At long last — a new Live Blog!

June 16th, 2010 • Kate

Live Blog 1Guys, what the heck happened to Monday and Tuesday? They were right here, I swear! To make it up to you, I’m thrilled to open up another exciting Live Blog of my query pile. Shall we dig in?

1. A story of fallen angels and a long war for redemption. Also, starts with a dream/character waking up. Not unique enough to make the cut.
2. And… my brain just exploded. Every thing you’re not supposed to do, this querier just did. Epic fantasy, misspellings, bad grammar, etc.
3. Adult chick lit, about a wife pondering what happened to her life. Some intriguing quirkiness, but not enough to want to see more.
4. You recall my post from last week about destiny and fate? This query uses those same old crutches.
5. A revised query for a novel previously declined. My no still stands, but I’ve invited the author to try me again with something new. To be fair, you all have the same invitation.

6. Another high fantasy YA novel, this one tells me more than I want to know about the action and the cast of quirky characters, without actually getting into the main character’s personality.
7. Women’s paranormal romance about, yes, vampires. But a different kind of vampire! Still, no thanks. My interest in women’s fiction is for more mainstream fiction, not mass market romance.
8. I honestly don’t know what this is supposed to be. It seems like a picture book, until you add in an older teenager, and tell me it’s over 80,000 words. Also, no pages attached, so I can’t get a better sense of what this is. Easier to just say no.
9. Adult nonfiction about a historical event. Not remotely in my areas of interest to represent.
10. Another book that the author thinks is something other than it is. Before you query and tell me your novel is YA or MG, please go to your local bookstore and LOOK at the books in those sections. Better yet, READ some of them. And then realize that, no, less than 10,000 words is not a middle grade novel.

11. A Christian memoir is also not in my areas of interest.
12. This one was almost a request. Intriguing premise and compelling plot, but when I found myself having to check on the main character’s sex, I realized I wasn’t getting the in-depth character development I’d want to go along with the rest.
13. A novel about archetypes! I’d rather read about great characters than character types. Also, not in my areas of interest.
14. While possibly a book I’d be interested in reading, this query isn’t something I’d want to represent. And truly, the author doesn’t want me to represent it. If you have a medical problem, do you ask a banker for advice? No. There’s reasons agents state their areas of interest, and it’s not just to be difficult. It’s because those are where our specialties and our contacts are. Otherwise, you’re asking me to find a whole new area of expertise, and wouldn’t you rather find an agent who’s already a specialist?
15. This MG novel looks cute, but just didn’t grab me.

16. An unfinished novel without pages — or, in fact, any description of the plot or characters. Wow — make it hard for me, why don’t you?
17. Serious (previously self-published) nonfiction on a serious subject. Not for me.
18. Adult sci-fi in a future America isn’t for me.
19. Dark YA paranormal. I just didn’t connect with the writing.
20. An MG mystery, which is a genre I’d love to represent, but the writing didn’t compel.

21. Intrigue, espionage, and politics — no, no, and no thanks. As an aside, can I just say a word of thanks to those writers who actually READ my submission guidelines, and follow my blog, and actually target material to me appropriately? I wish I didn’t have to dig through those writers who don’t read guidelines or the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written on my blog in order to get to the ones who do.
22. MG novel with an important lesson for readers. Not for me. I don’t want to hear about the lesson you intend to convey — I only care about the story, and this one doesn’t seem very well-written.
23. Oh dear god. Almost 300,000 words. I’m absolutely certain you can edit that down, especially if you intend it to appeal to a YA audience.
24. Intern Jenny passes along an intriguing YA paranormal she likes. It’s intriguing to me, too, so we ask for a partial. Great teen voice.
25. Hard sci-fi. Looks to be well-written, and the author’s personality comes across well in the query, but it’s not really for me.

26. Cute concept for a MG, but I didn’t fall in love with the writing.
27. Another YA paranormal. The problem with so many of these is that there are SO MANY of these, it’s hard for any one to stand out unless it’s extraordinary.
28. Same notes as for #27. See how that works?
29. MG fantasy, in which the query throws TOO MUCH at me, so that it’s impossible to shift through and find the main idea.
30. I could have stopped reading at “literary novel”, but I got to the cocaine and alcohol binge before giving up.

31. I don’t actually know what this IS, and I’m not going to waste time trying to figure it out.
32. New age book. Not for me.
33. YA, but the writing doesn’t feel publishable to me.
34. A picture book, which I don’t represent.
35. Another epic YA fantasy. I think these are hard to do well — too often, they read as a D&D adventure, and that doesn’t interest me.

36. I love the idea of this one, but unfortunately, the writing doesn’t match the promise of the plot.
37. An adult thriller, aka an easy no.
38. MG adventure, without pages, but I’m intrigued enough by the plot as described that I’ve asked for a partial anyway.
39. A beach read type of book, but the writing didn’t seem strong enough to place.
40. Adult fantasy? Maybe? Hard to tell, plus, absolutely no description of any characters.

I’m going to take a break here, and try to spend the afternoon reading some other stuff, including client manuscripts and partials. As always, I hope you found this peak behind the curtain of my form rejections helpful. Any questions?

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15 Responses to “At long last — a new Live Blog!”

  1. Molly Says:

    Wow. My comfort right now is that my novel doesn't fit into any of those descriptions… Of course I'm revising, so it's not in that list, either. Have you asked for any partials lately?

  2. Becky Mahoney Says:

    Yay! I love your query live blogs. Though it's probably a good thing you didn't happen to do one while my query was out to you – I would have been refreshing that post constantly!

    "12. This one was almost a request. Intriguing premise and compelling plot, but when I found myself having to check on the main character’s sex, I realized I wasn’t getting the in-depth character development I’d want to go along with the rest."

    I had to do that recently with a published book, actually…

  3. Creepy Query Girl Says:

    Wow- thanks for posting this! We so often wonder what's behind the form rejection and this really gives great insight so thanks.

  4. Red Boot Pearl Says:

    It's interesting that so many people send queries on stuff you don't represent. I'm almost ready to send my query out into the world…It gives me a slight boost in confidence, knowing I've actually researched who I'm going to send it to, while many others haven't.

  5. Krista V. Says:

    Love these posts. Thanks.

  6. A.L. Sonnichsen Says:

    I love these, too. Keep them up. They make me want to dive into querying again, but I. Must. Wait. (For now.) Is that weird that I want to query again after reading about all these rejections? Probably.

    Amy

  7. Bethany Says:

    I think this is the first live post I've caught. I like it. 🙂

  8. Carrie Harris Says:

    I'm lucky enough to be one of your clients, and I still love these. 🙂

  9. Jaya Lakshmi Says:

    What defines a "cute" MG? And what MGs do you prefer overall? Gritty? Action-packed? Funny?

  10. Davy DeGreeff Says:

    Jeez Louise, my heart was pounding as I read that, just waiting for something that sounded like the query I submitted a few weeks ago. Granted, a few of those very vague descriptions did somewhat line up with it, but I just kept telling myself, "you haven't seen a rejection pop up yet, you haven't seen a rejection pop up yet…"

  11. Davy DeGreeff Says:

    On top of my last comment, this whole concept is really interesting. I'd love to see some more in-depth coverage, but I guess that's what asking Daphne about your query is for.

  12. Sara Says:

    Thanks, this is awesome!

  13. Jill Elizabeth Says:

    Very insightful, thank you! I find it interesting on your comment about the overflow of YA paranormals, yet the one that intrigued you was a YA paranormal. seems like it really does come down to how well it's done and how strong the writing is, which is reassuring.

  14. Suzannah Says:

    Love, love, love this. Thanks–passing it along to my readers.

  15. February Grace Says:

    Wow- fascinating stuff, thank you. Will tweet!

    ~bru