This is the reject letter I got back last week, which was actually quite helpful -
EW agency wrote:Thank you for writing to us. I do apologise for the standard email; we have been so inundated with submissions recently that we are unable to give each one an individual reply. We have considered your proposal
carefully, but I am sorry to say that we feel that it is not going to be one for us.
If you feel you might benefit from more tailored editorial advice, you should consider discussing your work with a literary consultant.
Details can be found on our website on the ‘Submissions’ page. Additionally, if you would like an assessment report on your manuscript, we recommend Daniel Goldsmith Associates,they give an honest, comprehensive and constructive review on manuscripts...
I am sorry not to be writing with better news and I wish you every luck with finding an agent elsewhere.
At least it was v. polite! The Goldsmith link is to a page on submission letters which are a bloody minefield as they ask for all sorts of things like a CV (resume) or synopsis of such and such a word count so you have to revise each submission doc heavily for every mailing.
The thing I find most frustrating for this specific novel is the 'first three chapters' criteria, as I have the start of the book almost as 'stand alone' stories that only start to join up later on. Although chapters 1 & 3 are quite strong, my 'best' ones are actually further into the book and arguably the best is also stand alone as it introduces the full background story of a central character who's actually deceased for the entire main storyline
The established 'traditional' route is actually moribund now I think - with 50 Shades, whatever your personal opinion of the writing is, being the supreme example of 'If you self-publish they will buy it anyway' even with dubious editorial input. For what was originally a not terribly great but racey piece of Twilight fanfic, it just shows that anyone can do it even with dodgy editorial standards (and I'm talking hard grammar not soft porn here) I've certainly read (and written) far better stories on other fan sites
Good luck with yours Jeff - I think you're absolutely right to stick to your full concept! Who needs to read yet one more murky story about NYC when you can have real rednecks and fundies! Haven't they seen Deliverance?!!!!!