This is not a post about defeat and I certainly don’t mean it to sound like recreational angsting. I’m actually a very optimistic person, but at the moment, I’m also feeling surreal and a little disappointed—although preemptively.
Back at the end of September, I queried my first-ever real/live novel. It occurs to me now that I never got around to posting the quick-and-dirty about that, so these are my stats.
- Queries sent: 14
- Rejections of query with no comment: 3
- Rejection with suggestion to query mega-agent: 1 (this comes back later)
- Requests for more material (array of fulls and partials): 6
- Non-responders: 4
- Offers of representation: 0
I realize that there are many people who might look at these numbers and be scandalized that I only sent out 14 queries, particularly since my hit rate was very good. However, and I’ve said this before, the feedback I’ve gotten has been consistent. There is agent-consensus. I am the author of what is essentially a flawed manuscript, which is fine, since it was also a first manuscript. Honestly, I’m pretty proud that the book isn’t awful, as that tends to be an occupational hazard of first manuscripts. Upshot=I promise that in the future, I can do way better.
However, on the topic of the mega-agent:
In my mind, this woman is basically the pinnacle as far as literary agents go, but I was way too scared to query her, because she is Impressive. So, instead, I queried someone else at the same agency—younger, hungrier, building his list, you know the drill. He was very courteous and wrote saying that while he didn’t think the project was right for him, I should query his colleague (big, fancy agent) because it sounded like the type of thing she might be interested in.
Until yesterday, I counted her as a non-responder (you’ll remember, all this was happening back in September). But yesterday, she requested a partial. Here’s where the defeat-part comes in. Six months ago, it would have meant everything to get a request from this agent. Now, what it comes down to is, I don’t have a lot of faith in the project. I’m at a loss regarding how to fix the thing on a structural level, although over the past few months, I’ve taken several runs at making it less ugly. I wish I had something really knock-out. It seems like such a waste to get a request from from one of my most-coveted agents for something I don’t feel is strictly viable, but there’s nothing to be done.
Defeat time is over now. I sent it anyway.