Monday, January 16, 2017

When It's a No

Recently, I've been reading really great manuscripts.  

And passing on them.  

I realized I wanted to write about that this week after doing my potential client match quiz, in order to hopefully encourage people who have had a rough time with something they've gotten positive feedback on, because, sometimes even though I think a manuscript is great, I don't end up making an offer for the following reasons:
  1. I'm not 100% in love
  2. I am in love, but I know that there are already too many similar books out there
  3. I need something more polished and don't have the time to get it there myself (this is usually something that results in an R&R)
  4. I recognize that the manuscript is fantastic, but it's not my cup of tea (e.g. adult high fantasy, really angsty teen lit, and so on)
In regard to #3, a lot of the reasons I am being more selective than I was a few years ago is that my client list is starting to fill out and I just don't have as much time to work on revising as I used to.  I still love being involved in helping shape my clients' manuscripts and consider myself a hands-on agent, but, for instance, I used to send line edits each and every time I read a draft of something, whereas now I usually send detailed editorial letters with suggestions and examples.  I also have wonderful interns who help me out!

Regardless, I know it's a bummer to told you have something worthy but still get a pass, which is why I wanted to write this post.  If this is something that has happened to you, you should know that you have the start of something with potential that you can work on and bring to the next level--either by pushing forward and continuing the submission process until you find the right agent, or looking critically at your manuscript (hopefully with helpful agenting feedback) and figure out what you need to do get your book over the edge into "super special" territory.

I almost always am willing to re-read projects like this or to look at other projects by the author once I have a memo in my brain that they are solid writers, so when you get feedback like that from me, don't write me off your list!  

Have you ever gotten a rejection from an agent that said your story was great but...?  Were their comments helpful?  What kind of feedback do you want to receive when you have a good project that just isn't getting an offer?

And Happy MLK Day, everyone!