Discouraged by submissions to agents-I want to throw in the towel

I've written a story, quite different from the books I've self-published. I submitted a sample to an agent and was declined. This is my second attempt to get this book going. I can't afford to invest any more money self-publishing. I've had people read quite a few pages of this new work and I've asked for their HONEST opinion (I really can take it) and they've been thrilled with what they've read and keep asking for more.


How many rejections is enough? Writing is my passion. I don't want to change my work though. I'm really "in love" with this book.


Any ideas?

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Do you know who Harlan Ellison is? I do. Quite well. Spent some time talking to him on his website years ago.  I happened to watch a video on him last night on youtube where he EXPLICITLY stated:

I love to write.

If that's not what's keeping you here, try a different approach. No one said this would be easy and the LAST thing you do is give up because someone ELSE is stopping you.

Yano? Agents are just people. Most are power hungry. They want to control things, especially writers like you who create fabulous new ideas.





Thanks for the encouraging feedback.  It seems it is so hard to reach the masses without making yourself broke in the process. And I do love to write! It is truly what I've always believed is my calling. Everywhere I turn however, I'm seeing articles saying "get your work to an agent", "how to write to get your work noticed by an agent." I hate to think this is the only way people will ever see/read my books. If it was commercial success I was looking for, I would have stopped writing after the first one. I'm more interested in getting it out there. Unless those who have already read the new work I've started are telling me lies to save my feelings (and I have asked them to be as honest as possible), I really feel the work is solid. Maybe I need a new angle...or more money!

Do me a favor. Right this minute. Don't spend any more money on this, okay? No money coming in? Then no money should be going out. This is a budgeting rule that all writers should follow.

Writing is NOT a special process that requires extreme outlays of cash. 

Go sit on the corner, if you have to, and busk, reading your stuff, okay? But spend no money til you have it. I keep hearing horror stories about people spending five thousand dollars to publish a book. Woo! Not in THIS day and age.

Who are you hanging around with? Any writers or writer groups? Tell me how that experience is going. 

I just encountered Jo Sparkes here on someone's blog. She seems nice. You might check her out and see what her approach is. She seems very down-to-earth. She's published a couple of books. I don't know her but I was impressed with my brief glance at her:


If you have an uncontrollable urge to spend money on something, go buy your most favorite food. And eat it all at once. SLOWLY. And do that EVERY time the urge strikes that you need someone else's opinion.

No one is better for you than you. Understood? You have a creative outlook that is unique in all the world, so how can ANYone tell you what to do? Hm? *grin*

The world we live in, right now, is FILLED with people writing. I can't do anything about that. You're gonna get discouraged by writers shoving past.

But if you put it in this context, you will calm down. Writing, for you, is breathing.

Can you stop? Then never mind what anyone else is telling you to do. The saddest part is MOST NON-WRITERS are controlling the game. They stopped writing because they couldn't handle the game and they are the gatekeepers, editors, vanity publishers, promoters AND AGENTS you are being thrown into the soup with. They'd pick ya clean if they can. They crave justification for why YOU are writing and they cannot! *grin*

The biggest problem right now is there are professionals who want your money. They don't care how they get it and they don't care if you are dead (figuratively) when they are done with you. I have read TOO many stories over the years--and I've been on the internet, involved with creative people, since 1997--about people who mortgage their lives to be published.

You don't have to do that anymore. Okay?

Have you tried Wattpad? I'm not saying any website is better than another, but...

I set up there recent and am seeing what happens. Let me know if you are anywhere else, on the internet. I don't come to this website much and I am feeling something is not quite right here. This could just be another website where most people just come and go and those that stay are mostly on forums, chatting.

I could be wrong, but I've been on writer websites before. I'm not sure about the 'flow' of this website and that might interfere with your thinking. I can't be sure.

Find people like you. And don't change a hair. 



I pretty much agree with what others have said here, but let me reinforce what I think are the most important points.

1. Getting an agent is hard. Getting a traditional publisher to buy your book (with or without an agent) is hard. Both can take dozens of tries and a number of years if they ever happen at all. Writers who have not broken in yet and are not prepared to contend with that sad reality should probably opt out of traditional publishing.

2. Writers who do opt out can self-publish inexpensively. When I self-publish, it costs me $50 to have an artist create the cover, and that's it.

Of course, it's not going to be that cheap for everyone. I self-publish in eBook format only. Doing paper-and-ink books would complicate the process. I've been a professional writer since the 80's and am willing to dispense with a professional editor for my self-published projects. Other writers may feel the need for one. I have a friend who has done professional proofreading and proofreads my projects for free. Other writers may have to pay someone.

Still, the fact remains, in today's world, you can self-publish pretty darn cheaply. (In fact, Amazon Kindle self-publishing now includes a feature to help the non-artist writer create a cover.) If self-publishing's costing you a fortune, you may want to take another look at your options.

Good luck,


And if you come to Wattpad, Joy, there are kids bursting with feedback and they'll even MAKE a free cover for your book.

I think the best thing to say here, is IF your book has a 'traditional' flavour to it, DO continue to approach trad publishers. Birds of a feather, and all that.

And anyone who can tell a mystery cover from a fantasy cover KNOWS there is a trad publishing format at work here, and can comment, easily on your content. You don't need trad feedback on your work.

Trad publishers are NOT doctors. They are arbitors of a particular flavour. And there's nothing WRONG with you being that flavour--lots of writers are.

But realize if you're NOT and get to your dreams some other way, okay?

I'm on Wattpad and I'm not saying it's any better or worse than any other website. But if you are into new ideas, try a new one there, okay?




I sent my first novel to about 25 agents, and all of them turned me down. Didn't let that stop me, I went for self-publishing, and now I'm still starving, but published! Five novels so far, and more coming soon!

Writing was my dream all my life, bit I only recently got to do it. Now you couldn't stop me without a gun! I still submit to agents, but I don't hold my breath. Instead, I'm using all my marketing know-how and spending as little as possible on it, to push my books myself.

I'm also working on a new website that will allow guys (and gals!) like us to market our ebooks and print versions, too, all without up-front costs. I've located some POD gear and working on rasing the money to buy it, so I can offer POD on commission only.  Wish me luck!

If you're serious about things like that, you should create a Kickstart program. You know about Kickstart, right?

Writers, just like anyone else with a mouth to feed and a need for shelter, should get paid. We've lived too long with an idea that, somehow, we are cats on traditional publishers shoulders, who are pretty to look at but hey, they can find their own mice.

I don't think so. The only reason Simon and Shuster EXISTS is because of the cat. You know that, right?

Let me know if you get anything started. I'm checking out Wattpad, which, only recently, is toying with 'fan funding' as a concept.



wordwan, who actually reads other posters messages!



Your words are truly inspiring! I have 4 books out there. 3 have sold quite well. One is a slow mover. And while the rejections have all been so softly worded in the "I don't feel I'm the right agent for you" I have to just keep thinking that maybe it's true. I need someone who appreciates my work in the spirit in which it is written.

I self-published the first 4 because I was afraid someone would get their hands on them and muddy up the works and totally change the stories and the characters.  They'd take essence out of who the people were and I'd read the story and be asking myself "who are these people?"

Thank you for your input!  And thanks to everyone else as well for keeping my hopes up. I was feeling pretty dejected!

Love the suggestions too...and the money in my pocket.



Never give up if it is something you truly believe in.

Go on publishing your ebooks, if you have not already. You can get Calibre for free. You can work with Smashwords to get your book out there. Don't bother with agents; they will not option your book is there is no established sales record for them to look at. Don't feel rejected, take charge and get your writing seen without dependence on people who have no incentive to help you.

Teresa, we spoke once before about you NOT being on Amazon. You're the same person, yes?

Are there any 'interesting' people on this bookblog website, when it comes to new ideas?

Oops, wait, you don't seem to be on this website much. Hm.



When I was sending out submissions to agents, editors and publishers, I received very nice comments about the book. The writing was good, the story intriguing, but ... Most of the time it was a topic difficult to sell. I have a sign on the wall above my computer to remind me of Richard Bach's words: "An author is a writer who didn't give up." At the end of five years, yeah, five years and countless rejections, one publisher finally offered me a contract. The book is was published in May 2013. Don't give up, believe in yourself. 


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