Monday, July 19, 2010

Submitting New Projects? Show Me Growth!

Unless an agent or an editor states in a rejection letter that they never want to hear from you again, there is no problem submitting a project to that person later. You never know, the 2nd or 3rd try might be the one that sticks. With that said, I see far too many authors that send those later projects and are still missing the boat. The problem? These authors simply didn't show me any growth.

In general, if we read a submission and see something that doesn't work, we want to see a later project demonstrate that, in some way, you have made an effort to fix the problem. In other words, treat this like an editor sending you revisions if you are a published author, or if you had an editor kind enough to send you revisions that they would want to see done before they moved ahead on a contract with an initial submission. We want to know you can do as you are asked. We want to see that growth.

Let me try it this way...

CASE 1 - An author sends me a project and I reject it stating "while I very much liked the foundation of the story, I felt as if you were trying to take on too many issues with the character. The alien abduction is fine, but finding out that the heroine was a rabbit with a situation of abuse in the family and her ex-husband, is a dictator now for the hidden continent of Atlantis is now resurfacing (sorry had to put that in) to regain his rightful claim..." If this author sends me a new project, I want to see one issue and it better not be over the top.

CASE 2 - An author sends me a project and I reject it stating "The story lacked the depth of character development. Right now the story is all dialogue based and we have no sense of what is going on in the characters head with the situation." When I read a new project, I don't want to see 3 pages of straight up dialogue again. I want to see a stronger balance with narration.

Now I understand there isn't much you can do with the form letters many agents believe they have to use due to the abundance of submissions they get, but for those that do take the time to actually write a letter, listen to that person. They took the time. Learn from it and grow.


P.S. This week and next will be pretty limited in terms of posts. I am busy trying to wrap things up for Nationals.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to write helpful advice like this. It is much appreciated.

  2. A quick question...
    You've posted before that you don't like resubmitted projects. I am currently working on rewriting a project that I sent you some months ago. When I am finally done, would it be worth contacting you again or have a missed my chance with this one?

    Thanks for your advice. Your blog is a daily read for me.

  3. Melissa,

    Show me new work. We can always revisit a past project.