Dear Miss Snark,
Is there a point where agents give up on selling a work? How long do you circulate something? Until every single editor you can sell it to rejects it? Or say, after six months have passed and you haven't had any interest? Thanks for the info. Rock on!
Miss Snark launches new projects out into the world like she's firing a cannon at Waterloo: lots of smoke and steam and screaming. Sometimes the enemy...I mean the publisher, sorry ... sometimes the publisher bites, sometimes not (fools! fools!).
I keep going till I've run through everyone I think SHOULD buy it, and a few more I think might. Then I stop and try to figure out if I'm the witless one. Sometimes things I love are just not things other people love (fools! fools!).
This is when I sometimes reposition a project. "oh wait, that's not a novel, that's a poem!" Sometimes I reread all the rejection letters and see if there's some info to be gleaned "oh wait, we killed a hamster with our bunny slippers on page one...bad mistake".
And sometimes I let a project rest. Sometimes I'll find a new publisher, an editor will move to a new house and be looking for something else, and sometimes the light bulb will go on over my pointy little noggin.
I hardly ever give up. Sometimes, but not soon, and not, never, ever, happily.
Just for starters, if I give up, I've got a big fat loss in my expense column that I'll never recoup and I hate that almost as much as my abacus wielding accountant Mr. Ray N. Mann does.