Rejection Numero Uno

I recently received a rejection in response to a query for my novel, Collateral Damage. I’ve been collecting them for short stories for a while, but this one is my first for the novel. It’s oddly satisfying.

At this stage, I’ve only begun the journey, so it feels a bit like the first awkward, necessary step. I’ve got several other queries out and I’ve decided to wait and see what kind of responses I get before I open the floodgates. If they are all suspiciously form letter-esque, I’ll rewrite the query letter. If they indicate that the agent at least read a bit before passing on it, I’ll possibly re-visit the first chapter and see if any tweaks are necessary.

I’ve got a pretty tough sell. Apparently. Super hero fiction isn’t “in”, despite the crazy explosion of it at the theaters. Oh, and as mentioned previously, my audience doesn’t exist.

Or so some say.

Here’s the real trick, and something I haven’t started seriously considering yet: I’m not looking for an agent, an agent is looking for me. So, I won’t get very far with the shotgun approach where you send out a letter to every agent in the publishing world and pray for the best. Instead, I need to be heat seeking. Laser guided. Atomic perfection.

I need to actually work at this. Blind subs have been sort of my bread and butter with short stories. Sure, I always read guidelines and try to get a feel for what an editor is looking for, but I hardly have the infinite resources (or time) it would take to subscribe to every publication I’ve sent stories. I have sought out interviews with those editors on occasion, but usually I write to the theme / topic and pray for the best. With the novel though, it’s going to have to be different.

For one, finding the right agent means finding an agent that has the same type of stories under his/her representation. Sounds simple, perhaps. Of course, I’ve had a hell of a time coming up with comps so it will be a bit trickier than normal.

I’ve got a sci-fi, superhero, young adult antagonist on a pretty interesting and not at all times young adult adventure. It’s written for an older crowd in many ways but accessible to that crazy -popular YA segment. The backstory touches on terrorism, torture, and remote warfare – legacies of a post 911 America. It needs an editor/agent who enjoys traditional sci-fi with a bit of social commentary subtley woven into its threads and one that can enjoy a book that goes off the traditional rails a wee bit to get the point across.

To my future agent – keep an eye on your inbox. I’ll find you. But not in a creepy Liam Neeson Taken sort of way. Though I do happen to have a very particular skill set. Skills that are a product of an overactive imagination. Skills that make me a godsend for people like you, whoever you are.

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5 replies

    • Wonderful! Time well spent then – I often wonder about the whole blogging thing. Thanks so much for the compliment.

      • Absolutely. I shared it on my FB author page, too. 🙂

        Sometimes my own blog feels like a wasteland because I don’t have the time to throw up something beautiful and literary and insightful at least once a week. This is an unreasonable goal for me, considering my full-time teaching, full-time writing, being a wife and mother of young kids, and two hours in the car commuting every day. But hey, I try. 🙂 On average, I’d say blogging has been a good thing over here.

  1. Very nice. It’s gives the rest of us something to think about and shoot for. I didn’t really pick up on the social commentary because I was too engrossed in the action, so I don’t know if that’s really a selling point or not. I won’t remind you of the 17 rejects JK got for Harry, or how if it was easy, everyone could do it. Blah, blah, blah. It’s a good book and slightly unique. I’ll try to think of similar books I’ve read and track down their agents. God, marketing is a full time job!

    I use the same short-story technique that you do. Sometimes I’ve just finished a robot detective story when Duotrope posts an anthology looking for robot detectives. Thank god for Duotrope. I’d never have time to write if I had to hunt for all these markets myself. Keep us posted and I’ll keep looking.



  2. Yep, Duotrope is the stuff! Yeah, I do agree that the social commentary isn’t a selling point, but it’s there. I didn’t want it front and center but between that and the character relationships, I like to think it adds a certain depth to Collateral Damage that a lot of genre fiction seems to avoid nowadays.

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