So I finally  heard back from the literary agent I’d pitched to in October.

Here’s the gist:

“Thank you for sharing LIGHT with me and I apologize for the length of time it has taken me to respond… While I really love the Victorian setting with the paranormal twist, I regret to say that I just did not fall in love with your story the way I need to in order to take it on.”


This is the fifth “no.” I bounced back pretty easily with the first four, but this one is going to take a bit longer to get over. I’d pitched to her in person and she seemed interested, so of course my hopes were high, especially when she asked for the first few chapters. I’d never gotten that far with an agent; I was delighted and so excited. The whole reason for my trip to that convention was for that opportunity.

Of course I knew the odds were still against me- especially when I didn’t hear back within the first few weeks- but there was still that hope. Now I’m starting to lean toward just putting my book out there on Amazon or for the Nook through Barnes and Noble. I know I did a whole post ranting against self-publishing, but since the convention my views on it have been shifting.

A big pro of it would be that I’d be able to retain my rights. It also seems that that’s where the publishing industry is looking for writers; they don’t like gambling on books that haven’t already sold well. Plus, if I go through a company like Abbott Press, they’d do all the marketing for me.

Anyone have an opinion on the matter? Should I just keep plugging away with the query letters? Also, if anyone has published through the self-publishing companies such as Abbott, please let me know what your experiences were!


10 responses to “Denied.”

  1. Recently, I went to the local Barnes & Nobles to pick up the latest book written by a friend of mine. I usually shop for books online, but since this was a close personal friend, I decided not to wait for the book to be shipped. It was the first time I’ve been to B&N in over two years, and I was shocked by the fact that there seemed to be no books by new authors. There were lots of older releases by established authors, and virtually nothing by fresh new writers.

    It seems to me that the publishing industry is now unwilling to take a chance on anyone who doesn’t already have an established following. All the writers I’m connected with have started by self-publishing; only when they establish a following do they receive offers from agents and editors.

    I think the downside of the rise in self-publishing is this current unwillingness by the major publishing houses, et al, to take a chance on new authors. Almost everyone I know who is now getting contracts started by self-publishing, and making sales in the ebook market first. The sole exception is my friend who won a major award from RWA.

  2. I’ve had twenty of these letters…all from the same submission. I know how it feels, although I’ve never…pitched in person!! That musta been somethin’ special. I’m sorry for your disappointment, but if I went with what my gut wants to tell you, stick with it…never give up. Whether it’s just about finding the right home for what you’ve got or revamping/reno’ing your existing story, if it’s meant to be, the time will come. I think that’s what you want too…to be told it was good enough for someone else to deem publishable…?

    P.S. I loved this heartbreaking post of yours. I have one much the same. 😉

    • You’re so right; in-person pitches are definitely.. special haha. I was terrified the whole time, and the other two agents I’d pitched to didn’t even give me real feedback other than the usual “not what I’m looking for.”
      I think I’m going to continue sending out queries, but I’m also going to try to build some kinda following just in case I have to go out there with it on my own 🙂

      • Do you mind if I ask how you came to pitch in person? Were you at a conference or a workshop? Were you prepared or was it a spur of the moment thing?

        Definitely keep the queries flowing and building a platform is never a bad thing. Persistence will pay!!

      • There was a Writer’s Digest Convention in Los Angeles this October and they offered a pitch session with a ton of different agents. We only had about a minute to pitch our book and a minute to receive feedback, so there was a lot of pressure. But I’d had about a month or two to prepare, so I felt good about my actual deliverance. But the agents didn’t seem interested in anyone’s work, it was a little odd. I was lucky that one of them did want to hear more, so I guess I’ll have to take that as something positive 🙂

      • Ooooh, I was THIS close to going to that conference! In the end, it just didn’t work out, but I really wish it had, if even just for the experience. Good for you!

        And yes, you should absolutely take the interest as a positive. As you know, it’s hard to get an agent’s attention, so persist and pursue!!

  3. I work in books and can tell you first hand how hard it is for an agent to get a client a book deal. Agents have to be more selective than ever, because there are not as many deals being made these days. If you go the self-publishing route, do a lot of research and if you want the book to sell, make sure you have a plan. If you have specific questions about publishing or getting an agent, I’d be happy to answer them.

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