(a)Word on the street is that diversity gets double the rejection rate of a story that's not diverse. Several of my friends who are People of Color reported rejection rates from 100+ before getting accepted, while the people who wrote say straight white (cis) (males) often report reject rates around 40-50 average. This doesn't seem to matter on genre either.
(b)Given the larger rejection rates for diverse and highly diverse manuscripts in the industry and me hearing that it sometimes takes 2+! years to get through all of the rejections before getting a hit, is it wiser or less wise to send in more than 5 submissions per round per month. I'm tempted to double it considering the higher rejection rate, but equally nervous about burning bridges while doing so.
(c)Also, I have a habit of writing outside of the usual American gold standard for "What makes a story good" by borrowing from the cultures I'm writing in (Of course with extensive research). I figure my primary audience should be the real life people that are represented by the characters. However, I also recognize that often agents and (white) readers won't recognize those conventions up front and say NO, that's a "wrong" way to tell a story. I'm also semi-frustrated because reports from College Lit class students report that the "World Lit" section only covers things like "Greek" and "Roman" which doesn't really help. (And most of the time they don't hit up the diversity within those lits either. Like the LGBTQIA.) I'm aware this results in a higher rejection rate for me as most people probably reading my stories while professing to want diversity, probably haven't say, studied what a Dream Record (Korea) is. I have no idea if the agent knows what Kishotenketsu looks like. Never gotten to read outside of American (and maybe European) Lit. Is there a professional way to battle this misconception in a query, so they don't auto-reject and give the story a fair shake just because it doesn't fit the gold standard American Mold?
Kinda trying to battle the systemic prejudice within publishing here and would love some tips on how to get through it in a less painful way.
Thanks for any tips you can give.
For starters "word on the street" means writer anecdotes, and listening to those at all, let alone drawing conclusions from them will make you crazy. It's akin to "my cousin's hairdresser's boyfriend had his kidney stolen by organ brokers and woke up in the park with an ice pack and a note to get to a hospital." Unless you know the guy's name, and saw the note, don't be so quick to believe things.
There's simply no way to draw conclusions based on rejection rates. Those are not measurable, replicable numbers. And given "no response means no" has become the norm, you're using the absence of data as data.
My little math loving heart quivers.
What you CAN measure is books that are PUBLISHED. And yes, there is a stunning lack of diversity in published books. That situation is starting to change, but publishing moves at a glacial pace in every single way except author rodent wheels, so that change is going to take a while to see.
And there's NOTHING you can do about this other than buy and talk about books that are the kind of books you write and want to read.
Your question about increasing your submission rate from five queries a month to ten implies you burn bridges by sending queries out too fast. I can't imagine why you think that. Querying doesn't burn bridges. Querying gets your project in front of agent's eyeballs.That's ALL it does.
As to paragraph (c) I literally don't understand what you are trying to say here. You've got a reference to gold standard (which has nothing to do with writing or novels), college lit classes (which have nothing to do with trade publishing) and references to auto-reject (which is generally due to things like "fiction novel" not things we might have to google like Kishotenketsu.)
Bottom line: You're missing a key quality for someone who wants to be a professional novelist. That quality is die hard certainty you are the exception to all the stats, all the anecdotes, all the BBS denizens that say you will fail. You have to look at daunting stats (and while you haven't collected those stats properly here, the stats ARE daunting) and say "that will not apply to me."
Without that determination, you will always find a reason you didn't succeed.And there will always always ALWAYS be a cacophony of voices telling you how hard it is, how racist, ableist, out of touch; how the powers that be are stacked against you. And all of it will be true. That can't matter to you.
Every single time I read a query I'm not thinking "this won't be the one." I'm hoping just the opposite. Your job is to write the one that is.
And every single person in my office is looking diligently for underrepresented voices. I sit in those meetings, I beta read those manuscripts. If anyone tells you agents aren't looking for this, ask if they're in the meeting, or reading the manuscripts.Yes it takes a lot of rejection to get to yes. That's always been true. It will never change.
Here's the answer to your question (Kinda trying to battle the systemic prejudice within publishing here and would love some tips on how to get through it in a less painful way) at long last: There is no less painful way. This is the reality you're working in. It's going to be a battle. It's going to have very few victories. I don't know if it's better to know that going in, or discover the hard way via experience.
What I can tell you is this: Don't listen to anyone who tells you that your book didn't get picked up cause agents are racist and insensitive and full of white privilege idiots. Yes, there are certainly some of those in the field. BUT, the biggest reason we don't take things we're actively looking for is the story or the writing aren't compelling.