Sunday, April 26, 2009


Sorry for not creating a proper blog post today. I’m not in the best of moods. As you can tell from the picture, I’m waiting for responses to more partial and full manuscript requests I sent out five weeks ago.

No, this doesn’t have me in the bad mood.

I am scratching my head over the talk around the writing blogs concerning query letters. Aspiring authors have been voicing their beef over their letters sent out to agents requesting representation for their manuscripts. Or rather, they are upset over the length of time it takes for a response from an agent concerning rejections.

Let me give some background information to those visitors of my blog who aren’t writers.

The simple gist of the process is this. The writer creates a manuscript. Then they craft a query letter seeking a literary agent to represent their project to the publishing houses. Since the agent’s pay is based on commission, agents are choosy on which manuscripts they will represent based on several factors - marketability, voice, genre, writing, storyline, word count - and I am sure there are many other reasons I have no idea about. Then they either reject or accept the manuscript.

It’s the rejection process that has some writers upset.

Some agents respond to queries with a personal rejection.

Some agents respond to queries with a form letter rejection.

Some agents do not respond unless they are interested in the manuscript.

The last one has people’s panties in a twist. Because some agents don’t respond, the writer is unsure whether this is an official no response, if the spam monster ate their query, or if the agent simply had no chance to read the letter due to a backlog of queries. Agents can receive up to 50+ queries a day. You can do the math on how many they receive per month and per year.

It is any wonder why some agents don’t respond. The sheer number is daunting in itself.

When I first started the query process for my first manuscript, my nerves became shot with the waiting. Then I created my next manuscript. I stopped sending query letters out for the first manuscript because I saw that the story could use some major revisions to bring it to a publishing standard. When I started sending out letters for my current manuscript, I had learned patience and acceptance when it comes to rejections. If I don’t receive a response in a certain amount of time, I move on with the process. I don’t let it bother me because I have discovered one important thing:

It is more nerve-racking to wait for a response to a partial or a full manuscript request than it is waiting for a response to a query letter.

This is the time for some nail-biting, because instead of just having the agent base their decisions on the query, they are now evaluating the value of your MANUSCRIPT, YOUR STORYLINE, AND YOUR WRITING.

*gnaws on nails*

There are times to be upset with the process and then there are times when you have to accept it with a little grace. The query letter stage is not the time to get huffy about things. Save it for later and for a better reason.
Voting will continue on the poll for 'Readers Vs Writers' up until Wednesday 28. Keep at it!


  1. Don't ever give up. Your abilities will win out in the end. Keep on hammerin'. I look forward to reading what comes up.

  2. Oren: Thanks! I will keep at it. Writing is the most important thing to me.

  3. You nailed it. "Writers waiting" is like gestation...only, unlike real birth, you have no idea whatsoever how long you're gonna have to slog around with the extra weight, or even IF you're gonna finally reach the labor stage. Ug. Love the graphic!

  4. Hang in there. I personally can't wait to read your book(s). Remember...good things come to those who wait. Yeah, yeah, easy for me to say. Huh?

  5. I'm with Oren. Don't ever give up if this is what you really wanna do in life, Michelle. I think you have the chops to succeed; you ARE good.

    That said, I could NEVER be a "professional" writer because I don't have the patience to deal with the process. The patience and sheer persistence of people in the writing game amazes me.

  6. Just keep on keeping on, Michelle. I have no doubt you will be a well-known writer someday.

  7. guidelines should be observed, and usually they give response times there...

    two weeks beyond their response time means you ask about your ms... if still no response, write them off as non-professional and move on, but only after you notify them, by registered mail, you are withdrawing your work from their consideration... which generally makes it a month past the time they promised to reply

  8. Angie: I never thought of it that way (maybe because I never been pregnant). I would personally say you nailed it! I just hope other people get the gist and be a little kind in their ranting when it comes to the rejection process.

    Theresa: I have all ten fingers holding onto the line! I am so defintely hanging!

    Buck: Yes, patience is definitely something you need to stock up on in this process.

    Brenda: I'm thinking the same of you!

    Laughingwolf: Oh, I'm not personally sweating it over my ms. It's just some of the comments that I have read on blogs where people get a little upset over the waiting game when it comes to rejections over their query letters. They need to accept that this is a long process.

    Hee-hee! Funny sidebar. Remeber the first ms I mentioned about, the one I stopped querying because it needed major revisions. Last week I received a rejection for it - 8 months after I sent out the letter. That's what I call "Agent Dedication!"

  9. I say that if an agent doesn't respond to all queries, you're better off without that agent.

  10. Suldog: I don't really blame the agents. Imagine trying to respond to 300 queries a week, talking with editors, reading client manuscripts, going to conferences, and so much more. I can understand how their time is taken up.

  11. Yeesh, is writing really that hard? Other than, you know... the writing? I guess i'm going to have to be an accountant after all *shivers in revulsion* i'm just not that patient, but good for you for putting up with it

  12. Skyeblu: It really depends on the person and their inclination toward writing. As long as you have a clear path in your mind about the process, it shouldn't be too difficult.


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