Literary agents

anuran's angel

Well-Known Member
Jan 29, 2009
Hey folks! I finished my first novel a few months ago and have been slogging on the net for agents. I found MANY! I only started sending out queries and submissions about a month ago - OK, perhaps it's 3 weeks. So far... no luck. I've received seven rejections. When do I know that I've gotten to a point where my novel is never going to get published? A very disappointing notion :-[
Don't give up.
Keep trying and trying and trying.
It's the hardest, most demoralising thing in the world, but just from reading the stories from published authors, you just have to keep presenting your work.

(It probably also helps to get feedback on it, proof readers, writing groups all aids that you should make use of)
Oh, wow. Seven rejections is nothing. Now, if the rejections come with tips on how to make things better for an agent the next time, seriously consider following thier suggestions, they are experts, but otherwise just keep at it.
Bookstop is right seven is nothing.

Keep submitting, and while you are doing so write another book.

It took me three years and four books to catch my agent. Though I have been writing for ten years (there are another three books prior to the ones I have submitted, that I won't let even my daughters see lol)
As some who stupidly submitted a book before it was ready and has nearly finished the final version, I'm quite prepared for 7+ rejections. I've also considered what to do if it never gets accepted, including releasing chapters for free then asking for donations and when they hit a certain level releasing the next few chapters, and so on, or self-publishing.

Don't feel bad because you've had a few rejections. Books are highly subjective. Plus JK Rowling got rejected a stack of times. Best of luck.
It took me over 5 years and 100+ rejections to get an agent
If you've sent out 10 or so queries and have had only form rejections then your query letter is not doing its job. Check out queryshark ( for loads of examples of a NY agent dissecting queries that people have submitted.
Absolutewrite has an excellent 'Share Your Work' area (password protected) specifically for queries.
At some point, though, you have to ask yourself if it's simply that the book isn't very good.

Which is not a negative thing at all, really. It's a lot easier (as in, this is something under your control) to improve your writing than to change what agents are looking for (which is out of your hands entirely).
I am still waiting for that elusive agent. Don't know about anyone else, but I made the mistake of writing to one and then waiting (I think that that is what a lot of them say you have to do) but now, when the mood comes upon me again - and I have to say that like aa you can get despondent - I write to as many at one time as I can.

Anyhoos, knowing how the rest of us budding authors feel, good luck aa.
Yeah... I don't think I should get too impatient just yet. It's only the beginning, right? Well, I've heard stories of writers who only got their work accepted and published after YEARS... ahem... needless to say, I'm not eager to wait that long. I want to get published before I'm twenty (A sort of personal aim thing)....
A novel published before you're twenty? Not likely.

Most genre writers take years to get into print - even the likes of Iain Banks. Even writers with agents can take several years before landing a novel contract. Others write short stories, and once they've built up a reputation in that market, they move onto novels.

And given the current economic situation, everything is now much more difficult.

Of course, that doesn't mean it can't happen. Just that it's incredibly rare. Nor am I saying should you give up. Determination, persistence and discipline are as important to a writer as talent. (Looking at some of the books which get published - Dan Brown, for example - you have to wonder if they might not be more important...)
Only a suggestion, with apologies if you've already done this, but why not post your opening pages here for crit? There may be nothing at all wrong with your story, but as I'm sure your researches have shown you by now, the first handful of pages may contain red-flags to an agent that you don't realise are there.

Rejections -- painful, sometimes debilitating, but ultimately you either quit or grow.
There's a wonderful set of videos in which Tobias Buckell lectures some creative writing students about rejections. People like him have had hundreds of rejections (for their short stories, sure, but I'm sure they didn't hook the first agent they queried).

Rejections are good! They show you are still going at it, hammering away at the long road to being a writing superstar:)

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