Parsleying out advice

My novel is now making the publisher rounds, with rejections that make me weep because they are so glowing, until I get to that dreaded word, "but"..and the reasons are lame ones (lame to me, anyway) -- overcrowded market, we've got a similar book on our list, yadda yadda, and nothing negative toward my writing.

Do you have a crystal ball?
What are your thoughts on when publishers are rejecting because of these reasons?
No is no regardless of the reason. At this level very few books are rejected cause the writing sux. We reject that at the slush pile level. You're playing in the "of course the writing is good" league now.
How many publishers are out there?
Generally how many publishers should an agent submit to before calling it quits on a novel?
Am I close? Is there hope?
No, yes.

Thanks for your never-ending sound and sage advice. It's about thyme I get published!

Get to work on your next novel. You need something to think about while your Herb Garden grows.


Kit Whitfield said...

Condolences, because that sounds very frustrating. If it's any comfort, lots of writers go through a bunch of rave rejections and then finally sell their book - I did, for one. Never mind. Your writing is clearly good, so carry on with it and try not to let it get you down - far easier said than done, I know, but true nonetheless. Good luck.

Manic Mom said...

LOL Miss Snark, except you should have made the title of this post, PARSLEYing Out Advice! Ha, am I good or what!!!

Thanks for the laugh, and for giving me hope; as always, you ROCK!

As for my other question... hmmm... makes me wonder if you are in fact considering what I suggested?

Miss Snark said...

errr.. I meant to write parsleying.
11:23 am..do I know where my fingers are? clearly not.

Anonymous said...

Someone said there were only 7 or 8 big publishers. Where's the 1200 number coming from?

Manic Mom said...

Ah, the correction is there!

There are not really 1200 publishers, are there? My agent better get busy!

Chris said...

I'll second that: What "1200" publishers?

Miss Snark said...

There are 350+ members of the American Association of Publishers. There are 4000 members of PMA, the independent publishers association (small shop presses and self pub presses etc).

I made up 1200, but you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Well, Miss Snark is an optimist. My agent, who will not get back to me no matter I'm writing a new novel, because she sent it out to the top 6 and that's all she does.
I hear from other writer friends that they've gone through the same thing with agents....big money, a big book, or no more dice to throw.

Anonymous said...

Note from a kindred spirit: I'm in the same boat, and I understand your angst. I feel exactly the same way. My agent has my two novels out to several editors right now. I,too, have received glowing rejections. In fact, my agent and I recently laughed about the fact that I get the best rejections she's ever seen.

Yes, I'm starting a new novel. No, I'm not bugging my agent every day (or even every week) for updates. Yes, I'm trying to enjoy life in general. But the thing is, when you're this close to achieving a lifelong dream, everything else pales in comparison.

The phone rings and it could be George Clooney on the line, and I'd be disappointed it wasn't my agent calling with The News.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

But what of your career if you sell to other than the big six? If I want to have a 30 book career spanning years and years, am I still going to be happy landing one of the wee ones?

Or do I keep writing books until one of them FENNELy gets chosen by one of the big publishers?

Anonymous said...

Ok, so say my agent sends my book out to 347 publishers, and number 347 is the charm.
Now, my agent doesn't charge me bupkas for any of these submissions, BUT once it sells, I owe her reimbursement for copies, postages, etc.

How am I going to reimburse her for 347 x (400pp x .06) + 347 x $15.00? That comes to something like $1300., but the publisher who wants to buy my opus offers an advance of $500.

So how does this work? I owe my agent $1300. in expenses, plus 15% of my $500. advance, or $1375.

Uh, I think I'm better off with her not selling my novel at this point.

At what point do I say STOP SENDING, I CAN'T AFFORD IT?

Manic Mom said...

Maggie--LOLLing hysterically over the Fennel joke. I'd say, just tread GINGERly and eventually we'll all get ANISE book deal!

Tessa said...

Thank you, Miss Snark, for stating that talent at this level is a given.
When I'm frustrated at what seems like a lack of progress, I need to hear that I'm in that part of the pile.

Manic Mom said...

Anon--doesn't your agent use email?

Swordswinger said...

Oh, boy, am I glad to hear that I'm not the only one getting 'I loved it, but...' At least now I know it happens to other people I can stop banging my head against the wall - or keep it to once or twice a day, anyway.

Word verif: spfcmzu - the noise of frustrated incomprehension made on opening one of these rejections...

Anonymous said...

Manic Mom,
My agent uses e-mail now, for the most part. But until fairly recently a lot of editors still insisted on paper copies.
A lot of the smaller publishers still do.

And you know how you can't send out "shopworn" copies, or an editor might be insulted he isn't the first to see it.
My agent told me how in "the old days" -- pre-computer, copies made the rounds until they fell apart.

While it is sadly amusing, my question is still valid. I'm running a tab with my agent (going on two years now). While I believe in agents in general going all out, if the circumstances are similar to my hypothetical (not really 300+ submissions, but a lot)
I can understand why agent, especially new agents, would be reluctant to submit to more than say, ten editors. Even if they love the book, they may not be able to afford to shop it, and they can't take money from the client because that would make them sleezy.

Oh well. I'm working on the next book.

Manic Mom said...

anon--you're ahead of the game -- i need to get rollin' with book #2.

Snark, I posted an ILOVEMISSSNARK post on my blog, a reader suggested that I tell you: "Tell her to keep her good advice CUMIN!"

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark wrote: At this level very few books are rejected cause the writing sux. We reject that at the slush pile level. You're playing in the "of course the writing is good" league now.

My editor said: You'd be shocked at the garbage some agents send over.

Not that Miss Snark would ever do that.