Now when I win the lottery and move to Tahiti, then it can be just a blog about my new-found riches...
Anyway, so we've got a new feature here, which I hope to do weekly. It was suggested by my always inventive friend, E, that people could learn if I told you why I am or am not rejecting or accepting queries and partials. So the way this goes is that every week I'm going to pick five random query letters and five random partials, and type my thoughts in about them as I go. I'm going to be polite and not reveal who the author is or what the title is, etc; I'm also going to try mightily to be constructive, so we'll see how that goes.
I want to make it clear that I am writing out these comments on the queries and partials purely as a learning exercise for my readers. My goal is not to mock any writers, or in any way make you feel bad. I receive many queries and partials that deal with the exact same subject matter, and because I know what I like and don't like, it often only takes me a short time to decide upon something. I literally do not have the time to write individual comments on every query or partial I reject, which is why you may see a comment on your material here, but not on your actual form letter.
And without further ado, let us start. Just to give you a time basis for how long it takes to do all this, it's now 4:46 pm EST, and I'm also eating while reading, so that slows me down a tad. If I'm rejecting anything while doing this, I'm going to stop and stuff the rejection letter into the envelope, as we go along. Likewise, for acceptances, I'll e-mail the people whose work I want to see more of.
- This is a well-written query; it's polite, business-like, and presents its YA novel well. I'm passing on it, however, because the novel centers on the martial arts, which don't really appeal to me, and I don't think the plot has enough originality to stand alone in the heavily saturated YA fantasy market.
- This query is for a paranormal YA fantasy; I'm passing on it because it's quite similar to another book I have on my client list, one about the ability to travel in time, which hasn't been having the most success with editors.
- This query is for a historical romance from a Golden Heart finalist. Besides the fact that the author has that credential, I like that the story sounds different from the standard historical romance. I'm asking for more.
- This query confuses me. The author is one of many that were scheduled to meet with me at a writer's conference, when I was terribly ill with a stomach virus. As a result of my being ill, the conference organizers and I agreed that the authors could send me partials, but this author has only sent a query. I will be e-mailing the author for clarification on this. (ETA: I've spoken to the author and we've resolved the perplexing issue. Hooray! =)
- This query is from an established writer. I'm interested in looking at what they are querying me about. Of course, I'm asking for more
- This partial is what I would call women's fiction. I'm passing on it because there's way too much telling rather than showing in the writing, and that's turning me off. I read until page five.
- This partial is a mainstream novel, one involving food, which is always a subject I adore. I read until page forty-two, and then decided that I was going to pass on it. Basically, the novel needs a good edit; I think it starts in the wrong place, but that with work the author can revise it. It has that certain *something*.
- This partial is a YA fantasy novel; I didn't find the teenage voice convincing at all, so I stopped reading on page three.
- This partial's writing is not bad, but not sparkling either. It's not right for me. I stopped reading on page five.
- This partial is a fairly generic horror novel that did nothing for me. I stopped reading on page three.