Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Constructive Rejections

First of all, an item of business.

The winner of May's random book, as decided by Random.org:
Jay Eckert!

Congrats, Jay!!! The book you won is The Journey by Robin Hawdon. I just need your address and I'll get your book in the mail to you! My email is tamara at byu dot net.

All right, business is over. Hubby's gone. Doesn't really feel real. I keep thinking he's out of town and coming home soon. It's also nice that this is totally unlike Basic Training, where I didn't hear from him for weeks at a time. He has his phone on him and I can talk to him anytime I want, plus he gets to email me. Hopefully soon we'll be skyping each other.

I'm going to take advantage of this time before baby comes to really get some writing done. I've gotten a few responses back from the queries I sent out for White as Snow, my fairy-tale series. Rejections are interesting beasts. You might know they are coming, but the feeling is still like, "What? You didn't like it??? Are you crazy?" Most rejections are what we call the dreaded FORM LETTER, which says basically, "This isn't a good fit for me, but thanks for sending it and try another agent because this is just my opinion." (I'd be really interested to know if anyone has gotten a rejection that says, "You suck. Stop writing.")

And then sometimes you get a rejection that is constructive. It tells you what the agent really thought and what you might be able to do to improve it. I've gotten two of these. One agent said, "I really enjoyed the sample you sent me, but I'm already representing something similar." Maybe she was just being nice, but I like to think not. This also pretty much confirms my theory that fairy-tale retellings aren't hot right now. I mean, they'll never be dead, but there are a lot of them out there and not a great demand for them. Which is why soon I'll get back to work on the novel I was supposed to write last month.

Another constructive rejection I got from an agent said, "I exclusively represent children's literature, and your 20-year-old protagonist puts this outside the YA range." I have two thoughts on this: 1) There must've been something else he didn't like, or certainly he would've just asked me to change the age of my protagonist. 2) While I don't agree that 20 is outside the YA age, I know a lot of people do. Thus, I've decided to change the age of my protagonist. It is, after all, a fairy tale, and fantasy, and make-believe, so she can still do everything she does, but at a younger age.

And then I did get a request. A request for a full, which surprised me. And caught me off guard, since we were in the middle of wrapping up everything we left for the last minute before DH deployed. But now he's gone, and I'm going to spend today re-reading my full to make sure it is ready to go out.

I am very curious. Anyone have original query responses out there?


Kate said...

A request for a full--that's so exciting!

Talli Roland said...

Wishing your hubby all the best! And congrats on your full request.

I had what I thought was an original query response. Then for some reason I decided to take the first paragraph and Google it, and guess what? Others had received exactly the same response. It was faux-personalised!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Getting a request for a full is always wonderful! I've cherished every rejection that offered some constructive advice. They are few and far between but oh, so valuable!

Mary Aalgaard said...

That is so great about a request for a full. Keep writing! Prayers and best wishes as your husband is away.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

yes, we'll see how it goes now. And yay! Blogger is finally working again!

Jay said...

Thanks, Tamara! Hot diggity. Me, a winner? LOL

Big congrats on the full. That's very cool. The best query response (rejection) I ever got simply told me the voice didn't seem YA (I guess it was middle grade?), but it at least told me something!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

you're welcome, Jay! And yes, it's like, well, at least they told me something!

Jannie said...

Your website looks awesome, Tamara! It's perfect! I love it! And exciting that someone wants a full copy :) Hope you are doing okay without Mark there...you'll be in my prayers.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Thanks, Jannie! I sure wish you lived out here!

Amber said...

It is hard to believe he's gone; how are you holding up so far? We'll be there soon (I'm very excited!!).
Good luck on all the writing; I've embarked on a quiet book for C.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

hey girl! when are you coming, exactly???

TerryLynnJohnson said...

A full request is so great! Congrats. This means you are getting closer!
Some rejections I've received: I really liked it, but I didn't LOVE it.
I just didn't feel enough emotional connection.
as well as
The plot certainly kept me reading till the end. But...
Keep trying Tamara! Congrats on the full and hope it keeps your mind focused while hubby is gone.

Emailman said...

A full! That is awesome news, Tamara :) Just what you need right now.

I haven't had any feedback with my rejections. I've had enough of them, so you would think I would have something...lol...Ladybird did remark that I really impressed their editorial panel with my ideas and my approach, but unfortunately they had already used up their budget for the year and weren't looking for new material at that time. I should have re-submitted in January the following year, but never did. Maybe I will do it next year.

Elisa said...

congrats on the full! I would get frustrated with the lack of feedback. I was really annoyed at one of my professors that marked me down and didn't really say why. I hate that. If there is something specific to improve upon, then come on and tell me!

I'm heading over to your website right now to check it out! can't wait!

and we're still prayin for you guys. Holdin up okay? how are the boys doin? has it sunk in yet?

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I don't know who ladybird is, Kurt, but that sounds like a very open invitation to resubmit!!! You definitely should!

Elisa, no, it hasn't really sunk in. We're doing great! We get to talk to him every day and that really helps.

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