Thursday, April 14, 2011

The 13th Rejection

Starting March 13- end April 13

How's the new blog post title "The 13th Rejection"? I'm playing around with new titles because I don't like plain "Rejection Rate." Have any better titles? Let me know!


Someone asked last month what my actual numbers were, instead of just percentages, and why I give percentages. My mind works best in fractions and percentages (one thing my mathematically-minded father was able to drill into my non-scientific brain). Each month, I answer about 300 queries and the partials depends on how many I have requested. This month, I've read and replied to about 50.

This month, based on queries, I rejected 86% of queries, much lower than it was last month. That's 259 queries that were rejected based on the query letter. Remember, as busy as agents are, we are looking for any reason to reject your query. You put all that effort into your manuscript, make sure you put just as much effort into the query letter. Go to sites such as Query Shark and ask your critique group to critique the letter (you DO have a critique group right?). There are many contests going on all the time, check out blogs for contests for query critiques. These are invaluable because the critiquers will probably be professionals and will give you honest advice (as honest as if you had paid a professional, which is also an option for you).

Based on partials, I requested to see more pages (50, 100, or the full ms) for only 6%. Out of 48 partials, I requested to see more pages on 3. I read only one full ms this month. Why the higher query numbers and low partials numbers? The queries were good and/or contained excellent ideas/plots/characters. But the partials weren't ready yet and/or started in the wrong place. The biggest reason is that I wasn't drawn in right away: VOICE.

But you've all heard this before. I talk about voice in every other blog post and spout the importance of the first sentence, first page, first five, first fifty pages in all the other blog posts. Someone hasn't been paying attention. Use your critique groups. Get professional critiques. Take classes. Etc. Etc. Etc.


Queries have been replied to up to March 29
Partials and fulls have been replied to up to March 6

Happy writing!

12 comments:

Reina said...

Funny, I just got rejection #13 last month, for which I'm grateful. Progress is getting requests for pp instead of form rejections. Thanks for the reminders. However, sometimes it takes time to find the right crit group or partner(s). Some are more helpful and knowledgeable than others.

Naomi Canale said...

Great post and new title, which by the way matches the backdrop, nice! Phew that's a lot of work to wade through all of those queries!

Clutzattack said...

Is "The 13th Hour" cliche?... Because agents are so busy that is the magical time they find to squeeze reading queries into.

Thanks for posting your stats. It takes the edge off form rejections everywhere.

Em-Musing said...

Being that you're into math your brain, the title works. And just who do you picture behind the gun?

Sonia M said...

It's always terrifying for me to hear things like this...but it's also excellent information. I'd rather know what I can do to improve my writing and my chances of being published than flounder around in the dark. It's just the thought of being one of those rejections that gives me the shivers (not so bad that I won't query though :D ).

Bethany Robison said...

Semi-related question - I know we're supposed to make our MS perfect prior to querying - but the fact is, it can *always* be better.

So, when we start querying, should we put the MS away and "freeze" it until we hear back, or should we continue trying to improve it (especially if we're getting requests for partials/fulls, but then passes)?

Kaylie Austen said...

These posts are insightful, and another resource for authors when querying.
Now, if you reject a query, but an agent later recommends you for the said rejected work, will you take another look or stick to your initial reaction of the query as a "no"?

Amber said...

This is great advice. In fact I had just recently posted about the importance of the first chapter and finding a cp who will be the perfect ying to your yang to bring your ms to the next level.

I haven't yet finished my novel, and therefore have not queried it, but I know from querying my children's pb, queries really suck! Luckily I did turn to query critiques who butchered-in the best way- and then helped me polish it to something I could be proud of.

I will spend a ton of time on my query when I have completed my ms and I will get at least five opinions before I send it out. Yikes...I don't even want to think about it.

Query= All the sweat and tears you've spilled, your characters (which you love like they are real people), and your story- the adventure you've lived in for months.---Now you have ONE PAGE to convince someone it's worth reading!

UGH, gives me indigestion just thinking about it.

:)~When the time comes I will find the courage to become one of your percentages....hopefuly in the smaller groups :)

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