Thursday, May 6, 2010

When and How to Move On...

First off- I wanted to give everyone a heads up on two contests being put on by two awesome bloggers:
The Alliterative Allomorphe is putting on a 'Blogging Idol' Contest
Missadventures in Candyland is putting on her 'Big 100 Contest'  -  Get on em!
Also Jen has got a top notch interview by our favorite Talli Roland who explains her journey unto publication! Don't miss it! 
While reading Talli's interview and squatting on Jaydee Morgan's awesome blog- the same recurring questions kept coming to mind:
When you've finished a manuscript and really worked to transform it into the best it can be-  and it's just not catching any interest from an agent-
When should you give up??

This is a personal thing, I’d imagine.  I've only written two novels and have a third one taking form in my head and on my laptop bit by bit.

My first novel was a big 'hoorah' because I realized I could finish a book from start to finish.  That said- I recognize that it was overwritten.  But the time spent on editing, revising, and going over it with my critics group has really helped knock it into shape.

I’ve had it out on submission now in its current form for the last four months and although I have had interest from agents, no one has picked it up (as of yet but there are still a few with full or partials).

Now that I’ve finished my second book, my instinct is to hurry up and get it into shape so that I can submit it as fast as possible because I’m in love with it and think that agents will be enthusiastic about it as well.   -So I can see how enthusiasm would wane on a first project when your second, or third, or fourth just seems to shine all the more.

But in this case, - is it better to keep your first projects on submission while querying something new?  Or do you take them out of circulation?

How many agents do you query without response before you decide that it’s just never going to get picked up and move on? 

I’m still trying to answer these questions.  I think as long as agents show interest in my project, I will probably continue to query it in hopes that one of said agents falls ‘in looove’…

But I’m still wondering what to do when I’m ready to send my second project out on submission. 

Any ideas?

Has anyone sent out multiple projects and how did you go about doing so?

24 comments:

MissV said...

hmmm. Good questions. Not to the querying stage yet, but I would think you should put your energy into the project(s) you're most passionate about.

Aubrie said...

I'm finishing my fourth book right now. I've queried the last three, each one at a time. Usually I query all of the agents that are interested in that genre (maybe 100 or so) before I give up. I've had a few fulls on each manuscript that I queried, but no takers as of yet. I keep trying, though.

Jen said...

I haven't made it to the querying stage but from the sounds of it Aubrie has an excellent plan in place so I would probably follow her footsteps when the time came!! I'm curious to see the other responses, never to early to learn a little something!

happy thursday!

Cheree said...

I started querying, but stopped after I realised that my MS wasn't nearly ready enough. I wouldn't think about giving up on all the hard work I've put in. I've got other projects going and if I end up querying for multiple projects then so be it, it only takes one 'yes', that's all that matters.

Matthew Rush said...

I've never been published so I may not be the best to advise you about this but I do not intend to ever give up. I will revise and query until I go insane.

If after querying 500 agents and getting rejected by everyone for years I still do not get published I will probably just do print on demand because I just want someone out there to read and love my novel.

I don't care about getting rich or famous - maybe that's a problem. I don't know.

KarenG said...

Since you're getting interest, you should definitely keep the first one out. But that doesn't mean you can't be polishing it a bit more, ready for when you get that request for a full. And don't rush the gun on the second. Wait until you're sure, then put it out there too. It takes long enough for people to get back to authors, why not double your chances?

Jaydee Morgan said...

I consider my first two manuscripts written as good practice for the ones I'm working on now. Since I'm not in the querying stage, it's hard to answer when it's time to give up on one and move on to the next. As long as you're still getting interest, I say keep going.

Christine Fonseca said...

ON the twitter #kidlitchat this week this topic came up - the consensus from agents, move on or do a major revise after 10 - 12 rejections on the manuscript. Seems like a good plan to me!

Dawn said...

Are they meant as a series? If not, get it ready, and get it out. An agent may fall in love with your second book, sell it, and the publisher might want the first. This has happened many times to now bestselling authors. Good luck! And Congrats - few people finish more than one book let alone two!

Carolyn V. said...

I queried my first book - big mistake. It wasn't my best writing. My third book on the other hand, so much better! You'll have to decide what you really want out there on the shelves and if you think readers will love it as much as you. =) Good luck! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!!!!

Slamdunk said...

I can't directly answer your question, but I appreciate the comments with advice that you have receieved. The publishing game is so varied, I am not sure there are many "right" answers to questions such as these.

Sarah said...

I still have a full out with an agent on a different novel than the one I'm querying around right now. I'm probably like you -- have had a few bites but no great successes. On the most recent, I've had two request fulls and have heard back negatively from one already. It's all a waiting game and I'd think the more things you put out there, the better your chances in the long run.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I asked an agent that question about multiple projects, and her preference was that you only query one and write at the bottom of the query that you also have another project (and state the genre and word count). She said she hated it when writers queried more than one project. But to be honest, I don't know that most agents would prefer this approach. It seemed like such an unlikely answer. But I don't know what would be better. Have you checked out #askagent chats on Twitter? It's an opportunity to ask your questions to agents participating. I'm sure someone would have have thoughts on this. Definitely a good question!

Theresa Milstein said...

I like KarenG's advice.

When I've received a nice pile of rejections, at some point I just move on. Now I need to teach myself not to rush a project and make sure it's really DONE before querying.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Aubrie- that seems like a pretty sensible way to go about it

Cheree- that's how i feel about it too. After all the work I put in, i'm not ready to give it up.

Karen- great advice. I'm doing my best to take my time but it's so hard.

Dawn- nope, two completely different books/styles/genres. I do want to make my first book into a series but until I find an agent, i'm not ready to pursue that route

Christine- thanks for the heads up on that!

thanks Caroline!

Sarah- It's totally a waiting game. The problem though is that I'm not sure an agent who is interested in my first project would necessarily be interested in my second...hmn.

Carolina- Thanks so much for the heads up on the twitter site and thanks for visiting me here and commenting!

Theresa- I think that's the hardest part for everyone. The project will only be half done but i won't be ready to admit it until I see a few rejections:) Then I'll go back and fix it up some more, send it back out, etc...

Christine said...

I query one MS at a time. I've got my third baby out there flying in the winds of waiting for responses and it's tough. Meanwhile I am slogging ahead on my third or fourth major revision of my fourth MS. I plan to query and pitch it at Nationals and the Moonlight and Magnolia conference.

I am also reentering the 3rd MS in a contest under a different title in the hope of catching the editor's eye again but having her look at the changes with a new perspective.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Great questions. First, the fact that you're getting requests for partials and fulls is great affirmation that your work is good.

The great advantage of shopping two mannies at once is that when an agent declines on your full but indicates that they'd like to see more, you've got it, ready to go! So I'd definitely submit to those who ask to see something else. Beyond that, if you're madly in love with the second manuscript and feel like it outshines the first, then when your gut tells you to do so, give the first a rest and fire away with #2.

Then when you secure the agent, send them your first novel. Chances are they'll be psyched to have more material from you.

Good luck! And for great querying advice, check out my agent's website at www.ktliterary.com.

Shelley Sly said...

Thanks for this post! I don't have a wise answer for you, I've only ever queried one book, but it looks like you have some great answers in the comments!

Kelly Dexter said...

I'm still trying to figure these things out. Sometimes letting go is just too hard.

Laura Marcella said...

I'm not in a querying stage yet, but I do submit multiple short stories. I just make sure I mention in my cover letter that it's a multiple submission.

I don't know much about querying, but maybe in your letter you could mention you have another project? You'd want to research the appropriateness of that, though. I've heard of authors who snagged agents not with their first novel but with their second (or vice versa). The agent liked the writer and the voice and of the original queried MS, but was more enthusiastic about the writer's other MS. I hope that made sense!

Since you're receiving interest in your first MS, you should probably keep that circulating. And it's always wise to keep on polishing it! Good luck!!!

Susan Fields said...

I'm not there yet, but actually I will be in exactly this situation very soon. I'm loving the discussion going on here - great post!

Shannon said...

Great post and excellent responses. Personally, it's a "gut" feeling for me.

India Drummond said...

If all the projects would go to the same agents (because they're the same style & genre), I'd focus on the one you're most passionate about for queries. Once you land an agent, they'll ask what else you are working on, so it's not like they'd ever be lost or wasted. Plus this gives you a chance to "rest" those other manuscripts and maybe come back to them when you have some time and perspective to make them more saleable.

Clara said...

I´d query both stories, because in the eyes of any agent, both are different products. They might not fall in love with the first, but they just might with the second.

So, query away!

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