31 Flavors

Dear Miss Snark,

So far, I've queried two very respectable agents regarding a literary novel I've written. (I've published quite a few stories, all in good places.) One agent read the entire book and wrote a lot of feedback. She said she couldn't put the book down but "in the end," the prose style was too similar to another client of hers, one she "loves," but whose work she has been unable to sell lately. I know she read the whole thing because she referred to late plot points.

The other agent read only the partial. He also gave positive feedback, but declined to read the rest because the story didn't "move forward enough" for him.....

I know, from past publishing experience, that a writer can't and shouldn't try to please everybody, but what do you make of two such opposite reactions?
Thanks for any comment.

I think you write strawberry and the agents you query like chocolate and vanilla. Time to expand the tasting circle.

It will not come as a big surprise to you that people have very different reactions to the same thing: velvet Elvis paintings; Howard Stern; Miss Snark's wit. I mean not everyone liked even Mr. Mozart when he was be-bopping around Vienna, and let's not get started on the mixed reactions to William Carlos Williams. So much depends on what floats your wheelbarrow.

Query widely. Find strawberry lovers.


Anonymous said...

TWO? And a full and partial? Bite me. Hard, and where I like it.

Other than that, I agree with Miss Snark. Query widely. Query wildly.

dink said...

"So much depends on what floats your wheelbarrow."

Words to live by ...I'm embroidering them on a pillow.


Stephen said...

This is just to say

I have queried
the editors
that were in
your rolodex

and which
you were probably
for my breakout book

Forgive me
they turned me down politely
so bittersweet
and so cold

LJCohen said...

Stephen--Love the spoof of the WCW piece. Well done.


Moncrief Speaks said...

Great stuff, Stephen.

Anonymous said...

Very nice Stephen. Love me some WCW.

HawkOwl said...

Surely you don't mean to say that some people don't worship velvet Elvises????? I'm shocked. Shocked!

Anonymous said...

Where the hell are the strawberry lovers? Needle in a haystack, damn. I need my strawberry ice cream lovers vision glasses, but I left them in my other purse.

Anonymous said...

I really need to hear this. In fact, I need it branded on my forehead. One hears that the business is subjective--but you really don't get this until an agent dismisses your work because they simply didn't like it.

Grady said...

This begs the question: what does Miss Snark think of Howard Stern?

Ciar Cullen said...

I recently received (about a minute apart into my in-box) the following (paraphrased): "You are a strong writer. Love the characters, don't much like the plot." And this one, "You are a strong writer. Love the plot, not into the characters." Later that day, "I didn't like this as much as I expected to." 31 flavors still as Baskin Robbins? I guess I write chunky monkey.