Fanfare! Not bad...

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Jason Byrne

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The best response I had gotten thus far was,
"I don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of selling a book of this length. Cut it up, and resubmit. I might ask for a full."
Okay. Not good. Not bad. I'll take ambivalence over desolation. But I got my first real, strong, positive feedback, today. I wanted to share, and ask a question of you all.


Dear Jason,

Many thanks for sending me the first three chapters of your novel THE FIRST VISION. I did read and enjoy this and think it was well-written with strong characters and an engaging storyline. It was an interesting take on the commercial fantasy and Sir Alyn was an entertaining character to read about. The world building was creative and well-developed without overwhelming the storyline. The writing was good, the action was fast-paced – it’s a nicely commercial fantasy with good series potential.

However, while I did enjoy reading this I didn’t quite love it quite enough to take it any further. That’s not to say another agent may not absolutely adore it – we all have very different opinions.

I do wish you all the best with your writing and many thanks again for sharing THE FIRST VISION with me.

All best wishes,

Julie



I thanked her for making my year with her kind words and encouragement, wished her all the best in everything she does, and asked a couple questions: 1) would you have liked it more if it were something other than the wyrm, and 2) if you had loved it that last little bit more would the length still have killed me?

I told her I'd gotten incredible critiques from you all since my July submission that I compiled and intend to utilize this very morning, and it should greatly improve my work, and that I have resigned myself to breaking the story into three books of about 88k words each.



Now, my question is this:
Should I quote her testimonial in successive letters? That is feeding agents the praise of another agent that obviously ultimately passed on my work, after all. But these things sure seem like they would help me:

"well-written with strong characters and an engaging storyline. It was an interesting take on the commercial fantasy and Sir Alyn was an entertaining character to read about. The world building was creative and well-developed without overwhelming the storyline. The writing was good, the action was fast-paced – it’s a nicely commercial fantasy with good series potential."

I'm thinking about using it, and wanted to voice my qualms first.
 
Um, NO. Do NOT use what she wrote back to you in anything. It's not a testimonial. It's a rejection letter.

And DO NOT write them back and ask more questions. That's really a big NO-NO, no matter how personalized or kind their rejection letter was. A rejection is just that - a rejection. The end. Go away and leave me alone. Not trying to be harsh here, but that's reality. Agents' blogs are filled with rants about people who insist on soliciting more feedback than any they give, and they usually don't give ANY so consider this a step in the right direction. But it's also NOT an invitation to ask for more.

Take the good from this and keep revising. You got a "I might ask for a full" from someone who flat-out told you to split the thing up and RESUBMIT, so you have your answer right there. Take that and keep revising. You're almost there!!! :)
 
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Oh..I just noticed I received the exact same response today from Julie too.

I thought to do that same as you and quote but now I know it's a standard reply. Check out the similarity:

Many thanks for sending me the first three chapters of your novel NOBLE BEGINNINGS. I did read and enjoy this and think it was well-written with strong characters and an engaging storyline. It had that nice balance of good characterisation mixed with action and a fast-moving plot. I thought the parkour aspects of it were fabulous – really strong, different and original – I’ve not seen the discipline detailed in fiction previously!


However, while I did enjoy reading this I didn’t quite love it quite enough to take it any further. That’s not to say another agent may not absolutely adore it.
 
I thanked her for making my year with her kind words and encouragement, wished her all the best in everything she does, and asked a couple questions: 1) would you have liked it more if it were something other than the wyrm, and 2) if you had loved it that last little bit more would the length still have killed me?

I told her I'd gotten incredible critiques from you all since my July submission that I compiled and intend to utilize this very morning, and it should greatly improve my work, and that I have resigned myself to breaking the story into three books of about 88k words each.

Yeah - I too responded with a polite thank you. But I didn't add any questions. I just said I had endorsement from parkour pioneer etc. and hoped an agent like her would love the adventure. Left it at that. Secretly hoping it made an impression.
 
Yep, I've been fooled by one of those too. Only not by a Julie! I'm cynical though, so the first thing I did was google lines from the letter until I found that another author had actually done almost what you were thinking of doing @Jason Byrne. Only, they'd used it as a testimonial for the ebook if I remember correctly.

It's a double edged sword, you get a sweet rejection and think oh nice! Then you find that even though it seems personal it's a form. I don't know if I wouldn't just prefer a general "thanks but no thanks!" It might be better than knowing they're kissing all the girls and making them cry. Why you gotta do that, Julie? Why wasn't my love enough?! Why?! What the heck is in this water...
 
Yeah, I figured it was iffy at best, so I'll just continue on. And hell! They've already rejected you! What's the worst they can do? Not answer? Whatever. I have gotten one or two responses for like sixty with none, but the advice was phenomenal when I did. I also figured maybe if the length was the reason for the rejection, she might be like, "aw, hell — break it up and let me have another look." Or not.

Sure they're similar, but similar requires individual attention to every story and letter — it's not a form if anything has been changed. She merely has a format pipeline for telling you what she liked about your work despite passing on it.
 
And I'm in the most backward time zone there is (except Hawaii). I'm always at the end of a conversation. :p Now if I was in Oz, I could wake you all up, rather than having breakfast reading your comments. Rejection? Now I'm wondering if I have the same nice FORM rejection in my mail box that I haven't checked.... ;)
 
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