I’ve been shopping around a paranormal romance. I’ve had requests from agents for partials, even for fulls, but ultimately no requests for representation, and the only thing I’m told is, “I wasn’t as taken with the project as I hoped.”
If there’s something wrong with the plot/characters/etc., I’d love to know what it is so I could fix it. I’m already part of a writing/critique group, and the members all made their comments before I started shopping it around, so my question is, is my book just not going to work out?
I’ve already started shopping around a new one, but I’m disappointed because that one was part of a series, so it’s like I wasted a lot of time/effort on four books that don’t look like they’ll see print.
I truly understand how busy all of you agents are, and with the amount of submissions you receive you don’t have the time to do more than a standard rejection letter, I just wish it was possible to even get a one-sentence reason for rejection —”I didn’t like the characters, the last act didn’t appeal to me, I thought the situation was implausible, etc.”
Here’s a secret that few agents will tell you . . . sometimes there’s just nothing to say.
I don’t know your situation and I don’t know your work (at least I don’t think I do). So I can’t tell you exactly what’s wrong with your book and it’s likely that the agents who reviewed it can’t either. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with it. The characters are good, the plot is good, the hook is good, but it’s not fantastic. It’s just that: good, fine, okay. Not special enough to sell.
Or sometimes those first three chapters were great. They were dynamic, enticing, attention grabbing, and the rest of the book just fell apart. Maybe it was slow, boring, or just plain bad.
My suggestion is to stop worrying about it. You can’t control it, and even if an agent said, “I didn’t like the characters,” would you know enough to make the changes necessary to get representation? If you can’t look at it objectively and figure out why it’s not selling, then don’t worry about it. Start writing your next book and make sure it’s better. Make sure it’s more exciting, the characters are more realistic, and your hook is hookier (if that’s a word).