The other day, Nathan Bransford had a terrific post on “Why You Are Receiving Rejections.” He says if you keep getting rejections, it boils down to two reasons: either your query isn’t strong enough, or your query is fine but your project isn’t resonating with agents.
So true! He’s nailed it! He’s absolutely right!
But I have one thing to add. (Nathan, you’re awesome, I think you’re the coolest, so don’t take this wrong.)
There’s another reality here that goes beyond your query and your book. It’s the crowded marketplace. It’s the fact that there are hundreds of writers competing for each slot in traditional print publishing.
Your query may need work. Your book may need work.
Your query and your book might be just fine and plenty of people would enjoy it, but because there are so many other queries in the queue, and perhaps bad luck and lack of serendipity and an annoying scarcity of fairy dust, agents and/or publishers aren’t biting.
The problem is in being able to figure out which category you’re in. You can do the work of trying to figure it out. Get a qualified critique partner. Hire an editor, someone who can address the big picture of your book: Is it interesting or is it boring? Does it feel derivative, or fresh? Does it make readers want to turn the page or fall asleep? Is it pretty good but have a fatal flaw?
But there could come a point where you’ve done all you can, nobody’s biting, yet you have objective outside feedback that says your book really is good. What should you do?
Any or all of the following:
Just remember, the problem could be your book. Or… maybe not.
Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you, here’s today’s question:
What’s the most frustrating thing about the query process?
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