Dear Miss Snark,
If your oven wasn’t already in use as a file cabinet, I’d be asking to stop by so I could stick my head in and turn on the gas. After the one-millionth rewrite and almost as many rejections, two agents requested my manuscript AFTER reading partials. Such a hopeful sign, but alas, both NO’s. But it was the nature of their comments that has me competing for space in your oven.
The first pass was from a pair of agents who work together. Their comments were all very positive, but they didn’t think the market was large enough for the novel. They did, however, ask me to resubmit my next project.
The second agent passed because she felt the story needed to be told in a far more brutal voice. Because of the nature of the material, I purposely avoided sensationalizing the story.
Who to believe? At this point I am committed to finishing my second novel, a very commercial project, furiously rewriting with the hope of submitting next fall. But I can’t completely shake a nagging doubt that agent #2 is right about my first novel and the first agents were just too kind to tell me my writing sucks.
I’m trying to talk myself into putting the first manuscript away for now, stop submitting and rewriting it and hope that, some day, it finds a good home at a small press where it probably would be most happy.
I really need someone, who is objective, to say, “Stop! Put it away and get on with the next project.” I am so confused.
Thank you for all you have done to help writers like me and please give Killer Yap a big kiss on his furry snout and, of course, a cookie.
Killer Yapp says "excellent idea" and heads for the cookie jar.
One of the ironclad rules of rejection letters is they all say different things. Too long, too short, too violent, too placid. You don't have a large enough sample to draw any reliable conclusions.
And NO agent asks to see future work if they think your writing sux. Never.
You in fact have TWO agents who said something other than "not right for me" and that says to me you're probably a damn fine writer, and it's other things that needs some work.
You're exactly right in what I'm going to tell you: finish the second book. Send it out on a round of queries. THEN look at novel #1 and see (with what you learned from writing #2) what, if anything, you'd chanage.
Quit obsessing. Write well.
Killer Yapp adds "eat cookies".