On the off chance you were not aware, I am writing a book and trying to get it published. I have written a lot about my quest. In one recent post, I claimed writers need endurance. I'm am seriously starting to wonder if I have it. Here is where things stand...
To date, I have sent out 35 queries. And received 16 rejections. The majority were personal and complimentary. There was a major difference between those and the two form letters I received.
Seventeen agents never responded to my query. That is very much the norm. Agents are so inundated that most are only able to respond to queries when they are interested. Many state on their websites that this is their policy: no response means no interest.
Two literary agents asked to review my book proposal. Both made the request within 24 hours of receiving my query, and sounded very interested. I was excited. But it was short lived. And as the weeks went by, my enthusiasm subsided.
The first agent stated on her website that if she requests materials from you, you should expect to hear back from her in six to eight weeks. After nine weeks had passed, I sent a carefully crafted follow-up email. The response was, "I'm still on the fence."
I was taken aback. I had not even considered that as a possibility. I thought agents either loved your work or they didn't. I wrote back and asked if I could provide any further information to assist her in making her decision. Her answer was, "Thanks, but no." That was months ago.
The second agent did not state what her normal turnaround time is. So when the appropriate time to follow up came, I carefully crafted another email and pressed "send." So far, there has been no response. Doesn't mean there won't be, but I'm not sitting around twiddling my thumbs and checking my inbox every five minutes. (OK, I am doing the latter. You know you do, too.)
To say I am frustrated at this point would be an understatement. But this is the process. This is how it works. All it takes is for one agent to fall in love with my book. To get to that point, this is what I have to go through. I need to respect and follow the submission process until I find the right fit. It will happen.
I have been told, time and time again, that the major stumbling block on my road to publication is not the concept for my book, or my writing. It's my lack of a platform. In order to be published as a nonfiction writer, you need to be considered a top expert on your topic, or have a well known name. I have neither of those things going for me.
There are lots of strategies I could employ if I wanted to gain large numbers of followers in a short amount of time. But that is simply not my style. I prefer to be myself and do what comes naturally. I'm interested in making meaningful connections with people. And I have. Just not in the large numbers publishers require before they will consider a nonfiction book.
But I am enjoying those connections very much. I have "met" all kinds of wonderful people. And I will keep at it. I may be down, but I'm not out. I have decided to ask some more people to review my book proposal before I go through another round of querying.
The first group of readers had very positive feedback, but neither of the agents who have reviewed it have been impressed enough to offer representation. That indicates to me there is an opportunity for improvement. This will be my focus for the short term. And with SB in school two days a week now, I can attack it with fervor!
Note: I have seen a number of writers viciously attacking literary agents online lately, on Twitter and through blogs. It makes my stomach turn. It is inappropriate, uncalled for and, I fear, gives writers a bad name. I don't care for it one bit. As frustrated as I may be, I will not be joining in. I will not tolerate attacks on my blog either. If you leave a nasty comment, it will be deleted. I am interested in what you have to say on this topic, but please be polite and respectful.