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how much feedback to expect with rejection after full request?


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#1 hermitage

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 01:31 PM

I queried an agent, got a request for the full manuscript, sent it in, waited for a while, and then eventually received what looks like a form-letter rejection. 

 

Is an impersonal, form-letter rejection the norm in this situation? Or do agents usually give feedback on the manuscript after requesting it in full? 

 

If it is the norm, do you think it's rude to gently ask how the manuscript might be improved? I'm fine with the manuscript being rejected, but I was hoping that I might at least get some helpful advice as part of the process. 

 

Thanks!

James



#2 Constantine Singer

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 03:42 PM

Most often, what you'll get on fulls is a polite, vague, rejection which is of little use.  Oftentimes even with fulls, agents stop reading at the point they are convinced that they cannot sell the book, so they don't put much thought into how to make it better.

 

If you get a really detailed editorial comment (e.g. "While I really enjoyed character X, the lack of stakes in the relationship with your main meant that the story didn't have the propulsion it needed to carry me through") it will generally be combined with a comment about revising and resubmitting (called an R&R).

 

Yeah, it sucks to have your hopes floated and then dashed without much reason given, but it's not personal and it's all part of building the thick skin you'll need after you actually land an agent and suffer through revisions, the submission process, the sales process, the editorial letter, and finally the cavalcade of negative reviews that arrive after your book is published.

 

Keep on trudging.


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#3 Faltho

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:37 PM

I've experienced there are only really two types of full-request rejections.

 

One, is the most common which is a vague 'we didn't connect as much as we'd like/there is a plot issue (non-specific)/there is a structure issue (non-specific)'. Of the full rejections I've gotten, they are mostly this with a myriad of random vague hints which aren't specific enough to fix. This is usually meant to be a 'no thanks, and don't bother re-submitting'.

 

The second type, and the one you're gunning for is the 'here's a specific problem or issue we have with your novel, fix it and then send it back'. Or the slightly less desirable but still good, 'we liked the writing, but it just doesn't fit with us right now, query us again if you write another novel',

 

So, while it's not always the norm, it's a fairly common response.  



#4 hermitage

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:46 PM

Thanks guys; that's good to know. I had been surprised to get so little feedback; I'd thought that having taken the time to get a bit further into the novel, it would be a relatively trivial matter for them just to dash off a few notes. But then again I don't know how far they actually did get -- maybe not much further than some of those who ask for the first few chapters as part of their initial submissions process. Sort of an unpleasant business really, but given the reality, I might as well get used to it. 



#5 smithgirl

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 03:35 PM

I also get form rejections on fulls. It's very disappointing. When I get a full request, I hope that even if they reject it they'll give me some personalized feedback. Sometimes I can guess they didn't actually read the whole book -- like if they reject the full 24 hours later. But other times they would have had to time to read it and still send a form.

 

In a way, though, whether it's personalized or not, it's still a rejection. If it was something they think would be an easy fix, they would request an R&R. Also, what one agent likes about your book another doesn't like. So if one agent says they didn't like your book because of X, if you change your book based on that agent's feedback, you might have inadvertently made it less appealing to another agent, while still having no chance with the first agent. So the individualized feedback can be a mixed bag.

 

And then you get an agent who said they thought your book was wonderful but it's still a rejection. So then you think, Then why reject it?

 

Despite all these issues, however, I still always hope for something personalized. I completely understand your frustration. But lots of times you'll get a form reject for a full.






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