Welcome to Talkback!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Advice - Queries, Manuscript etc.
  • Hi,

    I'm new to this and just in the process of querying agents with my first novel. I would really appreciate some advice from others going through same thing as I'm feeling a bit isolated and this is all new to me.

    At the moment I'm looking to send off another batch of query letters. I've had several rejections and not heard back from other agencies. I've sent off about twelve so far in two batches. I have read up on query letters/synopsis etc. but I haven't had any professional help with these.

    I have had some positive feedback about my writing from agents which made me a little hopeful, however my novel has a slight fantasy edge to it and I read this could put some agencies off. Recently one requested the full manuscript, however then this was rejected without any feedback.

    This has left me unsure about whether I should leave things as they are and just keep trying different agencies, or whether I need to go back to the manuscript/edit query letter etc. I'm really unsure what to do before proceeding and wonder whether anybody could offer any advice.

    Thanks,
    Rose.

  • Aah, the fine balance of scales upon which many of us have sat, or still sit.

    You will learn from those more learned than myself of the high improbability of landing an agent or publisher for a debut novel. Stats seem to show an element of fortune, and something special and different, are the manuscripts that meet success.

    For those of us who won't be deterred, assessing and re-assessing a manuscript is vital. For me, an appraisal by one of the literary services which advertises in Writing Magazine set me on a path to self-publish. That is not for everyone, of course. Further, the tips and knowledge gained from a professional appraisal will very quickly show you where you might be failing in your efforts to be accepted.

    My view is keep plugging away! Like you, I will be greatly interested to read the comments that follow.
  • Thanks for the reply. It is difficult. I don't want to give up too easily but I also don't want to waste my time or be unrealistic. I am also trying to write other things but it's difficult to juggle everything. Let me know how you get on with self publishing it's not something I've looked into yet.
  • How are you pitching your novel? I.e. genre/theme? I was told by an agent that you can tailor to different agents depending on which part you think will catch their attention.

    For example: we pitched our book as a contempory fantasy to fantasy based agents but as a speculative thriller to others. It was even suggested that we use "at its heart it is a fantasy thriller with elements of crime" by an agent at a Q&A.

    As far as I'm aware the only reason a slight fantasy edge would put off some agencied would be if they're the wrong agents/agencies to submit to.

    However a full request and positive feedback on your writing are very good signs.
  • That is really interesting. I am pitching it as lit fic with a 'magical fairy tale undertone'. I have personalised all the letters to some degree I think speculative thriller would be a good option for me to try with some agencies. Thank you for the advice it's really appreciated and very helpful. Are there any particular agencies you would recommend querying for fantasy?
  • Rejection is something we all receive, but to many rejections, then take another look at your work or use a critic service.
  • Can anybody personally recommend a critic or editing service? I have seen quite a few different ones.
    Has anybody done any online courses or the distance learning creative writing MA?
  • That is really interesting. I am pitching it as lit fic with a 'magical fairy tale undertone'. I have personalised all the letters to some degree I think speculative thriller would be a good option for me to try with some agencies. Thank you for the advice it's really appreciated and very helpful. Are there any particular agencies you would recommend querying for fantasy?



    Can't think of any off the top of my head just at the moment. Well, I can, but I'd have to check spellings before trying to type the names wrong ;) But if you have a copy of Writers & Artists you can get a list from there or check on twitter for fantasy agents.


    Can anybody personally recommend a critic or editing service? I have seen quite a few different ones.
    Has anybody done any online courses or the distance learning creative writing MA?



    On a personal level I'd recommend author Ian Ayris (http://ianayriseditingservices.blogspot.co.uk/p/services.html) He's helped with our book and I attend his monthly workshops that he's running in my town at the moment. Otherwise, I've not used any other critic or editing services beyond fellow writers/readers.
  • Thank you. Just had a quick look at his site - he sounds really nice so I'll keep that in mind. It would be nice to share with fellow writers as well.
    I haven't got a copy of Writers & Artists. An agent sent me a link with quite an extensive list of agencies so I don't know whether this is similar. Does Writers & Artists have just a general list or are they in categories? I've also looked on agent hunter, twitter, google etc. and in all the books I'm reading.
  • Rose. I have a spare Brand New 2016 Writers' & Artists' that I won, recently. I already have a 2016. I'll give it to you as a writer's goodwill gesture (and pay 2nd class post) if you want to give mailing address as private message.
  • Thank you. That is really kind of you.