11.15.2005

Where is my ninja rejection reader when I need it?

A Snarkling reaches for the Rosetta Stone:

I'm beginning to get personalized rejections now, which I'm told is a plus.
Most I can't interpret. Maybe you can help?

An agent wrote:
"Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to consider pages from (your chick lit novel). While I found this to be well written with fun, interesting, contemporary premise, I do not feel the ms. is ready to be marketed successfully."

"You have a clear prose style and the voices were skillfully rendered. Missing, for me, was a more engrossing story that hooked me."


Do this mean she didn't like the first page because it didn't hook her or does it have other, more substantial problems? Something else?
Thanks in advance for your answer, An adoring snarkling

oh boy. The joys of trying to figure out the arcane language of rejection.

Did you ever read Shogun? James Clavell very successfully conveys the "yes is no" style of speech from feudal Japan. Well hey, those kimono and sword boys got nothing on agents.

First, remember agents are terrified of saying what they actually think if they are saying no. More than one of us rejected DaVinci Code, Lovely Bones, The Historian, The Bible and other bestselling tomes. Don't we feel stupid. Imagine seeing that rejection letter in print. Yikes.

Thus is born the "I'm saying no but I'm only going to tell you what I like" kind of letter.

Reading what you've got my best guess (and it's a guess) is that you have a plot that needs some work or needs some freshening. Agents read a LOT of the stuff that never gets published. Plots that seem ok to you may seem old and tired to us.

It can also mean you've got a good concept but the writing wasn't strong enough.

I write these letters all the time, cause I really don't want to see my rejection letters published on a web site for everyone to pick over. People never ask if they can publish those things and it's just embarrassing as all get out. If Miss Snark wants humiliation she goes to swimsuit sample sales in buildings with no dressing rooms and fluorescent lighting.






4 comments:

E. Dashwood said...

"Swimsuit sample sales in buildings with no dressing rooms and fluorescent lighting."

Ah, reminds me of my misspent Proustian youth. Going with Mama to Loehmann's on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. Gold manequins, marble lions, and candelabra. But most important for a know-nothing 6-year-old. No dressing rooms. Woman stripping down right in the aisles. Oh the humanity!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

....no dressing rooms and flourescent lights....yikes....word pictures Miss Snark....word pictures!

Gwen said...

"You have a clear prose style and the voices were skillfully rendered. Missing, for me, was a more engrossing story that hooked me."

I can translate that one. It means, "We need a plot that can be summed up in one sentence that the marketing people haven't heard before."

It also means, "Present your conflict on page one, and leave the reader guessing all the way until the last chapter, because no one has patience for anything else these days."

Harry Connolly said...

Rejectomancy is a futile endeavor. Don't torture yourself.