You may recall the “best rejection letter ever” I received from Linn Prentis Literary Agency awhile back. Well, I responded with a question to which I didn’t necessarily expect an answer.
Thank you for your serious consideration nonetheless! As this is my debut novel, I was afraid that might be the case, particularly in the first portions of the book. My writing has progressed quite a bit since I began “The Thief’s Throne,” so I hope to submit stronger material to you in the future.
I do have one question: I’m currently working on a trilogy of novellas, and the first one is almost finished. Would you even consider representing something as unorthodox as that? I certainly won’t waste your time with a query if not.
However, Amy Hayden was kind enough to shoot me an email back when she finally saw it.
Were it up to us we might but the truth is, the market is not kind to novellas. They aren’t easily picked up by publishers and normally don’t perform particularly well in general markets. And often if one doesn’t perform well once published, this can become another obstacle when one tries to get something else published trying to rep authors to the publisher. We really only take them on if a client already on our list has written one. I would say try very hard to find a specific pub that specializes in the novella format. You may want to look into boutique publishers. That might work.
That response might have been discouraging if my goal were to publish my novella, “Bloodlines of Epheria” (which of course you can read on my blog page), through traditional means. Instead, I wrote the first book with the intention of publishing the collated version on Kindle after posting it first in serial form. So, no worries there.
Anyhow, I hope that information is helpful to you writers out there who have thought about writing novellas for the New York market.
Trodayne here hijacking Amy’s email. She wanted me to read your sample.
Your writing has a lot going for it and your query was quite strong. As
I read your synopsis and query I found myself intrigued. But as I
finished your sample I was left hesitating on requesting more. The plot
seems to work well enough. From what I can tell the characters work as
well. I know you can write a strong action scene. That much you clearly
demonstrated quite effectively in the prologue. But then you
demonstrated it again and again in the pages following it. As much as I
did like the premise and the first part of your sample, I found myself
feeling a sense of repetition as I continued to read. I believe the
contours of the writing didn’t progress as much as I’d hoped. I must
trust my instincts in this case and pass but Linn Prentis Literary
would welcome, no, we would encourage future submissions from you,
I think this is perhaps as good as a rejection gets, at least in my world! Though disappointment was inevitable, I am (obviously) quite motivated to send my next project Mr. Northern’s way.
I was fairly kicking myself after reading this particular email. The beginning of my novel – sans the prologue, as I wrote that after I finished the first draft – is probably the weakest part of the book. I knew that, and many beta readers told me so in so many words, but I didn’t want to scrap the whole thing and rewrite it. Now I wonder what my fate would’ve been had made the extra effort to do so.
But, as they say, what’s past is past. I am certainly aware of my tendency toward slow beginnings, as that is one of the critiques I’ve received about my ongoing “Bloodlines of Epheria” serial. The next time around, I will pay special attention to wholly grabbing the reader’s attention from the get-go.