Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dejection Report

No that's not a typo.

After waiting for four months for a response from an agent, I finally sent a follow up. The agent very courteously replied that she didn't know where it was, that it might be in her intern's box and she'd send it along to him. Another month went by and on the advice of Ray (Hi Ray) I sent one more follow up. This time her new intern replied, requesting that I resend the material. I did this and she sent me a form rejection twenty-four hours later (As she has a reputation for offering helpful rejections, I dreamed that she might offer me one. I could really use that kind of help).

This is all part of the process. It still stinks.

In the process of doing some checking on the Query Tracker, I discovered that the agent's orginal intern (the one who my first query went to) quit taking queries back in June because they were so very backlogged. Although this shouldn't have affected me, it might have alerted me to the problem a little sooner had someone announced it somewhere other than on the intern's blog, which I had no reason to visit.(Getting to know the agent's expectations is challenge enough).

This morning I decided to follow up with the other agents I queried in that same window in time and discovered through Query Tracker that their response time is quite a bit shorter than I've allowed for. I can only assume that they didn't receive my queries. This leaves me wondering (and giving the first intern the benefit of the doubt) if the first agent ever received my query. This does not leave me feeling very comfortable with my server. Nor does it offer me any confidence in querying through e-mail. I'm wondering if it's considered poor form to attach read receipts?

So I've now requeried one agent as that's what their site recommends and sent a follow up to the other. I've got four more queries going out this weekend.

Yesterday was an otherwise lousy day as well--all my squash plants were murdered by vine borers, we're still broke (I keep expecting that to change?), I found a fly in my wine (wine not whine) and my husband has to work, using our only car, so I couldn't make the writer's conference I've been planning to go to. So I finally had myself a regular little pity party, with only one guest in attendance. I don't think I'll invite my husband to the next such soiree. He eats all the icecream, drinks all the flyless wine, and is too darned encouraging to be any fun.

And thus I plod onwards.


Pencil Writer said...

My hat's off to you. You've at least sent your manuscript off to wend its way through the dastardly, dog-eat-dog world where hopeful writers seek publication.

I've been writing since 1999--have about 8 manuscripts mostly done, but hesitate to send them off. (Fear of rejection? I dunno. I like my "books"; some of my friends who've read some parts of them like them. My husband, children, siblings, friends encourage me to try to get them published.

But, I'm here in a perpetual "edit mode" tweaking here and there seeking "readers" to help me with the process. Was for a VERY short time in a tiny writers group. (It was so tiny that we began with a potential group of 5, which only amounted to 3 and then just two of us and we mostly emailed back and forth--we live in different towns. And then, when she had someone working professionally on her screen play script, she didn't have time to do the writer's group. We're still in touch, but well. Hmmmm.

I would encourage you to keep plugging and don't give up. You at least have advance far beyond my own efforts! Good luck to you!

Big Plain V said...

Every aspect of the querying process is miserable - you should be proud of yourself for your endurance.

When I get overwhelmed by rejection, I tend to stop sending queries out. I usually turn to a new story like its some kind of anasthetic. "That last one is obviously hopeless, I need to write something everybody will love."

And that right there is a recipe for stagnation. Good for you for not letting it paralyze you.

Scotty said...

Aaaaaw, sorry to hear that, Mary, but good luck with the new round of plodding forward. One slow step after the other, eh?

The fly in the wine really sucks though; talk about having a bad day.

Speaking of bad days - how do you know when you're having a really bad day? You wake up and find a Sixty Minutes crew on your doorstep...

Sorry for the lame attempt to cheer you up.


Debby said...

Well, gees, Mary...don't invite PW or Big Plain V to your pity parties either. They sound far too encouraging as well. Oh. And by the way, I think that you'd better delete my name as well, because I'd only say encouraging words as well. Your blog comments remind me of a song..."where never is heard a discouraging word..."

Mary Paddock said...

PW--Thank you. I've visted your blog. It's obvious to me that you can write. Perhaps you should consider starting "smaller" and try subbing some sort fiction to novice friendly markets.

Ray--"Every aspect of the querying process is miserable". You said it. And thank you.

Scotty--Thank you for the not-lame attempt.

Debby--Yep, it looks like I'd better come up with a better party theme. Thanks.

Mary is much better now and will commence treating her blog as a whine-free (whine free-not wine free) zone for the next month.

Pencil Writer said...

Thank you, Mary. That was very kind of you! I have actually submitted two small plays I've written (for Church activities) to an "contest" of sorts that Church Hq has every couple of years or so. I don't think they're letting people know anything for a month or so yet, but if one or the other gets a nod, well . . . that will certainly feel like a feather in my cap. Waiting, waiting, waiting . . . fingers crossed.

(I just love writing. You've probably not noticed that with my criptic comments, right?) Oh, and thanks for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed reading yours, too!

Anonymous said...

Well, I am in awe of you even sending it in, although I can understand how dejection or rejection would send you into a tail spin.

Oh - and nothing wrong with a good whine. Trust me :)

Anonymous said...

Well, I am in awe of you even sending it in, although I can understand how dejection or rejection would send you into a tail spin.

Oh - and nothing wrong with a good whine. Trust me :)

Mary Paddock said...

RW--Thanks. It's culmination of rejections that finally get to you. The trick is in convincing yourself that this was just the wrong audience. Not always easy. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary,

The following relates to Australian writers, agents, publishers, but it's probably the same around the world

10 seconds!

“Many aspiring novelists are quite unaware of the competition they are facing "out there". If they were, perhaps they would not be so impatient to send their manuscripts to a publisher or agent. Literally thousands of unsolicited novel manuscripts hit the desks of publishers across Australia each year and land in what we call the slush pile.

Several years ago, I was visiting a publisher at the HarperCollins building at Pymble. In the company's meeting room I saw a writer acquaintance of mine (let's call him Bill) sitting at a huge board table in front of a mountain of manuscripts. He was, in fact, a non-fiction writer specialising in books about police corruption and other such subjects.

I asked the publisher what Bill was doing, and the publisher told me that Bill was going through the company's accumulated "slush pile" of unsolicited fiction manuscripts. I guess Bill had been employed by the publisher because he was one of the company's authors, needed the money and could be counted on to be ruthless with fiction.

I observed him for a few minutes and noticed that he took each manuscript from the pile and, after opening it on what looked, from a distance, to be the first page of the first chapter, he glanced at what looked, from a distance, to be the first paragraph of the first page for about 10 seconds maximum — yes, 10 seconds maximum. Then he uncere-moniously threw the manuscript onto the untidy pile of folders mounting on the carpeted floor next to his chair.
Editorial - Unrealistic expectations, IRINA DUNN

"And thus I plod onwards".
You're a writer what else can you do?