Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sometimes We Just Don't Like It

Like most editors and agents out there, one of the toughest jobs we have is writing those rejection letters to authors. Now, I know that some have simply given up on the whole rejection letter approach. Their idea is if you don't hear back from us, it is a no. Obviously, if you have been on this blog before, you know I don't agree with that. Others, have simply taken to using a form letter that says the project just didn't work for them. Everyone gets the same letter. Again, not something I fully agree with, but there is some merit in this approach.

I do find when I am writing letters back to the authors, I end up using many of the same phrases over and over again. Honestly, there are only so many ways to say the story lacked the depth of character and/or plot development. But the one answer I want to focus on today connects back into that comment I made in the prior paragraph about projects that simply don't work with an agent.

There are simply times when we read a project and there really isn't anything wrong with it. Plot is fine, premise is fine, writing is fine, and I am sure the author is a pretty good person, but for some reason the story simply didn't connect with us. This is a tough one for the author receiving the letter because he or she is trying desperately to make that first sale and make improvements with their writing. The problem here is that there might not be anything to improve or fix. The story just didn't work.

As an author, you want an agent who really loves your story. You don't want milk toast here! You want passion for a project. Regardless of how good the writing may be, there are simply times when the story itself (for no particular reason) is just ho-hum for us. No, adding plot isn't going to fix it, adding more sex scenes isn't going to do it. It is just "there" to us.

Don't get frustrated with this one. Letters like this might simply mean you just sent the project to the wrong person. Move on and see what happens.


1 comment:

  1. I appreciated the prompt and polite rejections. I do wonder if there is an alternative to the present query system. After 18 months I gave up and self-published. I remember reading Rachelle Gardner's observation that she received 10,000 queries in one year (I believe it was 2010 or 2011) and didn't take on one of them. That was discouraging I would think to many who read it.