I still can’t answer your follow-up e-mails after rejections.
I’ve blogged about this before, and yet for some reason follow-up e-mails after a rejection have been spreading like a wildfire in a forest where the trees are made of matches and kerosene (yay similes!).
I’m sorry people, but I still can’t answer your follow-up e-mails. I can’t tell you how to fix your manuscript, can’t tell you how to fix your query, can’t recommend other agents.
Out of necessity I have to rely on form e-mails that, I am fully aware, aren’t particularly helpful. But not only do I not have the time to respond to further questions (I don’t) I honestly don’t think I’d even be the right person to help you.
When I’m reading a query or partial I’m not thinking about why it’s good or bad or what you could do better or what parts of the query or partial you could improve. I’m thinking, “Is this something I want to represent and/or is this striking a chord with me?” That’s the only question I’m answering.
It’s like riding a roller coaster. When I’m reading I’m on the ride, I’m not thinking about the joists and the structural engineering that makes it all possible.
Sure, if I decide to work with you on a rewrite I will sit down with the manuscript and devote a great deal of time to thinking about why it’s working, and I will write an impossibly long e-mail detailing these points. When I do a query critique I will sit down with the query and think about what makes it strong or weak. With time I can explain specifically why it is or isn’t working. And I’ll try and give you some sense of my thought process in a partial manuscript response.
But if you need more input, you’d be better off seeking advice from people who are thinking specifically about how to make your query or manuscript better. Unless you’re able to corral an agent to do that, a prospective agent just is not that person.