Welcome to the Thrillerfest V Blog!

We hope you'll bookmark us, just as you bookmark so many of the hundreds of the International Thriller Writers that participate in our annual conference, held in New York City in July.

ITW is a youthful organization, always ready for a new way of looking at things. You'll find that dynamism here, in blog posts from authors, agents, editors and Thrillerfest attendees, past and present.

And that same excitement you feel from your favorite reads is evident in everything ITW does, and no wonder--the organization, staffing and publicity for ThrillerFest--including this new blog--is undertaken by volunteers, most of whom are ITW authors themselves.

So pull up a chair and stay awhile ... discover the latest news on what Thrillerfest V--the fifth anniversary of the conference--has to offer. Visit old friends, make new ones, ask questions, and hear about the remarkable things in store for the conference.

Whether or not you can come see us in New York--and we hope that you can!--please join us here. It's gonna be ... a thriller!

Kelli Stanley, Thrillerfest Publicity Committee Chair

Thrillerfest Publicity Committee:
Jeannie Holmes
CJ Lyons
Carla Buckley
Grant McKenzie

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pitching An Agent Part II-The Screeching Halt

Okay, here I go again being upbeat about the agent pitching process and rejection. Last week I wrote about my take on the painful pitching process. This week I would like to write about another aspect that I see only too often-what I call the “screeching halt.” It’s when the writer gets a detailed rejection from an agent, and then never contacts that agent again.
Whenever an unpublished writer explains this scenario to me, and it’s more often than you would imagine, I usually respond with “Huh? That’s it? You get a letter explaining what didn’t work and you don’t follow up? What’s up with that?”
It is at this stage that the writer begins speaking in slow, measured tones, as if I am deaf and not quite getting the gist of the conversation. The writer says something usually along the lines of, “Um, I just said he rejected me. He doesn’t like it. End of story.”
This response on the part of the writer baffles me to no end. I understand it in regards to form rejections, those are not worth a follow up, you're best just moving on, but a one page typewritten letter with specific critiques? That's quite different. Here’s this hardworking agent, snowed under with piles of paper all around, who could have easily hit the “no” form letter and lighten his load, but instead takes the time to give some feedback, and what does he get? Nothing. No “Thanks, I’ll think about what you said,” no, “How about I rewrite those sections and you take another look?” or even just, “Thanks for your time, I love it the way it is, but should anything change I’ll take another look with your thoughts in mind.”
Detailed rejection letters are gold. They are often some of the first words from a professional in the industry about a new writer’s manuscript. You may not like them, you may not agree with them, but you should, at the very least, acknowledge them with gratitude. And my guess is, if you’re like me and strive to read the words with an open mind, you just may find some of them are correct. And if you do, just revise it, write a letter to the agent explaining that you took their words to heart, and ask to resubmit. Nine times out of ten they’ll say yes, reread it, and with any luck you’ll be on your way!
Another suggestion: if the detailed rejection comes right before Agentfest, and you know that agent will be attending, do your very best to acknowlege their work in person. It always helps to put a face with a name. A handshake and a "thanks for the letter. I'm looking the manuscript over with an eye toward your suggestions. May I send it again when I'm finished?" That's what Thrillerfest is about, meeting and greeting. It's a lot of fun.
I'd be interested to hear views from other authors and agents on this subject. Specifically, if you're an author who's been rejected initially, did you ever resubmit with success? If an agent, do you accept resubmissions? Am I leading the unpublished astray here? Thanks in advance!

Jamie Freveletti
Running from the Devil
May 5th

1 comment:

  1. It was great to read your comments. I have received a number of personal letters from agents praising my novel (an international intrigue set in modern China) even as they rejected it. I sent notes thanking them, but---as ridiculous as it sounds, now, after reading your posting---I never thought to offer to rewrite in line with their comments. I will in the future, however, and will consider going back to those agents who took the time to reject with comments---thanks to you comments.