What does August bring, other than triple digit temperatures? Another post-conference check-up, of course!
At this point, you should already have fulfilled your submission requests from the conference. If you are still awaiting responses, check your submission dates and see if it is time to send a gentle nudge. (You can learn more about this here.)
The reality for most is that responses have already been received. If you are reading this, the response was probably not an offer from an agent. (If you did receive an offer- WAY TO GO! Please let us know – we’d love to profile you on the blog.)
You slaved for months (years?) on your masterpiece, put it out there in the world and got stomped on. There is obviously no choice but to give up and lose yourself in watching all six seasons of Mad Men on Netflix.
Review your correspondence with agents/editors. The clue for your next step lies within.
They requested pages, but declined to see more.
Are your first pages all they can be? Think about where you begin – is it with the story, or with backstory? Ask your critique partners to evaluate your first pages and make them shine. (You do have critique partners, right? Every writer should.)
They responded with “it’s not for me.”
This is a tricky one. It could simply mean that it is good stuff, but they just didn’t make a connection. It could mean that it is a hot mess. If you feel like your manuscript is in good shape, then give it a shot with another batch of agents/editors. If you continue to get tepid rejections, stop and take a hard look at your manuscript.
They responded with comments or a referral to a colleague.
Congratulations! You have hit the jackpot. As we have already discussed, agents/editors are busy people. They do not make money reading queries and commenting on submissions, they make money by selling their clients’ work. Consider the comments and see how you can incorporate them into your manuscript, or if you should incorporate them. Consult with your critique partners. Use those comments to build a better book.
A referral? WOW! Send out your query and clearly state that Agent X at Super Agency referred you.
They just let it die on the vine.
Ignoring your submission can sting just as much as a downright rejection. You could spend a lifetime wondering what happened. Don’t. Pick yourself up, dust off and move on.
Are you seeing a theme here? Don’t stop moving.
In addition to querying and submitting, you need to keep writing. Writing, not revising. That means new stuff. Your not-yet-written book may be what gains you entry into the publishing world and gets this one published.
Continue to study the craft and interact with other writers. Read books for fun. Take a day or two to get lost in something that is not about writing. Then get back to it – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
**Don’t forget to take a minute to register for the 2014 DFW Writers’ Conference.
You can secure our early bird rate with just a $50 fully transferable deposit.**