We've all been told (by who EXACTLY, I'm not sure) that we are never, EVER supposed to discuss our querying statistics or how many rejections we've received.
We're supposed to be hush-hush about it.
But not today, folks, not today.
My reason for breaking the silence is because I really need to find out what the heck is going on?
When I first started querying my YA manuscript Desert Rice back about a year ago, things we're happening on the agent front--I polished my query, sent it out, and within days (no kidding) I had a partial request and a full manuscript request. A few other requests came trickling in a little while later too. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), I was thrilled. More than trilled.
Then, when that partial request turned into a full request and then the agent called me to discuss terms of her representing me, I was beyond excited. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face for days.
Well, as is my life, things took a turn and it all went downhill from there. My agent submitted my manuscript to a few publishers who quickly rejected it. No one wanted it. Such depression. But on the bright side, so I kept telling myself, I still had an agent, right? Maybe she would be willing to take a look at a couple of other novels I had written and possibly represent those instead. Also, there was still one editor we hadn't heard back from. So maybe, just maybe.
I quickly emailed her with high hopes, willing to take a chance. My fingers were crossed.
The next day I received a devastating, yet lovely and encouraging at the same time, email back from her. This is what she said:
I haven't heard from the last editor yet. (We never did either--how rude)
My news: I'm getting out of the literary agency business. It's just
impossible to sell anything these days -- and will be getting worse as
more bookstores close.
So, I won't be accepting any new submissions. I want you to know,
though, that I believe your work is exceptional and should be
published. The business is in freefall, which is why so many terrific
authors aren't getting offers.
Ummm . . . that's not good. Not good at all. So after eight or so months working with this agent, she decided to quit. I was back to square one. What the heck was I supposed to do now?
After a bout of depression, I dusted off my wounded soul and started querying once again--the same query letter that received bites and requests.
I started that requerying process back in May, and as of to date, I've received zero requests. Zero. Nothing. Na-da. Zilch.
But it isn't so much that I'm being rejected (I've received some, don't get me wrong), but I'm hearing NOTHING back. Not a word. I've heard from roughly 30% of the queries I've sent out. But the other 70% is complete silence. That is very weird in my opinion. Very weird.
I'm not the only one either to experience this weirdness. Check out Creepy Query Girl, she discusses this same thing.
What the heck is going on?
If my query is simply not working, so be it. I can tweak it and move on. BUT the problem is that I know it works. It worked in the past. It worked to get me requests. It worked to get me an agent. It worked to get me through the first round in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. It worked.
So my question is this: Is it me? Or is it them? What's going on on the agent front?
What about you guys, how has your querying experience been? Are you hearing back? Have you heard of anyone being picked up by an agent recently? Or is it time for me to hang up my querying hat until the publishing industry figures out how to fix the mess they're in?