More Rejection

September 5, 2010 at 5:42 am (September Blog Tour, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m currently faced with a decision. To keep agent hunting with my MS in its current form, or to overhaul the MS and see what happens. Technically I’ve only been rejected from four agents, which isn’t bad and two of them were not form rejections, which is better than when I first started trying to get Death’s Daughter published but still, I’m tossing up in my mind whether I need to go back and refine the work or whether to give a few more agents a try.

I guess what it is going to come down to is whether or not I actually think I can make the MS better than it is. One of the comments I received was that the beginning felt a little generic and so there is the question of whether I can change the beginning and make it better. If the answer is yes, then I should. However, I started sending the MS out because at the time I thought I had reached the limit of what I could do without further guidance and I was happy with how the story worked.

Before I send out another submission I will definitely be re-reading the MS, particularly focusing on the opening. I will probably make minor changes (just becauseĀ  I never read anything I’ve written without changing something), though I may be facing another round of rewrites.

At the end of the day, I can only do what I can do. As long as I’m happy I’ve put my best effort out into the world, things will be alright.

How do you know when you need to revise more? How do you decide your MS is ready?

In other news, if you missed the start of the tour:

September first I visited Eric’s blog and he guest posted here.

September second I visited Geoffrey’s blog while he guest posted here.

Yesterday I visited Lua’s blog and she guest posted here.

Join me on the 7th on Sonya Clark’s blog.



  1. RaShelle said,

    Hey Cassandra – That’s great that an agent actually gave you feedback. It’s more than a lot get. And you’re right, four agents is a drop in the bucket. Good luck. =D

  2. Alex Willging said,

    When I sent my very first manuscript out, I received at least nine rejection e-mails within a week. Needless to say, it was a very enlightening experience. My first priority–when I get this next work finished–is to get a good critical reader first before I send anything out.

    Keep up the good work, Cassandra. I’m sure you’ll get picked up.

  3. Roland D. Yeomans said,

    Four rejections are very few in the struggle to find an agent. The reasons why agents truly reject your novel may have nothing to do with your work, but with their shrinking outlets, with their having sold a novel like yours already, with having their plate already full to overflowing with their present workload, or any range of items unrelated to the sellability of your novel.

    Try some more agents. Rework your query letter, making the beginning more of an impact-making hook, making it shorter, making it personal to the agent (meaning researching the background of each agent), and making it stand out from the crowd with humor, heart, and professionalism.

    Of course revise the beginning of your novel. Most agents give you three paragraphs to interest them. Just three. They give you a minute at most to impress them. Most give you thirty seconds. Long drawn-out preludes die when you’re not Dan Brown.

    I wish you nothing but success in your struggle to find an agent. Believe in yourself. You have talent. Talent is great but persistence is better. Roland

  4. Cassandra Jade said,

    Thanks all for the support.

  5. Jayne said,

    I agree – four agents isn’t many at all. Would I revise more? Hm, well if I got some constructive criticism from these busy souls then I would definitely take notice. Do you feel the beginning is a little generic? If you agree then revise that bit. If, however, you read it over and still think it is the best it can be, then believe in your story and send it out again. I think it always pays to keep re-reading to see if anything jumps out at you that you didn’t spot the first time around.

  6. Laura Diamond said,

    Oy, that’s a tough decision. I genereally tend to rewrite, though. Good luck!!!

  7. Carol Ann Hoel said,

    Cassandra, I am as perplexed about this question as you. I have to say that several times I have thought my MS was the best it could be and was ready for an editor to tell me what I didn’t know or didn’t see. But after leaving the MS for a few weeks, each time I find that I can make it better. I was SO sure last time was the finish, but here I am again gleefully (at least now sorrowfully) revising again things that I didn’t see until now. I still think I am making it better. Why don’t I know at the end of a revision that another one will be required? I cannot answer this question. I hope one of our blogger friends has the secret. I will be checking back to see. I like what Ronald D. Yeomans said in his comment. Very helpful. Thank you for being so candid.

  8. AlexJ said,

    Since the beginning is what matters the most, maybe tweaking it some is a good idea. Have you thought of branching out and sending to publishers as well as agents? (That worked better for me.)

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I did that with Death’s Daughter, this time I thought I might try a more traditional approach and see how that goes.

  9. Marlene Dotterer said,

    Four agents is nothing, but the fact that you got some feedback from a couple of them is amazing. I agree that it’s hard to know what to do. If you can see what the agent was talking about, then you might rework the beginning of your story. Goddess knows, I redo my beginnings about a million times. And they still aren’t right, I’m sure.

    It can be so discouraging. But at some point, we all get to the place where we can’t see any other way to improve our story. If that’s where you are, and you’ve had critiques of it from other people, then go on and send it out. Keep sending it. Ten rejections? Fifty? So what! Send it out to fifty more!

    Good luck!

  10. Miss Rosemary said,

    I’d say, it’s all up to how you feel about it, I mean REALLY feel about it. I’m sure you made revisions after the four rejections and took the personal notes from the non-form rejections. So maybe that was enough to at least get someone else interested. Trust your gut instinct.

  11. brownpaperbaggirl said,

    Decisions, decisions! All you can do is your best and trust your instincts. Make a choice and stick with it. Things have a way of coming together.

  12. Carol J. Garvin said,

    I’ve had very few rejections because, like you, I’ve queried only a handful of times and received some encouraging personal feedback but no takers. I thought I’d refined one novel as far as I could… until I invested in a professional editor. I received twenty-five pages of criticisms and suggestions from her! Another novel has now been completely rewritten, despite originally thinking I had tweaked it to death. Since we are the creator of our stories it’s impossible to be completely unbiased in our opinion of them, and our family and friends are predisposed to like them so aren’t unbiased judges either.

    I also agree with Roland’s comments. There are many reasons why our submissions don’t get beyond the query stage so it’s worth doing everything possible to improve the odds.

  13. Lynn Rush said,

    That’s a crazy tough decision to make, isn’t it? When I had to finally step back from my manuscript and move on to writing and submitting the next, it was a tough decision. It was hard to leave my “baby.”

    But, I’m glad I did. The next book was better, even won a contest, which in turn helped me land my agent. You can only do what you can do. Just know you’re not alone, for sure!!!

    Write on, my friend.

  14. tessaquin said,

    I understand your pain. I’ve been there. Actually, I AM there. Right now.

    ” I started sending the MS out because at the time I thought I had reached the limit of what I could do without further guidance and I was happy with how the story worked.”

    That’s the same reason I started sending my manuscript out. I was afraid to have anyone read it (crit partners/groups), so I deemed it ready after I couldn’t figure out if there was anything else wrong with it. I later got my amazing crit partners and The Voice, a crit group that emerged from WriteOnCon, and they’re helping me make the MS better.

    I decided not to rush it this time. Here’s for hoping for success for the both of us!

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      You definitely need a good support group to read your MS before you think about sending it out.

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