Update on my quest for a new literary agent

Hello everyone,

As I mentioned in my earlier post, my quest to replace my last literary agent continues. I just received another lovely personalized rejection letter. Far from being discouraged, I have to take this as the compliment it is meant to be. The publishing industry was never an easy one to break into, and modern economics have not been kind to lengthy first novels. Getting a personalized rejection letter like this –and this time the agent specializes in historical fiction– is both rare and flattering. I’ll keep plugging away, but in the meantime I wanted to share.

Dear Geoff,

Thank you for your manuscript.  I loved that you have tackled a subject where little is known and yet there is so much to tell.  I always find that some of the most fascinating historicals are written about a time of change and a destruction of an empire.  I can also tell that your level of research is very high (reading the knots is so fascinating!) and that this is a subject that you are immersed in.

That said, I felt that the book needs a big edit where the pacing is improved, the story is paired down to find the core, and the true conflicts that drive the narration are brought to the fore.  This edit, unfortunately, is one that would be too big for me to undertake as I do see drastic cuts and changes that would need to be made. I can only suggest that you find an editor who can help you make this book into the amazing story it already promises to be.

If you do go through a rigorous edit and then wish me to see your manuscript again, I would be delighted to reconsider it.

All the best, Jennifer

I don’t think I’m cutting this thing down. I have two long novels that I’m proud of. If worst comes to worst, five years from now I’ll take a long hard look at the e-publishing options once that industry develops into a thing that doesn’t feel like taking a short cut. In the meantime, I have another agent waiting to consider the work, and I have other books to write (including one in a mere 30 days via the National Novel Writing Month challenge).

Cheers!

3 Responses to Update on my quest for a new literary agent

  1. […] ADDITION (Oct 30th, 2010): I have just received a lovely personalized rejection letter from a literary agent. You can find it here. […]

  2. Geoff,
    You’ve received a qualified decline, not a rejection. The agent is interested in your subject, but wants more conflict/action in fewer pages.
    In principle, I agree with your decision to test other agents rather than weed-whack your manuscript. I think the author’s vision should always be honored at the start.
    You’ve got someone who is willing to review the work again, should it come to the choice between print publication or not.
    Many times, I find that agents (and publisher’s editors) have a good sense about what will make for sales (or not). So you can make it an issue of who’s right. Or, you can bring at least some attention to the period you have researched. Tim

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