Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

What I’ve Said No To Lately


It’s 6:30. I can finally start on my actual To Do list for the day. Oi.

Listening To:


Who says agents don’t read in December right before closing? My colleague Sara offered rep to two new clients right as we were closing. She landed them too! It happens. I’m not sure I added those to the Stats. I need to update.

Not to mention, I miscounted my NYT bestsellers. Oi! I forgot the Manga SOULLESS edition which hit #1 no less. Smack forehead.

But if you are curious, I read 16 sample pages the week before we closed. That’s a marathon for me.

And here’s a general idea of why I passed on all those requested submits:

— Really inventive retelling of a well-known fantasy storyline. I liked the writing but I didn’t love where the story went so wasn’t right for me.

— Author had recommend from current client. Read. Enjoyed the sentiment of the story but wasn’t won over so passed.

— Author soon to be published by one of the Big 6 publishers and looking for new rep. Thought the writing was lovely but this particular story didn’t engage me. I have a fairly full client list so I’m very conscious about who I would take on. I’d have to be in the place of “I’ll die if I don’t rep this.”

— a fellow agent who doesn’t rep anything in the children’s realm who sent this author my way. Obviously I’m going to read quickly. Story just wasn’t for me. Def. a taste thing.

— Another author previously repped but changing agents. Cool steampunk world but ultimately I couldn’t connect with the characters.

— Awesome fairy tale retelling/zombie story but alas, I thought it needed too big a revision.

— Author I met a conference. Some lovely writing for a historical novel but ultimately, too literary. I needed to be more plot-driven so wasn’t right for me.

— Current NLA author sent this writer my way. I found a lot to like with the submission. Great world building but it was a romance and I just didn’t feel the passion. Wouldn’t surprise me if this author landed with some other agent.

— Multicultural YA with an inventive premise. Fun but the setting didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

— Submission from a teen librarian and aspiring writer. Love that! This one was close but ultimately a no.

— Another previously published author. Arthur legend type set up. Was burned in the past on this kind of concept so would have been a hard push for me. Better for the author to have someone fresh on the job.

— MG fantasy. Crowded market. Well done but I didn’t think I could champion.

— So a previous work from this writer. I even remembered it. It was historical and a “new adult” work but I didn’t think it was right for me despite this becoming a hot trend.

— Multicultural dystopian with India as setting. Very cool! But having LEGEND by Marie Lu, I’m pretty careful on what I’ll take on for dystopia. But I can see this author getting some interest.

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13 Responses

  1. Tiana Smith said:

    Wow! It’s so interesting to get a peek at what you’re reading in the submission pile. And most of these sound intriguing, so it has to be hard to pass these authors up at times.

  2. Kameron said:

    New to the blog. Love these kinds of posts. Could use some clarification on what “MG” stands for in “MG Fantasy.” Thanks.

  3. Christine Dorman said:

    Thank you, Kristin. It always is interesting and helpful to read why submissions are either accepted or passed on.

    I’m curious about your comment on the Arthurian legend piece. I’m not writing anything like it, but I am a huge fan of anything to do with the legend. Are you saying there’s no market right now for a novel drawn from the legend? Given the tremendous popularity of the BBC series, Merlin, and the fact that the creators have chosen to end it at the height of its popularity, I would think there might be an audience out there looking to get their Arthurian fix.

  4. B. Gonz said:

    Referring to the Arthurian Lit comment: I too want to know about the rejection. You mentioned something about being “burned.” I always enjoy a good Arthurian spin off. Loved the Merlin series. Is the concept of Arthur just overdone, you think?

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