I am wondering whether to retire my novel Reply All from the Great Game.
Here’s the sad submission story. Last spring I thought I’d finished it after several years of work and loads of revisions based on the advice of my crit partners. I sent it to one very good agent on the recommendation of one of his clients. He took a couple of months to read it. Both before and after his thoughtful and helpful rejection I submitted it to a total of 22 agents. Of those I got 17 rejections or failure to responds, two requests for partials–which turned into rejections–and two requests for fulls (one still out).
Then I had a revelation about the novel and did a complete revision, changing the gender of the protagonists and trying to beef up the present-day through-line, on the first agent’s recommendation.
Since that revision, I’ve sent it out to another 23 agents. I’ve gotten two requests for partials out of that bunch-one of those turned into a form rejection. The other is still outstanding although I’ve status queried twice and haven’t heard anything so I’m assuming it’s a pass. 15 booted it with form rejections. So I have six queries still floating out there.
Is this enough rejection to retire my baby? Should I just wait for the decision of the agent who has the full and then stack Reply All in cybernetic bottom drawer with all the rest of my unwanted children?
Miss Snark said to send a MS to 100 agents before giving up. Stephen Fraser advises (and I can’t find the dad-gummed link to his blog where I read this in just the past week or so) taking a MS back for more work if the form rejection percentage tops 90 percent for two rounds of 10 queries each. Mine’s about what–math’s not my strong suit–77 percent impersonal rejections from round I. And 88 percent on what I thought was a new and improved version.
I love this novel. A friend just called the other night and said she wept through the whole last 75 pages. The crit partner/friend who recommended the agent who read and rejected it so loves one of the two main characters. It just may be too complex in structure, a cross-generational story that goes back and forth in time, but look at that bloody Monsters of Templeton.
What’s a poor writer to do? Where’s the Kool Aid?