Wednesday, November 04, 2015

How do I know if the book isn't good, or it's just too weird?

I queried a novel about two years ago and got some agent interest. The consensus eventually became that my craft was not quite up to snuff. (In fact, one agent specifically told me to work on my writing style and recommended a book on self-editing.) 

Long story short, I didn't get an offer of rep. That was fine; looking back, I agree with them that my writing was not up to par. Since then, I've found wondeful crit partners, studied the craft, and developed my voice.

I have now written another novel. It's very different from my first novel but also I think much better (though I may be biased :-) ). I went back into the query trenches. Unfortunately, my request rate is much lower than it was with my first novel.

Mostly I'm getting nothing but absolute radio silence and the occasional form rejection. I'll concede my current novel is strange and could be of niche interest. But how do I know if the high rejection rate is because it's a niche project or if my craft is still just not good enough? I've heard I should be getting comments like "I love this but don't know how to sell it" if it's a niche project, but I've never gotten any of those comments.

Let's remember one basic rule of querying: it's not the place to get any kind of feedback.

You got some interest on the first book; you've gotten none on this second book.

That is ALL you know.

The place to get feedback is from a very good writing workshop (Grub Street in Boston is one of them); a writers conference with critique sessions (CrimeBake offers those, as do many other conferences) or buying a paid critique from an agent. You can get those pretty easily nowadays in fundraising events.

As an example, Irene Goodman is offering this 

Keep your eye peeled for others; the comments column will probably be of good use on this question.

Don't read any more into the lack of feedback than it was not a request. That's ALL it was.


Sam Hawke said...

I know it's so easy to try to read into the silence and the forms, but Janet is 100% right. All it tells you is that the book wasn't for that agent. It doesn't tell you anything else. The search for meaning and theme in form rejections and silence is a game no-one wins.

(Which is not to say that we don't all play it quietly at home sometimes. But just remember there's no fix, no secret house rules to be found if only you ask the right person).

Good luck OP. You've learned a lot in 2 years and you KNOW your book is better. Back yourself.

KC said...

It might be the query letter, and not the book. Maybe try revising it and sending out a new version. Good luck!

Unknown said...

I found my best critique partner in the comments section of this blog! I never went the paid editor route because I worried that kind of review would homogenize the book. Well, that and I am poor. So many books sound the same these days. I think that by striving to be different (or strange) you are on the right track. But maybe let at least five or ten people read it before sending it out again.

Donnaeve said...

"Don't read any more into the lack of feedback than it was not a request. That's ALL it was."

This answer reminds me of what another writer said to me while I was on submission; "Silence doesn't mean yes, and it doesn't mean no. It's just silence."

Which is fine - until you start to chew the tips off your fingers with worry.

I agree you should let others read and I would simply ask the feedback be "what's your initial/gut impression?" That Irene Goodman link is AWESOME as well. What a great idea!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

An agent probably can't tell much about the book from the query. Maybe float the query through queryshark for analysis? My first attempt at querying was dreadful.

Concern about the book? Workshop it, enlist beta readers(preferably ones that do not love you and so will be honest with you) and all suggested by QOTKU. It helps even if your book is good to make it even stronger.

That said, I am finding I freak out at requests far more than I do at rejections. I realize this is irrational, but a rejection of a query stings way less than a rejection of your actual work. Or at least I find it does. So taking time to give your book that extra spice, not a bad thing. Warning, this advice is being given prior to morning coffee so grain of salt and all that.

Colin Smith said...

Ahhh... the ancient art of listening to silence. Part of Woodland Creature 101 training: How to While Away Endless Hours Interpreting the Void. :)

No response from an non-NORMAN (NO Response MeAns No) agent means either a) the agent hasn't got to your query yet, or b) your query was eaten by spam sharks and after a reasonable time you should re-query.

No response from a NORMAN agent means either a) the agent hasn't got to your query yet, or b) the agent's not interested. It could have been eaten by spam sharks, but how would you know? *hard stare at NORMAN agents* In other words, move on.

As to whether or not you're ready for the "big time"--as Janet says, querying is not singing for grandma, waiting for her to clap and say "that's lovely!" If your beta readers/CPs aren't telling you whether you're work is up to snuff, then get new beta readers/CPs! (Harsh, I know, but it's early). That's what they're there for. My wife is my First Reader. She'll tell me if my work is good, or if she'd disown me if she saw it on a shelf. And so far, she has been right.

Okay, I'm way out of words, so that's it from me for now. :)

Summers of Fire said...

It's time to find beta readers. A similar thing happened to me. I rewrote my story, and think it's 200% better. But how to know? I have 3 beta readers reading right now...and they are giving me positive feedback that the story is very good. Soon, I'll start querying again, and hope for the best.

Lucie Witt said...

Sounds like this could be a query issue (if you've truly polished your novel)?

Things that have helped my query writing skills:

Read all the query shark archives and take notes.
Have someone who knows nothing about your book crit your query.
If funds allow, take advantage of professional query crits. These can be as low as $15-$25 and sometimes even include first page.

Good luck!

DeadSpiderEye said...

Once, a long time ago, after getting a little frustrated with the absence of insight that follows from silence, I weeviled am extension number from a naive receptionist. After I got past the: 'Where did you get this phone number?' I exercised all my reserves of charm (possibly smarm) to illicit some feedback. It kinda worked, because I've got a voice like honey dripping off fresh strawberries but: when I actually heard the rustle of paper from the hollow resonance of a waste-paper bin my curiosity was satisfied.

Yeah, all that writers workshop stuff, I'm sure it's fantastic but unless that workshop is representative of people whose opinions actually count, I'm not that sure what confidence you should place in the feedback you get from such communities. What I witness in 'em, is an awful lot of socially concentric interaction, which is difficult to resist in certain circumstances, how would feel about telling your mate that you thought their latest effort was unreadable? Maybe that view is jaundiced, I don't know but you can argue opinion all you like, unless that opinion is attached to a wallet, what does it matter?

London Setterby said...

Hi everyone! OP here. Just wanted to thank the Sharkliness for her response. :-) And thank all of you for chiming in too! If you are interested, the query has been workshopped at Absolute Write and with my crit group. I'm currently on version #4. Four wonderful beta readers have read the novel, and a pro editor took a look at the first five pages. I've never done an agent critique or anything like what Janet suggested though. I wish I could afford the Irene Goodman one--it looks amazing!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

London, based on what you've said, I wouldn't worry about the long desert of silence. Like Donna said, silence is just silence. I pinged one agent that requested pages months ago and he apologized and said he was well behind on reading his responses, queries. That could be the case. Agents get busy, they get behind.

Also, if your book truly is odd, it may take a bit longer to find a home. Some rejections are only about the right fit. Keep at it. Our own Julie Weathers returned from Surrey with the oft forgotten pearl that it may take 100 or more queries to get that one agent. Persevere. You will get there.

And I love odd novels. Cormac McCarthy has made his mark by being odd if not entirely bizarre... And terribly dark.

Susan Bonifant said...

OP, you know, I'm sure, that there is a great tendency for submitting writers to over-scrutinize and take ANY comment from an agent to heart.

But all you can do is love and develop your work tirelessly, seek useful critique instead of hoping to receive it, understand that only some of making a book succeed depends on this, and that the rest depends on magic, timing, fate, and other maddening unknowns.

Can you do more? The simple truth is you can't. But many of us who write look at simple truths and want to improve and complicate them, too.

Donnaeve said...

London - something else came to mind. Since you mention it's been two years from your first work, I'm curious how long you've gone without reading the current novel? What you've done so far sounds great in preparing to query, but sometimes it's also good to have time to let it simmer. That can really make a difference and open your eyes - aside from the professional critique. :)

E.M. - I've read a lot of McCarthy's work. I've got BLOOD MERIDIAN in the TBR pile but, I put it towards the back b/c after reading CHILD OF GOD, OUTER DARK and SUTTREE, one after the other, I HAD to give my brain, my morality, and my senses a break.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Donna, a scene in Child of God (you know the one) upset me so much that I had to put the book aside and read nothing but YA for a month before coming back to it. My daughter, who is a college senior, had same reaction but must write a paper on the book by Monday.

But that is a sign of great writing- when it can illicit that response. That is what we all strive for, is it not? Well, that's me done with my 3 comments. I will be here lurking in the shadows for rest of the day.

Craig F said...

London, it is nice of you to confess and return to the scene of the crime so early. The question and our Queen's answer could only make for generic answers.

I would expect you have a good query so we can dismiss that. Are you querying the right agents. If your story crosses genres it might not be hitting who you are querying the right way.

The other question is if you have started your work at the right spot. Sometimes what looks so appealing would actually work better as backstory somewhere else.

When I began contemplating getting published I did a considerable amount of research. I found that agents must put an awful lot of emphasis on the first few pages of a new writer's work. I am normally not a fan of hiring and editor yourself I think it might be helpful for you to retain a developmental editor to see if you have your manuscript sorted correctly.

What your idea of too weird is might not be weird enough to be considered a niche work. It might be that it is weird enough but isn't apparent to those who would tend to linger over such things.

Best of luck

Laura Mary said...

Janet has posted a lot on how difficult it is to explain why a book might not be for her, and if yours is a niche market, then an agent might not be able to quite put their finger on why they would not be a good for you.
Time is precious, and form rejections are quick and professional(if irritating!) Try not to read too much into them :-)

Good luck in the trenches!

Donnaeve said...


E.M. Oh, yes, I sure do. And I wondered how he could write that - and then I thought someone out "there" has done this. It's sick, but it's life. The other thing with McCarthy is not only can he (did he) write it, he made it strangely funny. The positioning and going inside/outside to look back in at his "scene."

And then, this: "You been wantin' it."

That one sentence made me laugh, while cringing.

Dena Pawling said...

One agent who sent me a personalized rejection took a chance on me that I wouldn't respond with a flaming reply on how obviously she just couldn't see my genius. [Is that a run-on sentence or what?] Anyway, she said her list runs to darker stories. I appreciated her honest reply. She's not the agent for me, because I write lighter and somewhat humorous. But my mind went to obsessing on maybe the entire industry is more on the dark side right now. By the look of my twitter feed, it sure seems that way, along with a few more themes and subjects that are NOT what I write.

Maybe you just need to put this story aside and write a third one. Everything comes full circle at some point. Look at all the movies released in the last few years. Lots of sequels, remakes, superheroes, etc. A friend of mine with one published book [romance, she submits directly to publishers], recently submitted her second book in the series to the editor who bought the first one, who told her "in today's market, we need more sex."

Your story's time will come.

Or attend a conference or take an online class. Ask agents what's selling today.

What are your comp titles? Anything within the last year? Find out whether the agents who repped those books attend conferences where you can talk to them.

I hear you tho. It's frustrating. Kinda similar to me trying to keep a comment to 100 words. Sigh.

Good luck.

nightsmusic said...

Brenda Novak has an auction yearly to benefit Diabetes Research because her son is so severely diabetic. She did take this year off but has commented that she will resume in 2016. It's a huge affair and there are always lots of agents who donate (THANK YOU!) a critique or first 20 pages read through or what have you and since it's an auction, some go for huge numbers and some are more than reasonable. That's something anyone can look at because of the variety of donors.

Beyond that suggestion, I have to agree with those who have mentioned that perhaps your query itself is what needs work more than the novel. An agent must get through the query whether you've attached the required pages or not. If he/she can't get past the initial stage, your multi-million selling novel will sit in the drawer until the cows come home. Unfortunate, but true.

Jenz said...

"I've heard I should be getting comments like "I love this but don't know how to sell it" if it's a niche project, but I've never gotten any of those comments."

Maybe you'll get that. MAYBE. But that sounds a lot like the kind of thing that could invite response or even argument from a writer (couldn't you at least try?).

Now I'm really curious--Janet, would you ever tell a querier something like that?

BJ Muntain said...

Until last year, Brenda Novak held an auction in May for 10 years, with funds going to Juvenile Diabetes research. She was extremely successful - over 10 years, she raised $2.4 million. And she had so many great items, such as:

Agent evaluations
Editor evaluations
Networking opportunities, meetings, etc. with industry professionals
Writing classes/workshops
Promotional opportunities

And so much more. Her auction website is Brenda Novak's auction page at (I see that Nightsmusic said she's commented she will be doing it in 2016. Yay!)

You can also get critiques at conferences - you can get critiques from authors and sometimes editors at sessions called 'blue pencil' sessions.

BJ Muntain said...

Regarding the querying trenches: With more and more agents going NORMaN (I love this abbreviation of 'NO Response MeAns No', from Colin - he'd mentioned it earlier and then again today. I love it), and with things just getting busier, there's less feedback out there. And you can't expect non-form rejections. Doesn't matter if they love your book or not. Doesn't matter if it's a niche market or not. You can't expect non-form rejections like "I love this but don't know where to sell it."

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Lots of excellent opinions and advice already shared here.

I wanted to pick up on Dena's comment about popular-at-the-moment genres or themes or moods. And how that cycles. That resonates with me because I'm wondering if I'm writing to a niche market or not-yet-desired market. (Maybe I'm delusional too. But I digress.) I read another blog this morning, Writer Unboxed, that I think addresses Dena's statement about dark stories--Donald Maass' column on Positivity and Protagonists and trying not to stray into Pollyannaland.

But trying to read the book market is like trying to interpret a no response to your query. Write the story that you're passionate about writing. And, if your done with one manuscript and are querying it, it's time to be writing on the next story.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

aack. That's "if you're done with one manuscript" not "your." Egads.

The Sleepy One said...

Both California Crime Writers and Sleuthfest offer critiques with agents and editors. Willamette Writers has twenty-minute private consults as well.

Note: my local SCBWI offers manuscripts critiques with agents, editors, and established writers. I've heard the quality of the writer critiques can be especially helpful on a craft level. If you decide you want some help with craft, there might be a local organization that offers small-session classes with an established writer or editor.

Anonymous said...


I just came back from Surrey International Writer's Conference. Aside from seeing my writing crew (I know, not the right reason to go to a conference) I wanted to make sure my query letter was all it could be and charge my writing batteries. I knew I'd find some classes that would advance my writing if I put the knowledge in practice.

I took Laurie McLean's pitch and query class, which was great as was she. She stayed long after the class was supposed to be over to talk to individual students if they wanted. Since I was pitching, I did want help with my pitch and was the last one to talk to her.

I mentioned the basis of the story came from a little known story of teenage resistance fighters in WWII. The story so captured my mind I thought what would happen if you took that story and set it in an epic fantasy setting.

Of course there was a "Lady bronc rider!" moment. She loved the idea of the resistance fighters.

Well, yes, but I have a high fantasy. She liked the premise of the story and told me to send it to her, but you know, conference and she passed out cards to everyone in the master class. Laurie was a true, shining gem of the conference.

So, with new pitch in hand I go to pitch appointment and agent asks me to submit, but you know hopeful woodland creature look and all. I did leave quite a bit of time so we could actually visit about the book and ask questions about each other.

I get a second blue pencil and decide to have her look at the query. Nothing she would change. Not a word. Send it out. It's just waiting for the right agent.

OK, I'm on the right track with the query. I come home and start sending out queries including one to a friend's agent who agreed to let me query.

I send out Friend Agent query at 1:17. Friend Agent at 2:02: Send me 100 pages. Sent immediately. Friend Agent 4:07: Read the first 50 and already very impressed. Send the rest as soon as possible. Sent at 2:30 a.m. since I was off babysitting when the last email came in.

This morning I get a rejection from an agent who's had my partial for four months. She listed all the things she liked, dramatic opening, creative world building, excellent writing, fast-paced, strong characters, etc. She went on for a fairly good sized paragraph about what was right, but she didn't love it enough to take it further.

It's the most feedback I've had on a rejection, including several fulls, in a year. Most are form or no response. In other words, silence.

You've workshopped the query. I might take it a step further, and check out the agents who critic queries for various causes or even the twitter contests. Several of them include query help.

Eileen Cook said at Surrey 50-100 rejections is normal. Keep that in mind.

Good luck, and apologies for being long-winded again. The theme at Surrey this year seemed to be don't give up. Terry Fallis, in his keynote speech told everyone to take their name badges and put "Writer" under the name. Then, when we get home hang them up where we can see them every day and don't ever forget we are writers regardless of our place in the journey.

Donnaeve said...

Okay, hit me with shoes or fins or whatever, b/c this is my 4th comment - but JULIE W., what happened next??? After the 2:30 a.m. send of full? Are you waiting to hear back?

John Frain said...

I hear a lot of talk about beta readers and crit partners, and I wonder where people find the most success acquiring them. They've been needles in haystacks for me. I'm taking an online course right now where I thought I might find a good beta/critter, but so far no such luck.

Is there a trick to this?

And OP, I can offer only sympathy, having been in your shoes. Stay strong and persevere.

Janet Reid said...

*smacking Donnaeve with a wet noodle as requested*
Yes, we are a full service agency here.

Colin Smith said...

*hits Donna with shoes and Janet's fin* crap! I just wasted my second comment chastizing Donna about her fourth.

And for some reason I keep running into guys called Norman who refuse to speak to me...

Anonymous said...


I assume it will be months before I hear back from Friend Agent. I've never heard back quickly on fulls. One was out for eighteen months. One agent on query tracker had 716 days for slowest response time.

Once I send out a query, I pretend I've just released a note in a bottle and put it out of my mind. I honestly don't even think about them once they're gone. I've done all I can do and it's out of my hands once I hit send. Once in a while I'll go through the spread sheet and move some from active to closed, no response, but other than that, the only reason I look at the spreadsheet is to note a new query going out or a response coming in.

The Sleepy One said...

John Frain: "I hear a lot of talk about beta readers and crit partners, and I wonder where people find the most success acquiring them.... Is there a trick?"

Finding a good critique group is sort of like dating. You'll meet some people that will make you want to sneak out of the bathroom window instead of finishing the date. You'll also meet great people you're happy to drink coffee with, but you'll friend zone them.

But then you'll meet a writer or two that you click with and you're never going to want to let them go. But it can take a long time to find the right critique partners. So: don't give up, but don't be afraid to say the critique relationship isn't working for you.

BJ Muntain said...


I think the important thing about finding crit partners/beta readers is to simply be open to people. Yes, go places where you meet other writers (conferences, workshops, online and offline critique groups, writing groups - even here.) You won't find the right folks every time, but you might find some who are interested. Of those some, it might not work out for whatever reasons (time constraints are most common.)

I suggest starting up conversations with folks who write similar fiction to yours (genre, style, category), and ask if they're interested in sharing critiques. Maybe join an online critique group. Once you get used to the group and get to know people there, you may find that a) the critique group is really helping you develop your craft, and/or b) certain people there are a good fit for you and your work.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Get feedback on your query letter first.

However, I liken querying to being a shirt on a crowded rack. Agents and editors step up to the rack, give it a spin and paw through the goods looking for what they want and need at that moment.

A few get picked off the rack because they are the right color, style, and size for the event the agent or editor has in mind at that moment.

Q: What does that say about every other shirt on the rack?
A: Not a damn thing.

Pull back and examine your query letter first.
Get some solid peer critique on your book, especially the opening.
Rethink who you are querying and dwell on a list of "dream agents."
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.


Anonymous said...

Miss Snark's First Victim has a timely post today the original questioner and others might be interested in. It's an auction for various critiques.

John, Compuserve Books and Writers Lit Forum is where I hang out and have for the last many years. There are writing exercises, places to post work in the workshop, a place to post snippets of what you're working on twice a week. By interacting, people tend to gravitate to others of like mind. They break off privately into little groups often so they can do more in depth beta reading.

It tends to be a symbiotic relationship. People who continually post their work for critiques, but don't return the effort will gradually lose much interest.

It's there if you're interested. A great many writers have gone on to publishing success.

Mommy said...

Just curious....can a book be too niche to print? One of the only persuasive arguments I've heard for self-publishing online is that some highly specific genres (fanfic, dinosaur porn, etc.) simply don't fit into traditional publishing/marketing modes but can still sell (lots) on

Donnaeve said...

Ick. The wet noodle was just gross, but OW!!! on the shoe, Colin.

Julie W built suspense! I was waiting for IT. And then, what does she do? Like a good writer, she moves on to a new topic which is really on the same topic, but not the answer. Hence, I want to KEEP READING.

Julie, you've got a healthy mindset for waiting - much can be learned from your process.

Okay, before I'm barred, I'm back to lurking for the rest of the day.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Is it the query?
Is it the first few pages?
Is it the novel?
Did my crit partners blow smoke up my skirt?
Does the agent have indigestion?
Did the agent not sleep well the night before?
Did the agent die?
Did my computer deliver my email?
Is the agent’s reply lost in spam?
Did the agent actually read it or was it an intern?
Does the intern have indigestion?
Did the intern stay up late?
Is the intern on drugs?
I need drugs.
I need a good night’s sleep.
I’ll email a question to the Q ?
She’ll answer.

Janice Grinyer said...

"Navin - The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!

Harry - Well I wish I could get so excited about nothing.

Navin - Nothing? Are you kidding?! Page 73, Johnson, Navin, R.! I'm
somebody now! Millions of people look at this book every day!
This is the kind of spontaneous publicity, you're name in print,
that makes people! I'm impressed! Things are going to start
happening to me now!"

Above is a script excerpt from the movie "The Jerk" - I hold Navin's attitude dearly to my heart, because optimism is what gets me up in the morning when everything else has gone to shit. And when things aren't going to shit. And everything in between. Like silence.

Optimism is that little gift you get when you take time to see it.

London, you got this.

BJ Muntain said...

Mommy: "can a book be too niche to print?"

That depends on the niche, really, and how badly you want it published. Large publishers tend to not publish things that won't get a large audience. But there are many small publishers that target specific niches. No matter your niche, you should always research it fully. If you know there are other books in your niche published, find out who published them. If you know others who write in your niche, ask them if they know of publishers. And read all the publisher's listings you can find.

Self-publishing a niche book is another choice.

If you really want to be published by a traditional publisher, then research research research. If you want to get the book out there and traditional publishing doesn't seem to offer you a way, then self-publishing may be an option. If all you want is to get the book out there, self-publishing may be the way to start with.

John Frain said...

Thanks, guys, for the thoughts on crit partners/beta readers. Just clicked over to that CompuServe page, Julie. Wow. It's like a mall parking lot in December, I don't know which way to turn!

This writing gig isn't supposed to be easy. Get that. But why only 24 hours in a day? And don't clients understand they only get in the way of the work we'd really rather be doing?

I mean my clients, I'm sure yours are all nice and understanding and breeze through your first ten pages with two notes of constructive criticism while you work on their stuff for a fee. (I like some of my clients, but isn't it okay to still wish they'd go away?)

Anonymous said...

John, go to Algonquin section and say, "Hi, I'm new here. Julie sent me." You'll need to create an account, which is simple. They don't want your first born...I tried. Click on create a topic and in subject line put "New Here" or something similar.

Karen may try to move you to the Diana Gabaldon folder where the official "New Here" thread is. Which would not be bad. Herself (Diana) is often very gracious about welcoming new people. However, unless you want to talk endlessly about Outlander, escape quickly and head to Research and Craft, Writing Biz and Events, and Writers Exercises.

Research and Craft is always interesting because anyone can pop in with a question and get a lot of help and some interesting discussions on the nuts and bolts and unicorns of writing.

One of the members has a discussion going about her query letter in Writing Biz and there's still lots of talk about Surrey. Check out those threads. Attendees are posting notes from classes they took.

Someone noted Harper Voyager is open to submissions now if you have sci-fi or fantasy.

Those are usually the only sections I hang around. It could turn into a massive time sink otherwise.

Workshop is also available.

Be brave. I'm in and out since I do things like write, but I'll look for you and people are quick to pounce and welcome newcomers.

Colin Smith said...


For those of you wondering about "niche" books, books that agents love but can't sell, and Janet's attitude toward self-publishing, check out this from the Janet Reid archives (August 27, 2010 to be precise):

And that was my third comment--unless we count it as a link... :D

Timothy Lowe said...

Agent query connect - not sure how many have used it. Sign on and critique others' queries and ask for them to return the favor. Some critiques you can take with a grain of salt (some of the posters are in it for shits and giggles, I think, not trying to be professionals) but you can tell the real ones. And some are very helpful. Free, at least, and no skin off your nose for trying, if you can stand the criticism, which of course is what we're all really asking (desperate) for.

My two cents. With inflation it might be worth a penny.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I was just thinking about how many Reiders would have commented about how clever my exactly 100 word little-ditty was, but chose not to waste their comment limit, by complimenting my attempt at cleverness. Woe is me and my need to be assured that my attempts at humor are appreciated. I guess I'll just have to wear my big girl pants and get over it.
There is always the chance that it wasn't clever and less than amusing. Nawww.

London Setterby said...

Thank you all so much for your kind, insightful (and funny!) comments. I suffered in silence for a long time with all of this and I'm so glad now that I wrote to Janet for help. What a great community she has here! I'll be taking notes on your suggestions! Thank you again :-)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

London, let me say this. Believe in YOUR story as a writer as well as the ones you write. Be open to learning, stand firm to your personal constitution and always be ready to bend against criticism. Silence is not criticism, it is the quiet within which we seek expression.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Basic Rejectomancy 101 says (discounting the silence) that if all you're getting are form rejects, chances are your query letter isn't the best. I'd recommend this as the first place to start fixing things. Also the easiest thing to tweak at this point.

Dear London,
I am curious now about your query letter.
Her Grace.