Thursday, May 6, 2010

Submit Your Writing Tips or Your Rejection Experience!

Do you know how it feels to be rejected by a literary agent? Most authors have experienced this. We all try to follow the same guidelines for submitting the perfect query, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there's still a couple things in your submission that cause the agent to immediately click the delete button. So instead of posting another article on how to grab the agent's attention, why don't we follow the example from the movie "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and write an article on how to lose the agent's attention?

If you have a story you'd like to share on how you've lost an agent's interest, or if you'd like to contribute a few of your own writing tips on how to have your query/manuscript rejected, please fill out a short form by clicking here (form closed).

On May 15th, the day before I go to my first writer's conference, I will post the completed article with your writing and follow your blog if I'm not already following.

Also, I'm 20 away from reaching 100 followers! Thanks to everyone who is one of my 80 followers. If you'd like for me to add your button to the sidebar, just grab my button and let me know that you put it on your site. :) If you'd like to receive updates from my blog, simply type in your e-mail address on the sidebar and click subscribe!

“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.”
~Isaac Asimov


  1. Haven't queried yet. So no rejections yet.

    I have my first conference in August. I'm terrified. Even if I make it through the conference without being picked to shreds, I'll probably start querying after. :(

  2. I had seventy-five rejections before connecting with my agent. It can be frustrating and scary, but if your work is ready, you have to be bold.

  3. A very original blog.
    Daniel D. Peaceman, writer and editor of CHMagazine

  4. Ooh! What a great idea! I love how your mind works. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's submissions. I haven't queried yet, so no rejections, but I may just throw in my two cents because I have opinions and I'm quite proud of them. :)

  5. I haven't queried yet either as I'm just getting started with the publishing process. I've been writing for some time and have several things about ready to go. I am overwhelmed at the publishing process. I think I'm working harder at getting all that information collected, read, and absorbed than I am actually writing. I'll be interested to hear the stories of others' experiences. It will help me not to make the same mistakes.

  6. My husband and I own a small press. Perhaps I can share some helpful insights. We turn down about 95% of the queries we get. Why? They are not in the domains that we publish. Our press is listed in Writers' Market, along with specific information on how to query and what we publish. Other publishers do the same. I think that sometimes writers think that they will somehow be different and get a publisher to broaden its domain. We usually cannot do that; our marketing is directed toward specific audiences. We are quite open to new authors and we are pretty lenient when it comes to people not knowing how to write a good query letter. Sometimes even I will send an instruction sheet on how to prepare a query that we can understand. Nonetheless, people send things that are simply not of interest or not possible for us to publish. That is problem #1. Other problems? Poor English, and -- this one really turns me off -- arrogance in the presentation. You would be surprised how many people think that they are doing a favor to a publisher by making his/her manuscript available. Even if the domain is right and the manuscript is good, we turn down the work of self-important, arrogant writers. If their proposals are full of hubris, then we know it will be difficult to work with them after publication and avoid getting into that position. Publication and marketing is difficult enough when the author is working WITH you; we just do not have time for prima donas (and won't take a chance on those who sound like prima donas).

    Hope those pointers help.

  7. Hi Tessa - thanks for stopping by our blog!

  8. Claire Dawn: I’ve never been to a conference yet (obviously, since my first one is next week) – but I don’t think it’s anything worth being terrified about, really. I’m excited! Nervous, of course. But I don’t think agents/editors want to pick us to shreds. I’m just happy about learning a lot and having new connections. I’m sure if it’s God’s will for you to go, then he’ll use the opportunity for good, not bad. ☺

    Caroline Starr Rose: Wow! That’s so true, though. It’s all about perseverance. Thanks for your comment!

    Daniel: Thank you!

    Gracie: Thanks! I loved the form you filled out, btw. It’s so true. I haven’t queried yet either, but I’ve read plenty of posts on how to not get rejected. That’s why I thought it was a good idea to post how to get rejected, just to be slightly different. ☺

    Inside the Shrink: I think it’s overwhelming, too. But I know so much more about the industry than I did this time last year, and I’m sure I’ll know much more by this time next year, also. That’s why research is so important before trying to pursue writing, which is one of the reasons why I thought it would be a good idea to join Blogspot. Reading others’ posts has helped tremendously. Thanks for your comment!

    Elizabeth: Great insight! It’s very helpful to hear from someone in the industry on why queries are rejected. I totally agree with what you said on the market being aimed toward a specific audience, which is why I think it’s very important to do your research on the agent/publishing house you’re interested in submitting to because it may be a waste of time if they don’t sell the genre you’re trying to pursue. Thanks for your comment ☺

  9. thanks for stopping by, commenting and joining my blog.
    I've had rejections from journals and magazines before, never the curt single-line type but more of the 'This is good but not what we're looking for at this moment...'

    I learnt that its best to find out what they're looking for in the place.


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