groups and classes and websites are out there to offer feedback free of charge -- so that writers can be on the right track.

December/Stacia said...

Anon, that's what critique partners and beta readers are for. Tastes are so subjective, what one person loves my be what another dislikes. Look at all the people who have gotten some kind of feedback from agents and it's been contradictory. You have to trust yourself. :-)

Personally I loved the online form. 500 whole words for synopsis? My letter query uses less than half that. I got to expand it a lot.

And I really don't mean for this response to sound so, ah, butt-kissy. So please forgive the buttkissyness.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid my original comment has been misunderstood.

I'm simply seeking a clue such as "your writing isn't strong enough" or "the plot has flaws" or simply "It's not something I'm interested in representing" Not a big long critique, but a hint of what to rework, etc.

I've come to hate "I didn't fall in love with it."

And yes, I know all the stories about a famous author being rejected numerous times by agents and publishing houses. I understand it is personal taste, etc.

Jaye Wells said...

Agents are in a tough position. No matter what they say in a rejection, someone is going to take exception to it. If he said, "your writing isn't strong enough" then inevitably someone would get their feelings hurt. Far better to distill it down to the basic fact of "it's not right for me."

Kristan said...

Ah, okay, now that I've gotten through more of your archives, I see how... established, this policy of yours is. (Granted, not everyone submitting to you has necessarily read your blog.)

I also think that what anonymous (on Jan 23 ad 7:30 pm) said is true, and something positive for all us writers to keep in mind:

When an agents offers representation and is vested in getting you published, you'll get all the feedback you need -- from someone who believes in your book.