Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

February 4, 2009

Queries and Rejections, Is the system broken?

Filed under: Writing — douglaslperry @ 6:39 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Like you, I’ve received my own wheelbarrow full of rejections. It sucks, but it’s part of the process. 

Like you, in the past I have complained about it. In fact I have written a number of comments on agent and other writer’s blogs about why I think the process is broken. I think I have changed my mind. Not that there aren’t issues with the current system, but I don’t have a better one either. 

For instance one comment that I was fairly adamant about was that agents don’t provide enough feedback. An eye-opening blog entry from an agent really hit home. It allowed me to see things from their point of view. 

We’ve all been to movies where the acting was good, the cinematography was excellent, overall the movie was well done technically, but we didn’t like the story. So if you were an agent trying to judge whether it was a good movie or not, what would you say? 

You might say that this scene needed to be different, that one shouldn’t have been included, it dragged during this section, but that is simply your interpretation and taste. It’s the way that you might write the story. That doesn’t necessarily help the writer who wrote the story the way that he/she saw it should be done. Because now it comes down to what you like versus what the writer likes, and there is no right answer. 

As a beginning writer I think it would be useful for agents to point out areas of your craft that need work, but I honestly don’t think they have time. With the number of queries they get every day, that’s probably not practical. That kind of help is probably better served by writing groups, or taking writing classes at your local community college. 

OK, so there is one area where I would like to see a little improvement, but even this is a stretch. I would find it very useful if there was a resource on the web where agents could be categorized as to what they like. The last thing I want to do is query an agent who represents Christian Literature with my latest military thriller. It wastes his/her time and mine. The reason that I think this is a stretch is that like you and me, agents like a good story regardless of whether or not it fits into a particular category that they typically represent. There are limits, but overall a good story, is a good story. 

I suspect that what I am asking for already exists in some form and I just haven’t found it yet. 

My advice is to write the best story you can write, improve your craft as much as you can, and target the best agent for your work. After that ignore rejections as simply matters of taste. Everybody has an opinion.

Be sure to pick up my book. 


1 Comment »

  1. I still feel that the system is indeed broken, simply because they’re looking for a reason to say no, as opposed to reasons to say yes. I still remember that Star Wars was rejected by every studio, before 20th finally took another look. And the rest is history….

    Even if you find an agent, that simply gives you the ability to have your writing in front of more people, but until you’re established, you still have to do most of the work. If you’re not going to submit me, why’d you take me on?

    There’s probably a full blown blog post, or IDEA MASTERS™ column that I could write, however, I’ll let these comments stand, and see what happens…

    Comment by Mike Shields — February 4, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

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