Here’s an analogy sure to brighten the mood of the unpublished: writing a book is kind of like spending a year creating a lottery ticket. Sunny days, people! Sunny days!
Basically, what I’m trying to emphasize in this post is that the odds are against you. Wait. That also sounds depressing. Um…
The importance of chance
A while back I posted the query points system, in which one needs to score 10 points out of a 30 points system (Professionalism/Book Idea/Credentials) in order to get a manuscript requested. But what Conduit pointed out in the comments section is that the whole “resonance with agent” factor is extremely important and that there’s an undefinable X Factor at play in queries.
This is completely true. And I think people need to take it into account when querying and reacting to rejections.
There’s tons of advice on how to write a query letter, and authors spend hours and hours crafting the perfect query letter. But because of that resonance factor, which is hugely important… they might just not “get” your project.
It’s not their fault, it’s not your fault, no one can’t control it, it’s just part of the process. I think it kind of drives people nuts to think that there’s so much they can’t control when it comes to queries. So I have a recommendation: try not to think about it.
All you can do is query widely
This is the entire driving force behind the idea that one should query widely. You just never know who your idea is going to resonate with.
But I did want to end this post on a happy note, which is that you shouldn’t take rejections too hard. Like I say in the blog title, it’s not you, it’s the odds.
Literary agents can’t take on very many people at all, and when they do take someone on they have to both really love their work (so they can be the right advocate) and think it can sell (so they can have a job).
That translates to a mere handful out the thousands of people who query a year becoming clients. Um. Wait. That wasn’t very reassuring.
RAINBOWS AND PUPPIES.
There. That’s better!
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my online classes, my guide to writing a novel and my guide to publishing a book.
And if you like this post: subscribe to my newsletter!
Art: The Dice by Simó Gómez Polo
I do keep querying you first. But damn, they don’t resonate. Not yet, anyway.
Other Lisa says
I just looked at that Queue Books thing.
A “professional” critique at $4 a page?!
I find that dubious.
Melody Ayres-Griffiths says
@vinnie: There’s a self-publishing scheme at https://www.lulu.com that also aids in selling on-line. I think that’s the closest thing to a ‘writer’s co-operative’ you’re likely to find.
I like it because you can actually hand someone a bound book to critique, which tends to significantly elevate their opinion. And it’s not that pricey.
Nick Travers says
The whole point of writing is we do it because we love it. Anything else is a bonus, right?
Always look on the bright side of life,..dum…de-dum…de-dum, de-dum-de-dum-de-da-da…
Yes, and Erik also lives in Minnesota, where Queue’s parent company, Scarletta Press – an indie that doesn’t accept unagented submissions – is based.
I’d avoid this company.
I don’t really like ice cream and only have one stomach, so I would always pick a cookie or a brownie. That doesn’t mean the rest of my friends wouldn’t give their precious stomach space to ice cream. Personal taste is everything…
A heads up: don’t send your work to be “polished” by an unknown on some website at great expense. There are writers groups you can meet with in person. There are also some great ones online. Writers help each other.
If you really feel you need a final edit before sending out your manuscript, hire a professional editor whose credentials you can check.
Some of these websites remind me of the ads in ’60’s comic books: “Draw this character.” Anyone who did, received a “You really do have talent!!” letter and a heavy pitch for their drawing course.
Jack Roberts, Annabelle's scribe says
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…