For those of you keeping track at home, I talked yesterday about some of the great American classic writers and books that have been rejected by literary agents as many as 160 times. To that end, my new novel, entitled Losing Meadow Brook, got it's first official agent rejection last night! Woo Hoo! Now, I may be counted among the great ones (I guess). Here is the query I sent, along with the first chapter:
Dear Mr. Big Shot New York Literary Agent Guy,
What could an ecstatic nursing assistant, an agitated restaurant owner, a chafing state trooper, and an affronted gas station attendant have in common? They’ve all met Walter Mitchell, of course.
In Losing Meadow Brook, my 115,000 word novel, four men are drawn together by the inescapable bond of being the only lucid males at the Meadow Brook Assisted Care Home. When a dying mobster shows up and regales the unlikely quartet with tales of cash buried in Havana, Walter will become obsessed by it.
Walter is convinced the mob is going to kill him for stealing from the dying boss if he doesn’t get out soon. That doesn’t stop him from giving the stolen cash (and their traveling money) away to a young nurse. Now, he must try and make it all the way to Cuba and find the buried loot before his unwitting partners discover he’s broke. The mob didn’t kill him, but that doesn’t mean his traveling companions won’t leave him for dead. Walter will have to use everything within his manipulative arsenal to ensure they make the journey and get the loot…together.
Losing Meadow Brook is the story of three men doing everything they can to make it to Havana before Walter drives them all insane.
And this is the reply I got:
Hey there Buzz,
Thanks so much for giving me a shot at your novel. I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t connecting wholeheartedly with your writing, despite its poise and polish, so I ought to step aside, but I truly appreciate the look, and I wish you the best of luck!
Mr. Big Shot New York Literary Agent Guy
From past experience on other projects, I can tell you that this is the best damned rejection letter that I have EVER seen. Why? Because it could be a form letter, or it could be an actual written response. Who it the hell would ever know unless you queried the guy again on another book? I mean, it's beautiful in that regard, and allows the prospective client to look at the glass however they want to.
This guy is actually thanking me for giving him a shot, he's obviously impressed with my poise and polish, AND he connects with my writing...just not wholeheartedly, right? That's why he has been forced to step aside and clear the path leading to my ultimate success and probable movie deal with another agent!
Or, you could look at it and say it is a form response that his assistant clicks out to everybody. I would prefer to think that the former is true and after preparing a letter and submission to an agency's individual specifications, that an agent might take the twenty seconds or so that it would require and craft a reply. So, what do you guys think? Real response Or clicked form reply???And the Winner IS...
Clicked form reply, of course! I googled the words of the response and they came up on the blogs of a lot of other writers going back several years. It's mildly disheartening to think that there isn't at least one agent out there who would actually send you a short note back, but there it is...the half-empty glass staring back at you. That's query rejection number one. 159 to go!
Thanks for reading!