This pitch was sent on 2nd October, so it had been 11 weeks, far longer than the average. I was starting to wonder whether I should just assume they weren’t interested, or whether I should contact them for confirmation.
The email came today. This one said:
Thank your for giving us the opportunity to consider your work. Your submission has been read with interest, but I’m sorry to say that we do not feel we can offer to represent you in the marketing of it.
Please do not be disheartened by this reply. We have to think extremely carefully before taking on a new client, and in every case there are many factors contributing to our decision. Regrettably we are unable to offer a personal response to your work, but you certainly shouldn’t assume because we’ve turned your submission down that we saw no merit in it. This is often a long way from the truth.
If you’re in need of feedback you might consider trying The Writers’ Workshop or Cornerstones, both well-regarded services. For specific help in finding an agent, Agent Hunter may be of use.
We wish you every success with your writing in 2015 and beyond.
It is obviously a generic response, but kindly worded.
I now have only one pitch awaiting a response, and this one is even more overdue. However, since the encouraging wording of the previous reply, I have been concentrating on editing and fine tuning according to their advice. I have decided to look very carefully at all the stories before I submit further.
I think I am doing quite well with most of them – I can see that they benefit from being ‘tightened up’ – but I’m having trouble with the original. The comment was that it wasn’t enough of a story in its own right, merely an introduction to how Sweetpea came to live with Ginny. But I firmly believe that how Sweetpea came to live with Ginny IS in essence the story. And to be perfectly honest – if uncharacteristically immodest – it is more of a story than some of the picture books I’ve come across in the library where I work. I’m willing to listen to advice and respect the voice of experience, but there comes a point where I don’t want to sacrifice the original charm – which was so well received by the children on whom I tested it – for something that feels contrived and awkward. So I’m battling with it and with myself, and so far not coming up with a winning solution.
I know that writing is hard – and editing harder still – but I’m not yet ready to give up. I can only hope that I’ll be inspired to find the right balance.