October 25, 2010

Down but not out

          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. 


  1. Hang in there. It's a long haul to find the right agent, but persistence does pay off eventually. :)

  2. Don't give up. Try to keep your chin up, I can only imagine how frustrating it is though.

  3. Hang in there. Keep revising and sending queries. It will happen :) Also, have you joined www.absolutewrite.com/forums I joined there when starting to write my first YA novel and have loved every second of being there. There is a second for non-fiction as well. I have learned more in the short time I have been there than I think I would have learned in years of being on my own. They are always willing to look things over and give feedback.

  4. @ Linda - I know you are right!

    @ Jessica - Thank you!

    @ Erica - I have a wonderful writing group I am part of, and they have provided very helpful critiques on this project. I have been on absolutewrite.com before, but am not a member. I'll check it out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. Power to you lady! Waiting is so hard. But it just takes that one yes to make all the waiting worth while. I think you have an excellent online presence and like you said, the connections you've made are meaningful. That is what counts! Hang in there! I'll be on the limb next to you...

  6. I can't imagine how awful this part is, and I hope to be there suffering just like you in a couple more months.

    I really wish you good luck with this! Keep us all posted.

    One more thing: putting someone on the fence is, in my mind, a good thing. :)

  7. Patience, grasshopper. I believe your time will come!

  8. Hang in there. I think the concept for your book is a fabulous one. Good luck, and keep up with it. It will happen for you!!

  9. In the words of Winston Churchill...nevah, nevah, nevah, nevah give up!

    I agree with you 100% - you are doing what I would be doing were I at the place to be publishing anything (which I'm not, yet). Don't settle, don't compromise, and don't give up!

    One of your enthusiastic, supportive, new connections (Adelle)

  10. Hang in there. It will happen. :-)

  11. Chin Up! It will happen!! -c3south*

  12. YES! I love your style and the way you connect with people in a deep, real, authentic way. I know you are on your way to the perfect agent to bring your book to the world. I can't wait to stand in line for you to sign it!

    Love and faith,

  13. Keep at it. It will happen. Good Luck!

  14. Good for you for having the perseverence to go through this process. I'll be back to read about the progress

  15. Interesting post. The task seems daunting. Glad you'll have time to keep working it out.

  16. That process scares the be-jeebus out of me. I waiting, the rejection, more waiting...

  17. This is so interesting to me. I am excited to read about the ups and downs of trying to get published from a respectful point of view.

  18. wishing you lots and lots of good luck in your quest. in the mean time, all I can say is thank goodness for blogs! gives all us writers an outlet we can completely control ... such a rare thing in the publishing world.

  19. Just wishing you good luck. I believe your patience will pay off eventually.


I value your input, and appreciate your taking the time to not only read, but also comment on this post! Thank you! Please come back often and keep the discussion going...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts with Thumbnails