Monday, September 12, 2005

Kiss of Literary Death

I had an agent in NY hang on to my Patriot manuscript since February and so I decided to give little poke inthe form of informing her of my competition coming out in December and a bit of the controversy surrounding the stories. Mine was rejected the next day. Overnight, my writing was judged "I think this is a great idea and that there is a solid market for this type of book, but I’m afraid I just didn’t feel strongly enough about the writing to be the best advocate for your work" less than stellar. Yeah right.

9 Comments:

Blogger mike w said...

Whatever happened to professional courtesy? Tie your manuscript up for six months and only when you prompt then do they act. I think agents are over rated. Use your blog to get your book published. I am down on agents. The only thing they are good for --is ten percent.

8:04 AM  
Blogger jogn said...

Mike W.
You write as if you have no understanding of the publishing business. I have been with a New York house for over 23 years. Day in and Day out I read manuscripts and am quickly able to determine weak writing from exceptional wtiting. Rarely am I wrong. I would suggest you stick to whatever it is you do--and keep the publishing advice to yourself.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I refuse to believe my writing is weak even though rewriting is a constant endeavor with any writer. It is with me. It's the controversy with the other more connected writer that doomed me not anything I've.

3:50 PM  
Blogger The Late Mitchell Warren said...

Don't give up, Mark. But such encouragement from me is unneeded, as I know you're quite the stubborn enthusiast. (And in pro-writing, stubborn perseverance is essential)

I've gotten quite a few of those notes too, "good but..." and "interesting but..." and if anything, it just shows that it IS good stuff, but they just don't want to take a chance.

As always, good luck in fearlessly battling the odds. Maybe it'll all be worth it someday.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks Mitchell. I'm the cussid sort that won't give up indeed.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

It's your basic form rejection letter. In nonfiction, the subject of the book, the perceived market and the competitive books are the key factors. Quality of writing lags far behind the others. The writing need only be barely competent if the first three criteria are satisfied. If they aren't, you can write like an angel and it won't help.

Nobody picks up a work of nonfiction looking for an exercise in literary style. They're sold on it because they want to read more about it's subject. People look to fiction for style.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

That's correct Peter. It's a canned line from a form. The interesting part here after seven months is that my information about the competition and controvesy brought this on overnight. I've had another that provided an example of an area that needed improvement and wanted other work from me. It showed me she read it. She has this one now.

It's obvious I was being shined on out of fear.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

In my considerable (IMHO) experience, somewhere around 95% of the responses I've gotten, whether they were expressions of interest or rejections, came within two weeks, never longer.

By pinging this last agent and updating them on the controversy and competitive book, you simply woke them from their slumber and stimulated them to do what they would have done sooner if they hadn't shoved your submission under all the others due for a form rejection.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

This was a better reason to do so. I awoke her a month ago to ask if I was rejected or not after six months. She wrote to say she hadn't read and would comment when she did. The controversy did it this time.

5:44 AM  

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