Jennybondurant’s Blog

Novel Rejection #1: Ouch

Posted in Uncategorized by jennybondurant on May 23, 2009

Last Saturday I took the plunge and e-mailed off two queries to agents. E-mail is a great thing when agents take them — cuts out the printing and mailing costs, which will definitely add up if I send out 94 queries.

I spent about a month drafting and revising my query letter, plus making a few lists of agents to pitch. The first pitch I sent out was to John Talbot of the Talbot Fortune Agency. I picked John because I recently read Maryanne Stahl’s novel The Opposite Shore. Nice read, and I believe my novel may appeal to a similar audience. It took me an hour to get the personalized e-mail and query pieces ready for Talbot. If it takes me that long to get everything ready, plus research time, I am never going to have time to write another novel!

Second pitch I sent out was to Marcy Posner. Posner represented Stephanie Gertler and, again the audience would be the same for my book. I spent another couple of hours researching specifics on Posner, listening to a podcast interview with her, etc. At least all the research time is also informative on writing and publishing in general.

Posner didn’t waste any time with her rejection of my query, received only 24 hours later. Here’s her succinct response:

Dear Jennifer,
Not for me and I have to admit I have problems when someone uses the term fiction novel – have you heard of a non-fiction novel?
Marcy Posner

In my query, I had listed my work as “a 76,000-word, women’s fiction novel.” I was trying to use the term “women’s fiction” to classify the novel. Just putting “women’s novel” didn’t sound right, nor did putting “women’s fiction” without the word “novel” behind it. At any rate, my pitch crashed and burned without a hope after she classified me as an idiot writer (which obviously I was with that query!). Lesson learned.

After spending the afternoon of my first rejection in a state of depression and wondering why I don’t just self-publish a couple of hundred books and call that good, I moved on. Luckily, I have a great writer’s critique group that supported and encouraged me in the time of darkness.

Query #3 went out two days later.


Novel Query, revised

Posted in Uncategorized,Writing by jennybondurant on May 20, 2009

For those who think it’s hard to write a book, it’s nothing compared to trying to get it published (not counting self-publishing!). And since I don’t write in a hot genre, such as mystery, sci fi, chick lit or erotica, it becomes even more daunting at times, since a genre can give you a good niche to stand on. I am still waiting for the inspiration for a sexy, sci fi mystery book with a chick lit flair to hit me, because then I know I will really have something.

Regardless, I wrote a book. I didn’t choose it. It just came out of me, which is a cool thing, whether I get it published or not. But of course, I would love to get it published and have people read it because making the connection with the reader is the point of it all.

I’m spending what feels like an insane amount of time on the query, synopsis and agent research, but it’s necessary to move forward, despite the odds and despite feeling like I am swimming against the current.

Here is my latest query draft …

Edie Monroe pretends her 17-year-old son Sean is not having sex behind his closed bedroom door with some girl she’s never met. Safe in his bedroom, Sean’s girlfriend Mandy pretends that sleeping with him will erase her childhood memories of abuse. When Edie and Mandy can no longer ignore each other, each must face the pasts they are haunted by. For Mandy, it’s the nights spent with her mother’s boyfriend. For Edie, it’s the day she left her 5-year-old son standing alone and barefoot on the sidewalk and drove away.

Set in America’s heartland, DISAPPEARING ACTS is a 76,000-word novel of Edie’s and Mandy’s alternating first-person narratives, as each discovers that running away from the life she feels trapped in forces her to face reality. When Mandy convinces Sean to run away with her, the novel parallels her journey with Edie’s summer of 1976, when she ran away from her husband and son. A tragic incident brings the two women to a shared loss that impacts each life in a different way.

DISAPPEARING ACTS reveals the hard truth doing the right thing doesn’t guarantee a happy ending and you can’t run away from what is in your heart.

I received my Master’s degree in creative writing (fiction) from the University of Missouri-Columbia. During my studies, I won the Marjorie McKinney award for fiction through the University of Missouri system. I am currently the editor of a local city magazine, Jefferson City Magazine, and I also am a regular freelance writer for publications such as Kansas City Homes & GardensSt. Louis Homes & Lifestyles and more.