Tag Archives: rejection

Literary Agent Search

13 Apr

I’ve heard many people say that they are searching for the perfect agent. As if there is only one perfect agent for them.

I disagree.

Authors works tirelessly combing the internet and publications for agents that are ‘perfect’ for them, when in reality there are many ideal agents available.

That’s not to say it’s easy finding an agent (perfect or otherwise). Of course you weed out the ones who do not represent your genre (fiction, mystery, sci-fi, biography, history etc.) or specific audience (PB, MG, YA). That still leaves several hundred who do. Then you search for those who represent specifically what you have written. My recommendation is that you cast your net wide. (Remember when your mother told you there are plenty of fish in the sea?) Even though you may think your story is a good fit for a particular agent there are countless reasons why you may not be offered a contract. Some have a heavy workload and cannot take on new talent. Some have something else like yours in their catalog already. Some are in the process of changing their focus. Some are closed to submissions when you’re ready to publish. Some may have left the business altogether.

And so the dreaded rejections pile up, usually in two categories, the Ignore, in which case you just don’t hear from the agent at all or the Form rejections, for example your story didn’t move them, your main character didn’t speak to them, it doesn’t fit their needs, etc. Every once in a while you’ll receive a personalized rejection specifically stating what they liked about your story and either the reason they passed on it or a suggestion to improve the story and your chances of getting published.

What now? You’ve got a story you believe in but you’ve been rejected not only by your ‘dream’ agent but also several others who you were sure were as close to perfect as you could get. You must continue to submit. This is not the time to wallow in your grief. There really are more fish in the sea. Go back and cast your nets again.

You’ll never land an agent unless you persist. Agents are busy people. They have a list of clients (or they’re busy building their list). They are not out there searching the internet looking for your story… you must send your story to them.

And when you finally do find an agent who likes your work and wants to give you a contract… then and only then, have you found your

Procrastination

28 Feb

 Who was procrastinating this morning?  “Not I,” said the fly.  Okay, maybe just a little. It’s the last day of February and I want to get a jump start on March.  I have three stories that need revision and I want to write an application for a grant this month.  Plenty of time!  Let me just grab a cup of coffee and watch a little news.  Nothing exciting there… how about some children’s television to inspire me?  Hmmmm, Spongebob Squarepants?  Oh well, what could a few minutes hurt?  No way!  Walt Dohrn, Paul Tibbitt, and Mr. Lawrence are geniuses!  Why haven’t I ever watched this before?

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Let me recap the episode for you.                                                                     Spongebob gets an 800 word writing assignment. (Sounds familiar doesn’t it picture book writers?).  He’s super excited. (You bet!).  He prepares his work space. (Smart.)  He dashes out the title. (Okay, good start.) “Funny,” he says to his pencil. “As my ideas roll, you shrink.” (This is great stuff!) Then…<cue the melodramatic music>…NOTHING!  (Uh, oh.) He finds other things to do in the house. (Feeds Gary, cleans the kitchen…this is my life.)  He finally sits down and works furiously for several hours.  (Ta-da!)  One word, only 799 words to go! (Tension! Suspense! Drama!)  Procrastination sets in. (Marco Polo phone calls in the middle of the night, choking on eraser shavings… really, how is one supposed to write with all this other activity going on?) He awakes from a nightmare. (Really… Walt, Paul and Mr. Lawrence, get out of my head!) He has an epiphany. (What all great writers experience.) He writes everything down at the last minute. (First draft is perfect of course.) He races to school and delivers it just in time, only to be told by his teacher that she has changed her plans for the assignment.   (Rejection! Take note authors… through no fault of his own, Spongebob’s piece was rejected simply because she changed her mind!)

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