When Your Novel May Be White Noise

Created about 2 years ago by Alex Majeau with 4 comments
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Eric portrait  ks  february 2016 Eric Sheeter (Pen name: Eric Bell) · Author · added about 2 years ago
Part of an answer is that there is no magic formula for success. Suppose you wrote what you are calling, ’kitsch.’ There is no guarantee you would be any more successful than if you stuck to your guns. 

Having a think.
12524130 10207348308520931 8572057599588137953 n Alex Majeau · Author · added about 2 years ago
Yes, I’m taking great care to only send queries to relevant agents and their submission requirements, tailoring each query individually to point out how my manuscript contains key features the agents are looking for.

I understand that this whole industry is a numbers game, and to that point I don’t expect a personally crafted response from anyone, I’m familiar with form letter replies.

My intent wasn’t to complain about not being accepted by the first agent I queried, My concern was about the notion of self-hyping at the expense of the work.

A lot of testimonials that get attention boil down to "I wrote a book. It didn’t work. I wrote another. It didn’t work. Repeat five times, then I FINALLY got an agent. Then I had to write another." I’m not thrilled at the prospect of gutting this novel or throwing it away for a chance at a second glance, so my goal was to see what the consensus was about sticking to your guns on the content of your work instead of trying to tailor it to the point of kitsch in an attempt to get a second glance.
Eric portrait  ks  february 2016 Eric Sheeter (Pen name: Eric Bell) · Author · added about 2 years ago
Hello Alex,

I may be stating the obvious but here goes; Are you targeting agents who are interested in your novel category? You will get no reply if you aren’t. Some agents, even if they are interested in your category, do not respond if they are not interested. They will tell you so in their submission guidelines.  Are you approaching agents and others who are not open to unsolicited submissions? If you are--no response. Are you sending sample material when it is stated that the agent does not want this? No response... It is important to read the submission guidelines.

What you are experiencing may have nothing to do with either the letter or the manuscript. I am sure that you know of the book ’Rotten Rejections.’ I am sure that you know about the many manuscripts that have been successful after multiple rejections. My understanding is that the first ’Harry Potter’ was rejected ten times; Noah Lukeman’s, ’The First Five Pages,’ was rejected thirty three times; Stephan King suffered rejection...

Otherwise--you are not alone. I am running the rejection gauntlet as are many others. All the best, Eric.
12524130 10207348308520931 8572057599588137953 n Alex Majeau · Author · edited about 2 years ago
New to Inkshares and the prospect of any form of publication, so I’ll keep this quick.

I’ve been effectively cold-calling agents and agencies in terms of literary submissions in addition to exploring self-publishing, and I’m hitting a bit of a snag. It’s not that I’m getting rejected at the manuscript stage, it’s that I’m getting radio silence at the query letter.

One concern I have is that my manuscript may come across as "more of the same" or literary white noise if you haven’t taken the time to read it, which would speak to an issue with the query letter, not necessarily the work.

The obvious answer would be to rework the query letter to at least spark interest, but if the issue is with the content of the work, would it be more prudent to try to hype the work and change some facets of it to make it more - for lack of a better word - gimmicky? I don’t want to make concessions on the story I want to tell in order to have some snazzy call-out on the book jacket.

My instinct is to stick to my guns while working on changes to the query letter, but I wanted to see what some other thoughts were about what happens when your work doesn’t inherently jump out.