What does this mean??

Dear Miss Snark,

I just received (my first) rejection for (my first) manuscript. But what exactly does he mean? Is the story fundamentally flawed, and I need to ramp up the drama in the plot or develop the characters differently? Or is it simply not right for this agent?

Any clues are greatly appreciated:

Hi (name) I really like the voice here (the part with him writing his "Will" cracked me up) but I have to admit the story and the whole time travel aspect didn't sweep me away. It's just a personal disconnect, no doubt, but I'll step aside with my thanks for the look. Good luck with this project.


It means no. Nothing more nothing less. Do not pick it apart for meaning or clues. Move on. Query more. In fact, you should send out five queries right now. Do not obsess about this or you will make yourself crazy. The ONLY thing you want to hear is yes. Anything that is not yes is no.

Get back to work.


S.F. said...

This is not a form rejection. Repeat that a few times. This is not a form rejection. Yay, you! This is a nicely worded, heplful and encouraging document. The voice is good: congrats - your style doesn't suck.
The plot didn't connect with this agent. Repeat that as well. Emphasise different words. THIS plot didn't connect with THIS agent. Yay you. It might connect with others. Do as Her High Snarkiness says. Keep querying. Don't give up. Take this as the 'attaboy' it is.
Even if this one doesn't work, you're a writer, yeah? You write. You will continue writing. Maybe the next one you write will work for you and the agents you query.

Kara Lennox said...

Yup, that's a nice rejection letter. Any time an agent takes the time to say something encouraging (and he/she even pointed out something specific that he/she liked) it means you don't totally suck. Most will tell you--if they really think you suck, they'll send an impersonal form letter and hope you go away. They don't want to encourage you to submit something else.

The next agent might love it! Keep querying.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the "quit obsessing" advice--worthy though it is--just ain't sinkin' in with some folk.

Tell them to obsess all they want over whatever, but they have a 5-minute time limit and are not to involve you.

I had an obsessive spouse (once, never again!) and it got old at light speed. I admire your amazing patience.

Dave said...

What does he mean?
He said he liked it but it wasn't for him. He's telling you he's not the agent to sell your book and he took the time to tell you that it's good.
Go Query, go query, that book of yours will sell.

dancinghorse said...

All very wise and true. Then again, if the next five agents say the same thing, you'll want to stop and think about a rewrite.

One rejection--don't obsess. Pick up, move on. Same rejection multiple times? Now obsess--about fixing the problem everybody sees.

Anonymous said...

Writers obsess. That's what they do. They will read the variation on a form letter five thousand times. Hopefully, they will take the line the agent added and absorb that.
But don't tell them not to obsess. It's part of what make us write.

the voice in your head said...

I think I know this query.

Author, if you are within yelling range, would I be right in saying you entered the hook for this in the last crapometer (YA, I'm pretty sure, or middle grade?) If so, the part with the Will actually was very very funny. As long as the rest of the work is as punchy and tight as that paragraph, you're definitely on your way.

Now I'm wondering if I recognize the agent too... eep.

anonagent said...

i would scrap the time-travel book. nobody intelligent is going to want to read that, regardless of how many queries he sends out. i certainly wouldn't read it.

sandinmysandals said...

anonagent, I think you are being a bit rough. Some of us actually like time-travel books. Diana Gabaldon doesn't seem to be having a problem selling her books.

laura said...

Agreeing with dancing horse,
with one rejection just get on with your querying.
If you get repeated mentions of a given weakness, then it's time to re-examine, re-write.