Rejection Stats

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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wildheart
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by wildheart » June 11th, 2010, 7:36 am

BlancheKing wrote:Thanks wildheart! love the description =) my roommate's having a field day over it.

(my real name is pronounced like "Shoo-in", but it's spelled like "Chew-on". In my native language, my name means "white", but in English, it just connotes that I'm a rubber bone. I think "Blanche" sounds better, don't you?)

Interesting premises Nessa. I just have one suggestion: find another phrase to use besides "concentration camps". That phrase is too closely associated with Holocaust to be used as a description.
Wow. I'm kind of envious. Your name is interesting. Mine is so...normal. And that one doesn't make me think of a little old lady at all. :D
http://wildheart90.blogspot.com/
A mother. A writer. A dreamer.

writeaskew
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by writeaskew » June 12th, 2010, 12:04 pm

This thread is a huge comfort to me, so i'm jumping in.

Queries sent out:15
Requests for partial:0
Requests for full:0
Rejections: 4, two personalized-one with a request to send other work, two no-responses in alloted time.

It's still early in the game, right? I'm trying to focus on my other WIP's and ignore that I've not gotten any responses.

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FK7
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by FK7 » June 12th, 2010, 2:03 pm

February wrote: First Manuscript
Queries sent: One
Requests for full: One

Manuscript Two
Queries sent: Two
Request for Full: One
Form Rejections: Two (one was from the first agent who said the kind things about manuscript one- that agent also requested the second full)
Is there a reason why you only sent out two queries for the first MS? Is it because you think if it doesn't get you an agent within the first two queries, you'll never get an agent?

You should have stopped after 100+ queries, not +2. EVERY bestseller authors out there have been rejected more than twice. You have to query a lot wider than that.

You seem to be dealing with a lot of anxiety and uncertainties. If you don't know her yet, Miss Snark will help you appeal those fears by providing a lot of cluesauce :) It is THE reference in lit agent blogs... she's out of business now, but the entire blog is archived. It is a gold mine.
http://misssnark.blogspot.com/

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FK7
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by FK7 » June 12th, 2010, 2:06 pm

writeaskew wrote:This thread is a huge comfort to me, so i'm jumping in.

Queries sent out:15
Requests for partial:0
Requests for full:0
Rejections: 4, two personalized-one with a request to send other work, two no-responses in alloted time.

It's still early in the game, right? I'm trying to focus on my other WIP's and ignore that I've not gotten any responses.
It's still very, very early! Depends of the genre, but your stats are on par with most of us, and personalized rejections are better than form ones.

CafeCliche
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by CafeCliche » June 12th, 2010, 2:24 pm

All right, I was reluctant to share my stats since y'all are doing so much better than I am, but looks like some of you that are just starting out need a little perspective!

Queries sent: 51
Still waiting on: 14
Rejections (or no-responses): 32
Personalized: 1 (said the premise and atmosphere were good, but the voice and the MC's age would make it a "hard sell")
Partial requests: 2 (1 from an R&R of the first ten pages)
Straight-to-Full requests: 2 (1 received a very kind rejection already, with an offer to send more work)

I started querying in February, and I didn't get any requests until March. I had to change my query letter pretty radically a few times. And if that personalized rejection is anything to go by, there are quite a few agents who don't think my MS is salable! But on the other hand, one agent was enthusiastic enough to request the full over the phone, and one was interested enough to help me rework the first chapter before requesting a partial. Even the full rejection that I've gotten already gave me the kindest compliments I've ever received. There is no one definitive querying experience. It's different for everyone.

You guys are doing fine. Just keep querying.

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February
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by February » June 13th, 2010, 2:49 am

FK7 wrote:
Is there a reason why you only sent out two queries for the first MS? Is it because you think if it doesn't get you an agent within the first two queries, you'll never get an agent?

You should have stopped after 100+ queries, not +2. EVERY bestseller authors out there have been rejected more than twice. You have to query a lot wider than that.

You seem to be dealing with a lot of anxiety and uncertainties. If you don't know her yet, Miss Snark will help you appeal those fears by providing a lot of cluesauce :) It is THE reference in lit agent blogs... she's out of business now, but the entire blog is archived. It is a gold mine.
http://misssnark.blogspot.com/
Hi! Thank you for your response to my post.

I actually only queried the first MS once. Knee-jerk reaction to my first rejection was that I then doubted it- I thought that the second one was better but after realizing what the first agent really said about it, I know that I have to query it widely before I give up on it. Only trouble is I've now read so many agent blogs (I sent that first query out in January, have been really sick this year and so it slowed everything down) that I'm afraid to send it out to a lot of them because they'll autoreject due to the length (it's around 50K words but that is after polishing, editing, killing darlings, etc). I have actually been debating if I should add to it. My gut (and my beta readers) say no. Second MS is double the length, literally.

I have learned so much about the submission process since that first query went out (I have been reading Snark recently, in fact coincidentally I quoted her on my blog tonight! thank you for the link) I think what it comes down to is that I just have to get over my stage fright and just send the darn things out. Then whatever happens, happens.

I kind of got that deer in the headlights thing going for awhile where I was doubting the work but I have to remind myself that work was enough to get the attention and a request for a full on the very first query letter I ever sent to anyone (and I started with an agent that I never expected I'd get even a form rejection from, and also at the time I didn't realize that you're supposed to not send queries to one agent at a time LOL. I know. Dumb bunny. I'm getting better) and an invitation to send future work so it can't be that bad.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. I think at this point my biggest obstacle is myself. That's why I'm here, learning from the blogs, learning from nice people like you. I'll get better at it all, I'll gut up and send them out, and then if it's meant to be, it'll be.

Thanks again for noticing my post and responding.

bru

BlancheKing
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by BlancheKing » June 13th, 2010, 3:57 am

@ February: Sound like you're doing well, but if you are still unsure, why not post an excerpt here comments? Seeings as there's a lot of writers here, one of them must be able to point out something useful, right?
One manuscript, One dream, One stack of stamps that needs to be bought...
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J. T. SHEA
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by J. T. SHEA » June 13th, 2010, 3:10 pm

In mythological terms, the Threshold Guardians are howling at you, February. Remember, when and if you get past them, they can transform into Helpful Companions.

Knee-jerk reactions and doubts are par for the course. Length? It should be as long as it needs to be. And do you really want to work with an agent who auto-rejects? Take dictation from your characters, not a whole lot of agent blogs that disagree with each other in any case.

I second Blanche regarding posting an excerpt here.

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February
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by February » June 13th, 2010, 8:23 pm

Take dictation from your characters, not a whole lot of agent blogs that disagree with each other in any case.
Thanks Blanche and J.T.!

I love what you said J.T. because that is actually the tag line on my blog- the characters are in control, I just taking dictation. When it's really working they're telling me the story and taking me along.

I know you're both right, I should post an excerpt here on the forums. Scary thought- will ponder what to post.

Thank you so much for your encouragement.

I've realized just recently that the reason I've been so restless lately is that I've got my priorities backwards when it comes to writing for the first time in my life. For the past thirteen years especially (during which I've written something every single day of one sort or another) it's always been about the characters and the stories- I couldn't stop telling the stories. I never considered doing anything more with them than posting them online.

Only when I started to consider making an attempt at getting published (after losing and regaining my sight as it happens, when I couldn't read or write for long stretches during surgical recovery I had a lot of time to think) did I ever think about that more than the writing itself. That shift in priorities (in the wrong direction) is why I'm uncertain now about it all.

I need to reverse that today- to get back to the pure love of the writing that has always been its own reward. I've got to look at what I've really got to work with in the two manuscripts I have and then if I start to query them again and something happens- it'll be amazing. If not, though I know that one thing I will always do is write.

I never needed validation before that the work was good, I wrote the stories the characters told me. Only after all these months of reading mostly agency/editor blogs and sites (and incidentally, actually writing a lot less. I wanted to be well into my third novel by now, the idea is getting away from me) have I begun to get such stage-fright.

That stops now. Sorry to post and run, but I've got to write something. Right now. And I sincerely apologize if this is taking the thread off topic- I'm still new here so moderators if you need to delete, please do. I now return you to your regularly scheduled rejection stats- when I get more of my own, I'll add them.

Thanks again everyone
~bru

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Heather B
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by Heather B » June 15th, 2010, 5:51 am

I sent my first query out, to one agency and received one rejection - on my 21st birthday. Needless to say it devastated me so I put the MS in a drawer and set to work on the one I am currently polishing.

I have no delusions that I have to send out a mass of queries but at the time I was a pretty big newbie - still kind of am. That said, the submitted MS was not ready to see the light of day. It needs a LOT of work but until then I have my WIP to query and I plan to pile up the rejection stats. :D
Journey to the Cuckoo's Nest

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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by Margo » June 15th, 2010, 11:48 am

J. T. SHEA wrote:Length? It should be as long as it needs to be. And do you really want to work with an agent who auto-rejects?
I guess I have to be different and disagree. First drafts should be as long as they need to be. Finished novels, especailly first novels, need to (gasp) conform to industry needs. If you are writing for yourself and don't care if you ever get published (it would be nice but beside the point), then 'as long as it needs to be' is never a problem. In the business of publishing, length is a very real consideration for quite a few reasons. One can argue that the writing of the 200k YA from a first time novelist is so exceptional that the agent and editor will make the exception, but the truth is an awful lot of agents will reject the work based on the length stated in the query...without ever seeing the ms. You rolls the dice, you takes your chances. I've never seen the point in adding additional obstacles to the already difficult task of getting an agent and publisher.

And if you want to cross off every agent who auto-rejects for any reason (length, failure to follow sub guidelines, obvious failure to research the agent's tastes and genres), then prepare to cross pretty much all of them off the list. You can't deal with 8-12k queries a year and coddle authors who don't feel the need to learn about the industry, don't follow guidelines, and don't recognize that publishing is a business.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

CafeCliche
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by CafeCliche » June 15th, 2010, 1:26 pm

Sent a new round of queries last week. On one hand, I got quite a few rejections yesterday... but then I also got a full request this morning, so I think I'll live!

New stats:

Queries sent: 53
Still waiting on: 12
Rejections: 36
- Personalized: 3
Partial requests: 2
Straight-to-Full requests: 3 (1 R so far)

The only negative thing about the full request is that now I'm biting my nails four times over! Here's hoping one of them gets back to me soon.

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February
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by February » June 16th, 2010, 12:02 am

Congratulations CafeCliche on the new full request! Good luck!!!

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d minus
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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by d minus » June 16th, 2010, 9:07 am

d minus wrote:Genre: literary fiction
Total queries sent to date: 10
Queries still awaiting a response: 3
Rejections to date: 5
Form rejections: 3
Personalized rejections: 2 (1 extremely nice / 1 very, very mean)
Requests for pages: 3 (1 pending)
Requests for manuscript: 1 (pending)
thought I'd update this (and yes, I'm quoting myself... shut up about it).

Genre: literary fiction revised to be more marketable
Total queries sent to date: 32
Queries still awaiting a response: 4
Rejections to date: 20 (7 dreaded non responses)
Requests for partial: 4 (3 rejected / 1 full, since rejected)
Requests for full: 5 (4 rejected / 1 pending)

I don't get excited over requests, anymore... I just expect the "given today's market...." routine. :(

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Re: Rejection Stats

Post by BlancheKing » June 16th, 2010, 4:01 pm

d minus wrote:I don't get excited over requests, anymore... I just expect the "given today's market...." routine. :(
I'm with you dude... I use to day-dream about meeting the material request agent. Now it's just "+1" to the "sent reply" stack.
One manuscript, One dream, One stack of stamps that needs to be bought...
Writing Process: http://blancheking.blogspot.com/

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