oh wow. I mean he is the head right? Not one to query anymore. It was Eddie Schneider and Lisa Rodgers at Jabberwocky I had been eyeing. Lisa is closed to query Atm though andill be honest that i am intimidated to try jabberwocky at all? I have a situation where i am getting decent responses on twitter pitches or through reccomendations but 0 response on cold queries. Idk what to make of that. Now i have def done fewer pure cold queries but still… :-/ just makes me continue to feel somthing is wrong even if some of my results are positive? Its my default position… lol
Yes, Joshua started and runs Jabberwocky. I think he still acquires authors, but yeah, it’s probably smarter to go after someone further down the totem pole. And rejections are a part of the game, so try to keep your spirits up. I had more than 100 rejections the first time I rode the query-go-round, and I think my wife had around 200 the second time - and the series she queried (and failed at) has now sold more than 1.4 milllion copies.
I honestly wish they still gave rejections lol. It would be easier. Its the no responses that kill me tbh. I know this is all part of the game though. I have sent out WAY under 100 queries so im not done yet. I just have to work through my own personal self doubt. My last rejection was on a 100 page sample and super positive… except for the part where she said she couldnt think of a selling angle for my book? But i also know she didnt read the whole thing and seems to have made some incorrect assumptions about the content. Sigh lol. At least she praised both the content and the prose. That has to be a good thing? I just want to hear back on the fulls i have out so i can plan my next step
It does sound like you are making good progress. And I would take some of the things she said to heart. If you can’t get people invested (and have a pretty good idea for what lays ahead) in 100 pages, then your “front” probably needs work. If she made incorrect assumptions, there is probably something in your book to lead her there. Get a few others to read it and see if they also get the wrong ideas. If so, then definitely make some changes.
Well… the incorect assumptions were about continued subject matter…Or its just somthing she focused on as a “no” for her ( the implication of sexual assualt). I shared with a handful of beta readers and all were confused by that part of her statment as none saw this is a feature of the book. I highlighted for them where i THINk she got it from and they were still confused. Mainly it seemed she just wasnt able to represent this subject matter. I have to respect that i guess but her rejection was also frustrating because she said:
For me, this is exactly the kind of science fiction I think the world needs and that I like to read. It’s through-provoking and engaging and believable, but it has elements that I know from experience are going to be hard nos for editors (and possibly readers, too). Anything that has to do with harming children has historically been a very tough/impossible sell. I’ve had much more mild projects passed on for far less intense content. “
She then added that “implication of rape” was another flag for her. ( and thats what was an odd comment to my mind nd made me think she might have made assumptions?) But that peice is honestly negligible and could be cut. It just isnt somthing she thinks she can sell. I still beleive it is somthing SOMEONE could sell given the level of graphic content i have vs all other media i read and watch. Engagement didnt seem to be the issue from her comments. Its also hard for me to get behind “readers wont read” with 1.1M+ on wattpad in a book that lacks romance or action as a main focus
The other complication is that indeed the first 70 pages are rough in introducing the world, but after that its more about accepting it ( without the continued assault of the grusomeness). Thats the intent. By 100 pages you have an idea of that for sure. She seemed engaged fine from her comment, just unwilling to work with the subject matter? I do question if she read more than 100 pages… she certainly could have on wattpad. Stuff to think about i guess. I continue to struggle with whether or not the first pages have to change tbh. I just have hated all my other attempts at opens😅
Well if you have multiple beta readers that all say the agent is seeing something that they aren’t then you don’t have to make any changes. And yes publishers are shy about certain subjects (rape, incest, school shootings, etc) As many have said before, if the story is good enough it will overcome “market considerations” but that’s a REALLY high bar that has to be cleared and the safer bet is to not handicap your book with aspects that are a concern to the industry.
You are probably right about her not reading more than 100 pages, but that’s HUGE. I kid you not, most agents don’t get past the first chapter let alone 100 pages. The fact she got even that far indicates you are close. She’s obviously not the right person for the project, but the fact she said the things she did, and read as much as she did is a good sign that there will be others who might pick it up.
Lol the whole book is about an 9yo who has been sold as veal in a world where humans are livestock. Its spec fic/sci-fi. I know its a tough sell and needs the right agent. At least now i also know that at least 4 agents have made it past 50 pages. 2 are the full requests i still have out and the other 2 are rejections. Both actually rejected for subject matter which isnt a good thing? but at least its not the writing they are saying is problematic :-/ I know its a long shot still but Im not ready to give up on traditional for this book yet.
I guess if after 100 rejections i have a no still I have to consider indie or self. Its just that the response Im getting is less “this sucks” and more “not for me”. Sometimes that just is a kind way of passing but the rest of the comments surrounding the pass make me hopeful that its really about finding the right fit and that they are rejecting based mainly on subject matter. Its good to hear from you/remember that its no small feat to get agents to read 50+ pages.
As for the reader response? Yeah I mean the betas just were confused by her sighting implied rape as the key issue with content as opposed to… cannibalism? I mean there is no sexual content in the book nor romance ( im not a fan of “slave romance” narratives). The implication that some of the humans are sexually assaulted is there? But its a very small peice of the story ( could be cut) and I certainly dont have implied rape of a minor as she seemed to think. Thats why that element of the feedback felt off to me. I was glad readers agreed.
The feedback that didnt feel off was… “This will be hard to get through publishers”. But this is the book I have so I’m sticking by it atm. I honestly have read far worse in terms of graphic content. I would argue that this book is around hunger games level in terms of “bad things happening to children”. Less graphic than walking dead. I mean I know the market for this kind of book cause its stuff i read/watch myself. Dark spec fic hiding social commentary on our society. The question really is… will anyone take it? I mean i know there are likely other things to fix an agent/editor will bring up and im prepared to keep editing and maybe even changing some aspects if necessary, but the
book is still features people being eaten
*ps: thank you so much for your thoughts and feedback. Its amazing you are willing to be part of this community and offer insight!
As far as “other books being worse in terms of graphic content” you have to realize that it’s just one of the metrics being considered. If a book is VERY WELL WRITTEN and has a huge potential audience, then the industry will overlook certain aspects. But is your book at that level? Probably not. And I’m not saying this because of YOU I’m saying this because VERY few books are. In other words, you’d have to be in the top .00001% as far as prose and compelling story telling to make other aspects to be less important.
Someone mentioned The Girl with all the Gifts (I’m not sure what thread) and yes it had children locked up and treated like animals because they had turned to zombies and if unrestrained would eat people. But it was very well written, and from an author with a track record. So books that are using taboos CAN be published, but they are HARDER and have to meet a higher bar.
Still, I stand by the fact that you’ve gotten several partial reads and good feedback from them so I would “solider on.”
As for being part of the community. I’m glad to provide assistance to those who are new to this crazy business called publishing. There is a lot to learn!
I know it. I know its a long shot and hoping its good enough is… just a hope/longshot. This is a book I think is worth getting out there and reader reactions have only strengthened my faith in that. I wonder if wattpad COULD actually help me in that aspect as I do have a track record even if its not with sales. We shall see. Tbh I find that agents just dont care about the reads. Heck, the full that came back and asked for more time… seemed surprised I had posted on wattpad even though it was in the initial query. At least I was able to show her results. The book had 890k when I sent her the query in june. Now its at over 1.1M and gains about 1k reads a day. The sequel I posted that is incomplete and hasnt updated in 2 months…still has over 25k reads to 2.6k votes. People who continue keep loyal. And i know for a fact I have many readers who wont touch the second book till its done but still plan to read. So… there is something there, it just might not be enough to make it traditionally.
I know The Girl with all the Gifts. BIt diff but its another good comp of bad things happening to kids for sure as well as graphic content. Thats whats a bit diff about After Humanity as a book. Its not super graphic. Its just the underlying content that is gruesome. Mainly cause people have a taboo on people being eaten and Im challenging the value of human life and the “villainy” of the species that eats us ( ie in the story). The nibbles I have had from agents does make me want to keep going a bit longer. Maybe Im going to beat my head against a wall but I need to try a bit longer.
Ouch! My WIP begins with a school shooting. And there’s rape in it. I have no intention of trad publishing it, though. But I don’t understand why some subjects are no-nos.
Prince of Tides was a great novel with rape. So was Shawshank Redemption and many others.
Now they weren’t rape stories, per se. The purpose of the rape in my novel is to show the evilness of the bad guy, and the school shooting is the inciting incident of the plot and is the mystery that needs to be solved.
When I tried trad publishing my first novel, the publisher’s editor told me I had to change a wife to a fiancee because I wasn’t allowed to have the heroine commit adultery in a romance novel. When I explained why she had to be married, the editor agreed but said she couldn’t publish it with adultery. That’s when I decided traditional wasn’t for me.
Sigh… I dont quite get these true taboos. I mean they are not representative of society and what readers actually read… ugh Im going to sound like users I dont want to sound like but it is indeed true that traditional has an aversion to risk taking that can be frustrating when it comes to content
It may, but I wouldn’t count on it. The few people (very few) who have leveraged Wattpad into traditional publishing are true outliers.
[quote=“Blayde, post:33, topic:41311”]
Prince of Tides was a great novel with rape. So was Shawshank Redemption and many others.
Agreed. But they were (a) published in a different time (b) were from authors with great track records and © were as we both noted exceptional.
I’m not saying a book is “doomed” if it has these things, I’m just saying the bar for them is much higher. If you can clear it - then you can traditionally publish. But as you mentioned, you aren’t going that way.
Romance does have some very “defined” protocols - and if you want to break them, then self is the way to go.
It’s not about risk-taking, publishers take risks all the time.
But isnt it? The reason they are hard nos is the fear they cant sell them even if there is a niche market that will likely buy. Trad publishing is all about making money and they dont like risks in things they cant be certain of content wise. Thats that it seems like to me at least. Only established authors seem to get that leeway
I more meant in terms of proving viability of the story and that it doesnt actually turn readers away with the content
Nope not really. Only 1 in 5 books earns out so they take a risk with almost every book they pick up. Now do they intentionally go after projects they think will fail? Of course not. But I woulldn’t expect the self-published author to do that either. Thing is, when you are self-published you have to think like a publisher so most of the reasons they reject books that might be looked at poorly is exactly the same reason the self-published author should pass as well. “Taking risks” doesn’t mean throwing ALL caution to the wind.