Sunday, 26 July 2009

Which 3?

So my editing of BTL is progressing. I am now "happy" with the first seven chapters - only another 35 to go. Anyway, I am going through my list of agents/publishers that are going to get first crack at this epic and I see that one of them wants "three sample chapters." Is that the first three, the last three or a mixture of the two. My inclination would be to send the first three but I don't know if that's write. I'm trying to make sure that I send everyone exactly what it is that they require.
Just out of interest. Those of you who have had books published, how many times was the book rejected before it was accepted. That of course will have no bearing on the length of time that I will have to spend trying to find someone to take my book on, I know that. I am just curious.

9 comments:

Jarmara Falconer said...

Hi Gonnabe, you send the first three chapters always unles they say otherwise. Simply because when you pick up a book you read from the beginning and not halfway through to see if you are going to like it:-)

I'm not sure about how many times to try before giving up but send it out and see what is said before you make any changes. I know that it is said J.K. Rowling was rejected 17 times and The Day of the Jackal was rejected by four of the big publishing houses before being taken on. Stephen King had eighty-four rejection before his short stories stared to sell.

Just a few of the many stories which are out there so good luck and keep us posted.

Gonna be a writer said...

Thanks Jarmara, I'll be in good company if/when I get rejected. I would always think of sending the first three chapters but when it said three sample chapters i wondered if there was a different strategy that I should try.

Olivia Ryan said...

The first three chapters is right -although I think there are agents out there who might ask for something different. The only sure way is to check on their websites or in an up-to-date Writers Handbook.

It took me 18 months of sending out my first novel - (that is, the first published one - I had some dismal and abandoned efforts prior to writing it!) before it was accepted. I'll have to look back in my files, to find out how many rejections I had during that time -
and in fact it might make an interesting blog post, when I've found out! x

Gonna be a writer said...

I could live with 18 months Olivia. I'd prefer less of course.

Calistro said...

The second agent I approached asked to see the full (the first rejected it with a personalised rejection letter).

I sent it to four more agents after agent 1 asked me to do some work on it, had a request for the full from #3(later rejected), a personalised rejection from #4, a standard rejection from #5 and never heard from #6.

Then I sent the revised version back to agent #2 who signed me.

So I had 5 rejections in total before I got signed. But that's very unusual and I was very lucky.

One of the childrens writers in one of my groups approached about 50 agents and was rejected by 49 of them before he was accepted. If he'd sent it to that one first he would have got signed straight away so it just goes to show it's not about the number of rejections you have but your novel falling into the hands of the right agent for you.

Calistro said...

And in terms of timescale - agent #2 asked for the full manuscript in September 2007 and signed me a year later in September 2008 (it did take me quite a while to make the changes he'd asked for though and 3 months for him to get back to me with a decision).

Gonna be a writer said...

I guess I'll have to learn how to be patient Calistro. One thing though, did you send the ms to the agents simultaneously?

Calistro said...

I sent 2 simulataneously, then another 4 once I'd heard from the first two. Apparently the 'given thing' is to send no more than 10 at a time (just because it's more manageable). But don't send one at a time because it could take YEARS to hear back from them all if you wait to hear from one before sending to another!

Gonna be a writer said...

Thanks Calistro. I was thinking of 6.