Monday, June 28, 2010

First response for Hidden in Shadows Query

On the 24th, I sent Margo, the editor from HQ, the first three chapters and synopsis of Hidden in Shadows as requested from my pitch appointment at the Lori Foster Get Together. A little less than 24 hours later, this was her response:

Dear Nicole:

Thanks for sending the partial ms. and synopsis of HIDDEN IN SHADOWS (a title that definitely sounds more commercial, to me, than TORN BETWEEN MURDER AND LOVE!).  I enjoyed speaking with you about this novel at the recent Lori Foster Get-Together.  And there was much I admired about the material here, from your rich world-building to your intriguing premise of a heroine who’s a professional assassin.

Yet that said, I’m afraid I don’t think this book is quite right for LUNA’s urban fantasy list at this time.  While I wanted to empathize with the feisty and independent Lorna, I confess somehow I didn’t find her narrative voice quite as compelling as I’d hoped—perhaps because she seems (to my mind) almost a bit too self-confident, not allowing her reader to get close enough to see the vulnerabilities hidden beneath the surface.

No doubt I’m simply not the best editorial champion for this particular novel, and others more in tune with your vision will respond differently.  Thanks again for sharing your work with me, and best wishes in finding HIDDEN IN SHADOWS the perfect publishing home.


This is definitely the best rejection I've ever received. Lorna undergoes a large character developmental change throughout the book. Perhaps it's a little too large, if people can't be initially invested into reading her story. I might end up taking Margo's rejection to heart and change the beginning of the story so Lorna isn't so cocky at first. Not sure just yet.


Cherie Reich said...

Congrats on a more detailed rejection letter. If you have to get one, those are the best type.

It's hard to tell whether or not to change the character based on one agent's opinion. If it reoccurs, then it might taking some looking into, though. I have a friend who wrote a trilogy to have people say similar things about her protagonist, but it's sometimes hard to change something, if that is how the person is.

Whatever happens to it, I look forward to one day reading it. I love stories about assassins and such. They're so intriguing.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks, Cherie.

That's why I'm considering it, but haven't yet. If more than one person comes back and says something, then it starts to become a major issue. I would just try to soften her up slightly by making her less cocky. But for right now, she's full of herself, at least in the beginning of the story.

I hope you'll be able to read it in print and from a NYC publisher! *crosses fingers and toes!*

Cherie Reich said...

*crosses fingers and toes for you too* I hope to be able to read it in print and from a NYC publisher too! If it happens, you'll have to sign a copy for me. *grins*

Nicole Zoltack said...

Of course! :)

Kameko said...

Don't give up! I want to be able to read this in print some day soon!


Suzanne said...

That's almost the exact response I got from the first agent who read my first book. A few later, someone loved it. It's all so subjective!

Vicki Rocho said...

Wow, that is a wonderful rejection letter! Ahhh, if only they were all that nice!

Aubrie said...

Well, it is a nice letter, and very detailed. All I've been getting are forms, so this is way better than that!

Nicole Zoltack said...

You don't have to worry about me giving up, Beverly! That's not going to happen. :)

So true, Suzanne, it's such a subjective business. I sent it out to Heather at Tor (spoke to her about the story at the LIRW luncheon) so hopefully she'll enjoy it.

It certainly does beat a form rejection letter, Vicki! What shocked me was the incredible turnaround time.

I've been receiving several form rejection letters for my fantasy YA, so you aren't alone, Aubrie! Even though I finished the YA story a long time before I did this assassin story, I have the feeling that the assassin story might land me an agent sooner. Here's hoping, anyways! :) After all, it only takes one 'yes' and hopefully we'll both be seeing/hearing that soon!

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

What Suzanne and Cherie said is so true. I was thinking of the same thing but they beat me to it. :)

Good luck!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks, Donna! I'm not going to soften Lorna unless agents start to say the same thing. So we'll just have to wait and see. :)

Margo Berendsen said...

That is a really good rejection letter. She obviously took some time. Thanks for sharing - it's other writers sharing their rejections, and successes, that really helps me keep my persepctive.

Shawna Williams said...

It always helps when they say nice things. Form letters suck.

Kris said...

This is so much more than a rejection, Nicole! A three paragraph letter outlining her hesitation. That rocks. You're very close! And I, too, wouldn't change anything based on one person's hesitation--she wouldn't have spent so much time reading your ms and then crafting a letter so detailed if you didn't have something there.

And, thanks for visiting at my blog!

Nicole Zoltack said...

You're welcome, Margo! That's exactly why I shared it. :)

Form letters are so-so, it's the no response means no that irks me, Shawna.

Thanks for the kind words, Kris, and you're welcome. You have a great blog!

Carol Kilgore said...

That's definitely a helpful rejection. Maybe try getting a little deeper in your character's head and showing the reader a vulnerability or two despite her cocky attitude. Use them both to play off each other.

Thanks for following my blog!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I'm sorry about the rejection, but the personal feedback is great to have. And that's an impressive response time. Good luck with the future queries. :)

Myrna Foster said...

She must have seen something she liked to have gone to that much effort.

Nicole Zoltack said...

That's a good idea, Carol, I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!

The response time floored me, Roni, as well as the personal feedback. It's the best rejection letter I've ever received.

Hopefully that means I'm not far from finding an agent and editor who likes enough to take it on, Myrna!