Second Verse, Better than the First – Revelation!


So I received a second rejection yesterday from an agent who has a blog I frequent. I mentioned this in the query I wrote and was very pleased to see that instead of a stock form letter rejection, this agent actually took the time to respond using my first name, thanking me for reading the blog, and instead of saying my work sucked or it wasn’t right for him, he said he didn’t think he was the most appropriate agent to represent my work.


Okay, maybe he says that to a lot of writers. Hell, maybe he says that to everyone. I, however, am going to look at this as a sign that he didn’t say, “Your work sucks,” and be proud that I got a personal reply from him, personalized to me, that happens to agree with my assessment: I didn’t think he was the most appropriate agent to represent my work, but I liked him and figured he was worth the shot. I trusted he could do a good job with any manuscript if he chose, but this particular manuscript wasn’t in line with the types of work he most commonly seems to be representing. I probably shouldn’t have queried him – and in a way, I feel bad for wasting his valuable time, because time is so precious for an agent, but I would have always wondered ‘what if’ if I hadn’t queried him. Don’t regret doing so, and a more personal rejection this time really makes me feel as though it was one step better than the obviously pre-formed ‘dear author’ letter I got form the first agent.


The one agent I’d truly love to represent me hasn’t responded yet, so there’s hope there!


I’m learning new things here. It’s been an interesting process. In the online content world, I was a gigantic fish in a bay where only a few decent fish swam, surrounded by an ocean of chum fish writing their little hearts out. It was easy to rise to the top positions on the internet. In print, I became a big fish in an equally large pond of other big fish, less chum, more swimming. Rejection wasn’t a big issue for me. I’ve never received a summary rejection from any content site I’ve written for. I’ve never received a rejection from a print publisher for an article I’ve actually written. I’ve had queries rejected, because they didn’t want the idea or concept or whatever, but whenever I’ve taken the time to write a print article, it’s always been accepted.


This isn’t necessarily because I’m that ‘good’, but more because I make a point of being that good. I edit, perfect, proof, agonize, tweak, and gear my writing to the publication that I have researched well before I ever submit anything to them. I don’t send them an article I hope is right for them. I know when send the article that it is perfectly suited for them, because I make a point of making sure that’s the case.

Now, with this writing novels thing, I realize the ocean here is even bigger, with more people thinking they can write fiction than people who try to freelance to magazines, and therefore, I’m swimming around in unknown waters for me. I’m not longer a big fish in a small pond; I’m chum!


My revelation this morning was this: when I freelance for magazines or websites, I make sure my query and writing to them is perfectly targeted to their publication. When I am querying agents, though, I’m querying blind. I don’t know what is perfectly targeted to them.

I can do my research and get a handle on what they usually represent, what they’ve sold, and I can tell what types of books they are able to sell and seem interested in trying to sell. Looking at the two agents who have rejected me, I can only say the manuscript I was trying to sell to them was NOT in line with what they’ve represented before. That’s my bad.

This made me realize there’s something I don’t know. Does an agent represent you or your book?

See, I think the agent represents the person, the writer, but tries to sell the book. Unfortunately, the only thing the agent has to see about me is my manuscript. But what if this manuscript really isn’t indicative of the overall body of work I will later produce?

The manuscript I’m trying to sell right now is not indicative of the ideas and concepts I have for the other works I’m writing. It’s not my usual style, so to speak. It’s not the style of writing I think will make a name for me.

In fact, I wanted to wait until I finished the Covington series before I started to query.

The thing is, this book I’m trying to sell now IS a good book.

What to do, what to do?

If I were doing a magazine query, for freelancing, I wouldn’t be marketing this book right now. I would be waiting until I had an ‘in’ with an editor who really liked some of my other work, and then I’d say, “Hey, I know this isn’t my usual style, but I think you might be interested in this.”


The problem with doing it this way is that unlike a magazine article, it takes time to write a book, a lot of time when compared to a magazine article or web content. Unfortunately, that means *I* have to wait. Patience, patience, patience.

My decision about this manuscript is this: if no one in the list of the top agents I wanted to work with responds favorably to this manuscript, I’m shelving it until I finish Covington Confessions, and I will then sell Covington. Then, once an agent I work with who represents me knows my work is good, THEN I will say, “I know it’s not my usual style, but this is a good book. Will you look at it?”

So… that’s my decision. It feels right to me now. I can say that even better because I’m proud of myself for querying. Who knows, one of these agents might still like it and pick it up! That would be awesome. But if that doesn’t happen, I have a game plan now I feel really good about.

Thanks for letting me babble! Now, it’s off to write some more in Accepting Aimee. Aimee has been waiting patiently for me (not so much.)

Love and stuff,