Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why agents and editors say no.

You all may have read an enlightening post by my colleague Janet Reid tallying up the number of manuscripts she rejected in 2009 and why. (If not, go read it now.)

But what about those manuscripts that DID get an agent and get shopped?

Del Rey editorial director Betsy Mitchell has tallied up her manuscript rejections for 2009, and the reasons why she rejected each one.

It is a most edifying read. Go learn something!

(Crossposted to the FinePrint blog.)

9 comments:

Jeff said...

Betsy writes: "books that I commission from scratch".

What do you suppose she means by that? Media tie-in books?

Lily Cate said...

I am so tempted to read this, and yet I'm trying not to focus on the "nos" right now.
I know my ms isn't ready yet. The next step is when I think it's ready, and I'm wrong.
But that's what readers are for, right?

ryan field said...

Good post.

DK said...

Thanks! This is really helpfull!

steeleweed said...

I've had agents and publishers bounce a query simply because they don't want novellas. Odd, considering that a lot of great books were novellas. Does anyone still publish them?

clindsay said...

Steeleweed -

No agents rep novellas; they don't sell. Check pretty much every agency submission guidelines.

Not sure why this is a surprise to you, though.

C-

steeleweed said...

Funny, I buy and read novellas, so someone is publishing them. Maybe I should target them.
Novellas don't sell? Just off the top of my head, I can think of the following:

Old man and the sea.
Animal Farm
Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Metamorphosis
A river runs through it
Death in Venice
Heart of darkness
War of the worlds
Jekyll & Hyde
Turn of the screw
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Of mice and men.

daravenberg said...

Thanks for the post. It's interesting to see the break down like that. It would be great to know why my queries have been rejected, which category they fell under.

Tamara said...

Very interesting, Colleen. As I enter my dark cave for more revisions, these links are particularly helpful.
All the best,
Tamara