Friday, June 07, 2013

And the responses stream in

I've been querying literary agents for BLOOD PROMISE, and while a lot of the response was promising, none of them quite hit the mark. I'm getting more personal responses (i.e. elaborate emails on why my work is rejected) rather than form rejections these days, but it's hard not to get beaten down by rejection. If anything, the blow is harder because you realise you were THISCLOSE to getting a nod from an agent. You begin to wonder if your story is really not good enough to be published. And as my list of agents to query starts to run out, my hope of ever getting BLOOD PROMISE out in the world is fast diminishing.

Here are some personalised rejection slips from agents who have requested partials and fulls (as in, pages of the manuscript):

Dear Joyce,
Thank you so much for sharing BLOOD PROMISE with me. I would absolutely love to read the first 100 pages, sent as an attachment in .doc or .txt. format. Also, if you could let me know whether or not other agents are looking at partials of fulls, that would be helpful, as well. I look forward to reading more!
Jennifer Azantian
Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
And here's her follow-up after I sent her the pages:
Dear Joyce,

I really enjoyed these pages from BLOOD PROMISE. I feel your writing is very strong, but I didn’t connect with the story in the way that I need to in order to request the remainder. I also think the use of multiple POVs made it difficult to become invested in any of the characters. I’m sorry to not have better news for you, but I’m sure another agent will feel differently. I wish you the best of luck on your writing journey.

Here's an initial response from Ms Sara D'Emic:

Dear Ms. Chua,

Thank you for your query. You have a great premise and I enjoyed your sample; I'd love to read more. Could you please send first fifty pages, along with a complete plot synopsis (each in a separate word doc)? I look forward to reading.

Sara D'Emic
But it ultimately didn't grab her. Here's her reply after I sent her the full (after requesting for the partial, she asked for the full):

Dear Joyce,
Thanks again for sending this over. Unfortunately, I have to pass at this time. You're a strong writer but the narrators of each section had very similar voices. And while the world was unique I felt lost in the mythology at times, and would have liked to be brought more into the world. April and her brother being changelings was one of the most intriguing parts of this and I wanted that to be concentrated on more. These were just my impressions though I hope they're helpful. I wish you the best of luck.
Sara D'Emic

And another:

Dear Ms Chua,

Thank you for the opportunity to review BLOOD PROMISE and for your
patience in awaiting a reply.

I enjoyed reading your sample pages and can sense that there's a lot that
works well here: solid world-building, an interesting premise, and a
memorable cast of characters, just to name a few elements I like. I
particularly appreciate how you effectually capture the sights and sounds
of April's environment, drawing me into the rich setting and her plight as
supplies dwindle. I think she really leaps off the page as a fully-fleshed
character; her relationship with her brother is both complex and belivable
-- something readers will be drawn to.

Unfortunately, though there is much to admire, I just don't love it enough
to represent it in today's competitive marketplace. This is just my
opinion, of course, and hopefully another agent will have another
perspective. I wish you the best of luck with BLOOD PROMISE and all your
future literary adventures.

Best wishes,
Kathleen Zakhar
Harold Ober Associates Incorporated

And another:

Dear Ms. Chua:

Thanks for the opportunity to read the sample pages of BLOOD PROMISE.

With regret, I'm afraid I will be passing on this one. While I remain
intrigued by the concept of your novel, and found your opening
chapter compelling, I felt the motivations of some of the characters
didn't always come through clearly on the page (e.g. Sean's decision
not to tell his father about finding the body or being questioned by
the police).

Sorry I couldn't give you a more positive reply. Thanks for thinking
of me, and best of luck in your search for representation.

Jennifer Jackson
Donald Maass Literary Agency

Disappointing responses they may be, I'm still extremely thankful these agents took time to offer detailed feedback on my story. Now, on to reworking this damn book because heck I am going to make this work.

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