April 15, 2012

Subjective. It's all SO subjective.

sub·jec·tive

adj \(ˌ)səb-ˈjek-tiv\

a (1): peculiar to a particular individual : personal;subjective judgments; (2): modified or affected by personal views, experience, or background subjective account of the incident;


So. If you've been querying any amount of time, you've probably gotten at least one of these:


"Thank you for the chance to review your work. Unfortunately, this is not a good fit for me. Please keep in mind that this is all very subjective, and what isn't right for one agent may be right for another."*


*actual rejection

Subjective. It's like, an agent's favorite word. And I get it- I really do. Just like some people loved Twilight and some hated it. Or some people were Team Edward and some people thought Edward was a total creep. (Uh, how could you EVER be Team Jacob? Seriously? Eeeeedwaaaaaard.)

Anyway. I understand. But it's still frustrating, right?

This month, I entered two contests.

I won one of them. WON. I don't win, ever. EVER. I'm going to repeat and capitalize every last word. WORD.
 
But the other one- well, results aren't posted but it’s pretty obvious I won’t win. In fact, there weren't many entries where the agent said, "You should redo this," but....s/he did say that about mine. It was pretty obvious from the agent's comments that s/he just didn't get what I was trying to do.
 
Going back to the other contest that I won- that agent TOTALLY got what I was trying to do. I mean, she loved the "Granny-cleaning" thing and how just using the term demonstrated- "EMERGENCY." When I read her comments, I was like- YES! Exactly!
 
Two different agents. Exact same entry- first 250 words. One liked it so much she requested a partial. The other one disliked it so much s/he said to rethink it.

And I WANT to say- "BUT, you've only read the first 250 words! A lot of the issues you have a problem with are better explained in the NEXT 250 words!"

But you know what? The first 250 words is generally all an agent looks at (if they even look at that much) when they make the decision to reject your query or request pages.

And that. just. kills me.

There's no point to this post, other than to try and give myself some perspective. It really is subjective. I know that. It's just not a helpful word. Telling me it's "subjective," doesn't tell me how to make you love it, right?


16 comments:

  1. I had 6 manuscript requests and five of them have sent me rejection letters (still waiting on the last agent) and each one of them gave me a different reasons to why try didn't like it. One didn't think they could sell it. One didn't like the MC's best friend. One thought the pacing was off. One loved the pacing but didn't connect with the MC. It's all completely subjective and completely annoying. I just want to be published already!!! Lol. Good luck with your querying! I've been querying my MS for 6 months now and I'm shelving it (since I've sent out 100 query letters and have only gotten 6 unsuccessful requests) *sniffs* Maybe my next project will be more sellable!

    And Team Edward forever!!!! :-)

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    1. Eeeeeedwaaaard!

      I'm shelving mine when my Rs get in the triple digits too. Victoria Scwab did an awesome post a month or so ago about her first MS. It didn't sell, and she shelved it. She was just recently able to pull it back out and look at it objectively to see what needed to b changed. I'm just hoping I'll be able to do that if BETWEEN doesn't go anywhere. Shelving it breaks my heart.

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    2. It hurts!!! I did read Victoria's post and I hope that some day I can come back to this project and do it some justice. I think I was trying to squeeze too much into one book, so I might try to drag out the first plot a little more. I've already rewritten it 5 times (or more. I've kinda lost count. Lol) so I'm gonna let it is for a few years before I go back to it.

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  2. I can understand that query's get rejected like this. But when they request a partial or full, it's quite frustrating when you get the standard rejection.

    Even if the different agents give conflicting reasons, at least you know it's a subjective thing. But if they don't give you any clue, you have no idea what to fix.

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    1. OH- I'm only talking about queries. I think partials/fulls deserve a personalized rejection with specific reasons why the agent is rejecting. I should do a separate post on that- thanks for bringing it up!

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  3. THIS. YES. THIS.

    So first of all, this is hilarious: I lurked my way through those two blog contests as well, and I totally recognized your submission in the second one after reading it in the first! I mean, I didn't know it was you (and we haven't ever officially met or anything [*waves* Hi! Nice to meet you!]), but I recognized the snippet. And for what it's worth, I was rather baffled by the agent's comments on the MSFV contest. You're right--s/he just didn't get what you were aiming for. Ah, well. So it goes.

    Secondly, I return to my initial comment. I've been thinking about this too. Sometimes you get such an unexpectedly enthusiastic response, and other times it's the simplest of form Rs. It can be frustrating, and when it's just you and your inbox, things can feel a bit like you're flying solo. So thanks for the reminder that none of us are alone in this. :-)

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    1. *waves* HI! Fabulous to meet you. So, first off, thanks for the niceness. I was kinda baffled. Y the MSFV comment too- not to say that I think I'm the most awesomely awesome writer of awesomeness- but i was just confused by the way s/he interpreted my 250. But yeah, like you said, so it goes. I think I'm entering one more ontest this month and then I'm taking a break from it all!

      When I get a positive response to my query, I always have to read it twice. Like, what? They liked it? Holy crap! And you're right, it does get lonely. Sometimes I think we're all a little timid when it comes to talking about being rejected....because obviously, it sucks. It's good to talk bout it now and then!

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  4. Ah, I remember reading your entries :) What a perfect example of subjectivity!

    I've had the same experience with the MS I'm currently querying too and it's so frustrating - I just want clear-cut instructions on how to make my MS "right", but it doesn't exist :( And then I never know whether to edit something after received agent feedback, or to just leave it because the next agent might love the original. *Sigh*

    It's comforting and yet simultaneously depressing to hear that so many of us are dealing with the same thing. Best of luck with rest of your queries!

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    1. I know what you mean about not knowing if you should revise or not since the feedback is so....wait for it......SUBJECTIVE! :-) I think you just decide if you like their suggestions or not. And, if you're getting the same feedback over and over, that probably means something. But who knows? You still know your story best. I'm just hoping I can find an agent who likes my story.

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  5. Love this post so much. It's hard to remember that it's all subjective when the rejections are coming in, and it's definitely difficult to stay positive. I'm glad to hear you won a contest!! :-)

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    1. Thanks Ashley! And yeah, it's hard to stay positive. Every time I get another form rejection on my query, it sucks. But every now and then, I'll get a, "I'd love to read more" that makes it all worth it. I just wish those came more often!!

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  6. I don't really have a lot to add here, except that I co-sign to everything you wrote. So... yeah.

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    1. Gina, of course you do. We share a brain.

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  7. I am completely baffled by the MSFV contest as well. I even started to question my own taste in manuscripts, because I LOVED your opening. But like you said, that agent evidently just didn't get what you were trying to do. At least you won the other contest! Congrats :) So I guess we just have to hope somehow we find the agent who connects with us one way or another.

    But, I refuse to give up hope. And it sounds like you're SO close to getting there! Good luck :)

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    1. Thanks Jamie, and I appreciate your comment on my MSFV entry too! I don't know if I'm close at all. Some days I think I'm doing great, and other days....well, I think I'm delusional. :-) Just gotta keep at it, I guess!

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  8. It's totally subjective and while it may not SOUND like a good thing, it is. Because while one person may hate your book, another may like it. So getting rejected doesn't mean your book is BAD, it just means that ONE AGENT didn't like it. And I liked to remind myself of that while querying. That i wasn't the end. That all I needed was ONE PERSON to like my book. And while it feels so wearing and needle in the haystack like, it can also be exciting. A chase, right? Okay so maybe i'm rambling too. ANyway, I found my needle in the haystack, and I hope you do, too. :)

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