Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, April 13, 2009

Be An Agent for a Day: Query #13

This query is part of the Be an Agent for a Day contest. Rules and Regulations here

Please post your rejection or manuscript request in the comment section!



Dear Agent for a Day,

When Penn Ellesworth takes a summer college job looking for endangered Biscuit Owls in southwestern Colorado, her purpose is simply to save the world, as she proudly tells her crewmates. However, her fear of the dark soon collides with her desperate desire to do good, and she starts to make mistakes. She hits a cow with the work truck in the middle of the night, and lies to their boss, Charlene Van Holt, to cover it up. She pursues a friendship with Charlene’s dangerously unstable brother, a failing rancher with grudges of his own. Finally, and most irrevocably, she falls in love with her owl-obsessed crew boss, Nick Unser. Nick persuades her to use her connections with Charlene and her brother to restore critical habitat for the Biscuit Owl—work that can only be done by fire. Will Penn commit arson, even murder, in her quest to be true to her ideals and take action for an environmental cause?

Burning Down the Ranch is a 100,000-word literary novel that should appeal to readers of Barbara Kingsolver and Pam Houston. It features smart, tough women who aren’t afraid to put themselves on the line to fight for their beliefs, yet are still beset with tricky relationship issues.

Since receiving my MFA in 2003, I’ve published stories in several journals, including the Ontario Review, the North American Review, West Branch, and SEED Science Magazine (annual fiction issue). My work has won honors in the Atlantic Monthly Student Fiction Contest and NAR’s Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize, and been nominated for Best American Voices and a Pushcart Prize. Burning Down the Ranch is my first novel.

I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year now, and it’s one of my favorite sources of inspiration and information about the publishing process. As per the instructions on your website, I am pasting the first five pages of my novel to the end of this email.

Thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Author


Burning Down the Ranch

Chapter I
This is the summer that Charlene Van Holt will burn down her brother’s ranch, but no one knows that yet, not even Charlene, so the owlers can be excused for their ignorance. It’s June, 1993, and the three have them have only just started: this is their very first night out alone. They’re setting up camp on the Tenderfoot finger mesas, on the opposite side of Stickleback County from the Van Holt family ranch, and they can hardly believe their good luck. They’re being paid to hike the woods at night, hooting like an owl and writing down what hoots back. “It’s like we lucked into some job lottery or something,” says Penn, the girl, hooking her honey hair behind one ear and letting her gear slide to the ground.
“Except for the whole pay part,” Bo answers. “Twelve dollars a day is hardly the lottery.” He fingers his Discman, which could stand to be replaced but won’t be, not this summer.
“We got what we need, though,” adds Nick, the oldest at twenty-three. “Shelter, enough to buy food—“
“Not much of it.”
“—a vehicle. The tools to do our job.”
Charlene would approve of Nick’s argument. It was her idea a decade ago to meet the new wildlife survey requirements with volunteer crews. Sure, they’re less experienced, but inexperience has the side benefit of being less likely to find something inconvenient. So Lenny, her head biologist, started to put out a little advertisement in college internship bulletins every spring, and ten years later, here they are. The Biscuit Owl is what they’re looking for this year; up from the Electric Eagle, the Two-Tailed Frog, and the Trumpet-Nosed Bat. But this is all history to the owlers, who know nothing more of it than anything else. They probably couldn’t even pick Charlene Van Holt, their boss’s boss, out of a crowd. But she wouldn’t hold that against them.
“Another tick!” Penn exclaims, and flicks one off her arm.
“Nice. Free to infest one of us. The thing to do is kill it,” says Bo.
“I know.”
“But you just can’t bring yourself to.” Bo’s voice is a little singsongy, like he’s imitating an imitation of her.
“I know. I need to get into the killing mode. I know,” she says, trying not to rise to the bait, if this is a bait. She still isn’t quite sure what to do with herself, the lone girl in the boys’ club. She goes off to set up her tent.
“She’s such a chick,” complains Bo to Nick when she’s out of earshot.
Nick shrugs. “It’ll be good for us,” he says, as he gets out the Coleman stove. He’s on dinner duty tonight. “Keep us from turning into total wild men.”
“But that’s the thing,” Bo says. “I want to be a wild man this summer. Grizzly Adams, man! Let my beard grow! Sleep on the ground! Bathe in the streams!”
Nick raises one eyebrow as he pumps up the stove, twenty vigorous strokes, just like the label pasted on the little red tank instructs. Bo seems an unlikely candidate for a Grizzly Adams wannabe. His T shirt is probably the single newest object in the entire camp. His blond hair is freshly cut and Nick could have sworn he heard him blow-drying it this morning in the community bathroom.
It’s their first night out together alone. Last week Lenny came out with them—a total weenie about everything, Bo complained, wouldn’t let them so much as go take a piss in the dark by themselves—and the week before that was training, everything from how to identify a Biscuit Owl from among the sixteen or so other owls found in southwestern Colorado to how to save your crewmate if he is choking on his dinner. They had diversity training, too, and sexual harassment training. The latter is a new thing, instituted this year after a lawsuit two districts over, but once again, the owlers don’t know that. They don’t even know that this is the last year the federal government will pony up for an owl crew.
The permanents call the seasonal crews Charlene’s Minions: the ignorant legions that do her bidding. Not that the permanents don’t do her bidding, of course. They just grumble about it.
As Bo goes off to set up the guys’ tent, Nick fills a battered aluminum pot with water from the five-gallon jug, and organizes his supplies as the flames leap up from the burner. Two boxes of macaroni and cheese. A can of tuna. A can of green beans. He checks them carefully, lifts them up and puts them back down, box, box, can, tin pot with water waiting for the flame on the stove to settle down to a nice blue burn.
Nick Unser, from Cheboygan, Michigan, is tall but narrow, with beetle-dark hair that licks and crawls around his scalp and a formality that intimidates the other two. When the summer is over he is going back to East Lansing to finish up his senior year at Michigan State University. He will return the way he came: two days to make the 1540-mile drive to Colorado. His only major stop was in Nebraska, where he parked his Corolla beside a cornfield and slept on the ground. For two days he lived on beef jerky and Coke. This is his way; he didn’t think anything of it. When he told the other two, though, they stared at him like he’d said he rode freight trains out here. Nick is finding this to be a common reaction: he does something he thinks is normal and other people treat him like he’s flown to the moon.
He turns down the flame with a deft hand, then sets the pot above it, opens the cardboard boxes and dumps in the clicking noodles. Instantly the smell of dry noodles wafts across the mesa top; then the smell of dry noodles taking in the boiling water and beginning to plump. He takes out a pocket knife and jabs at each can until he can pry off the lid, then pours the metallic-smelling beans and the salty tuna into the noodles, water and all. He bends back the jagged metal lids into the cans, crams them into one macaroni box and one box into the other, then goes back to scanning the deepening land.
The owler’s camp stove, the five-gallon water jug, their tents, their compasses, even their water bottles are all marked with the letters A-R-G. The Agency for Remnant Ground, they could tell you now. Two weeks before their tongues tangled and they couldn’t quite remember what the letters stood for; after two weeks of training, however, they’ve at least learned the basic fact of Stickleback County: the ARG. Eighty percent of the county is managed by the Department of the Interior via Charlene Van Holt and sixty percent of the workforce belongs to her. Which is why the new and persistent rumor that Congress, via Charlene, intends to sell off ARG land to the highest bidder has the county shaking in its boots.
But as usual, the owlers are unaware. As far as they are concerned, the ARG has always been here and will always be here.
“You got boilage there, Nick-o,” says Bo, coming back around the government Bronco. As he passes its windows he quickly glances at his reflection, adjusting the bandana he’s tied over his hair.
“Working on the Grizzly Adams thing already?” Nick asks.
Bo doesn’t quite hear the sarcasm. “I thought I’d start with hippie, and move up.”
Bo Riggs. He told them on the first day that he was from California; when Penn said she was from Ohio, Bo said he’d lived there, too; apparently he’s also lived in Michigan, although Nick hasn’t been able to pin down where. The guy’s kind of a chameleon, or a poser, or something. But he’s also quick to figure what needs to be done. Nick will give him credit for that, and it’s a big credit. If you’re out in the woods, you’ve got to be able to rely on your crew. Bo set up the tent without being asked and right now all Nick needs to say is, “Dishes?” and Bo is rattling in the cooler, pulling out the aluminum plates that the ARG bought during the Ford administration and polishing them on his shirt.
“Fucking dust,” he says.
“Better get used to it. I think it’s Grizzly Adams’ fifth food group.”
“It’s fucking everywhere. In my very ass crack, dude. Worse than a day at the beach.” He’s set up the plates on the cooler, a stack of plates, a handful of forks, and just before they hear a step coming around the Bronco and Penn appears, he farts. He reddens only slightly and says, “Did I hear one of those flatulated owls?”
“Flammulated owl, Bo,” corrects Penn. “Did you hear one?”
There’s an awkward silence, then Bo says, with only a slight twisted glance at Nick, “Uh, I thought I did.”
“Man, I miss all the best stuff,” Penn says, going to get a plate. “Thanks for the dinner here, Nick.”
Not so sure about this one, thinks Nick. In a crisis, could you rely on her? He decides to be charitable and give her the benefit of the doubt, but also to not maybe place his life in her hands. He smiles at her politely.

STATS: 3% request rate






344 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 344   Newer›   Newest»
Sophie W. said...

Dear Author of Burning Down the Ranch,

Although your work shows merit, I cannot request further materials at this time. It reminds me far too much of the MG novel, HOOT. Keep in mind that this business is terribly subjective, and you'll probably get the chance to thumb your nose at me in the future.

Love,

Sophie

Bane of Anubis said...

Dear Author,

Thanks for submitting your story, but it's not for me. Best of luck,

Bane

(reasoning: query has too much personal info; writer seems capable to good; opening line has hook, but too much line; paramountly, not my field of interest)

hannah said...

Dear Author,

Your query sounds intriguing, but I'm afraid I wasn't drawn to the voice of the story. Best of luck elsewhere!

hannah

AgentMan said...

Sorry, not something I'd be interested in. Best of luck.

Chanelley said...

Thank you for submitting your query. Unfortunately, it is not what I’m looking for at this time. However, do continue to query widely. After all, it does only take one agent to say yes!
All the best,
Agent for the day

EJ Lange said...

Author,

Thank you for submitting your query. Unfortunately, it is not right for me at this time.

Agent Erin

Megan said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, your book isn't right for me. The concept intrigued me, but the opening pages did not capture me. Agenting is subjective, though, and I wish you the best of luck!

Sincerely,
Megan

Anonymous said...

Wait, didn't you say "It features smart, tough women who aren’t afraid to put themselves on the line to fight for their beliefs"

Yet she kills a cow and flees?
And she falls for the brother who's a jerk?

Alas, this too I shall pass,
but I did kinda like your voice.
(the pages didn't sway me though)

Agent XXX

Please Nathan, let's do this more often.

Matilda McCloud said...

Thanks for your query. I'm afraid I'll have to pass on this one.

Keep writing!

With my very best regards,

Matilda McCloud

Derek said...

Dear Author,

Your work shows some promise but isn't quite there yet for me. Thank you, but I'll pass.

Agent For A Day.

JuJu said...

Dear Author,

Though your work is promising, the writing just isn't appealing to me, I'm afraid I will have to pass.

Best wishes,

JuJu

lesleylsmith said...

Dear Author,
Thank you for your query letter.
Unfortunately, your novel is not a good fit for me.
Good luck!
-Lesley
p.s. This shows some promise, but I've read several similar stories. Also how is a "strong woman" afraid of the dark?

reader said...

Pass.

Sorry, while I enjoy novels set in the west/Rocky mountains, this didn't hold my interest.


(For my fellow Agents for a Day -- I'm thinking where your query falls in the line of queries has a lot to do with it -- while I was reading this query, my mind was still entranced with the last query #10, which I requested a partial of. For that fact alone, I pretty much skimmed this query, didn't read with care.)

Anonymous said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, it's not right for me at this time.

Best regards,
Agent for a Day

[Why is she studying owls if she's so afraid of the dark? How does her fear of the dark compel her to get involved with the boss and the unstable rancher? The premise just doesn't make enough sense for me to even read the sample pages.]

TheDivaAgent said...

Dear Author,

Young heroines exist in four places: true crime/non-fiction, romances, young adult novels, and middle grade novels.

Yes, I know that's technically five, but I don't care. I'm paid to be a diva, not a bean counter.

Toodles,

The Diva Agent

Scott said...

Dear Author,

I'm sorry, but this just isn't right for me. Keep writing, and good luck.

Scott


(reason): save the world one burned down ranch at a time? That doesn't really make any sense, to me, and I LOVE owls.

I can't say I like the main character too much, and I'm not sure how her being afraid of the dark aids the plot. It may, I just don't see it here.

Kitti said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. I regret to inform you that I am going to have to pass on this, but please keep me in mind for your future projects.

Best of luck,
Kitti

Monika said...

Thank you for your submission, but I do not think this project is right us. This is a subjective business and other agencies will feel differently. We wish you every success with your project.

[Liked the query, but the first page had too much narrative and too many characters.]

ai-hua said...

Query showed merit--writing bogged down after a few screens (though it started so well!) If there hadn't been pages, I would have requested the manuscript--but I guess the author saved us both the time. Rejected with personal note.

Anonymous said...

Interesting - I rather liked the query (though not sure it is a literary novel) but the pages need some work. I didn't like the voice. I think there is something odd going on with the tenses.

Melina said...

Dear Author,

I think the first line of your story should be interesting/captivating. It should leave me wanting more, but it didn't. All I wanted was to stop reading.

Good luck,

Melina

Keri Ford said...

Thank you for submitting, but unfortunately I didn’t connect with this story idea.

Good Luck,
Keri

<><><><><><><>
She would know BEFORE she started studying owls that she's afraid of the dark. The fact that she's off to study them sets off my big blinking warning sign of a possible TSTL Heroine.

Onovello said...

Dear Author:

Many thanks for your query and sample pages. While I'm not sufficiently enthusiastic about the project to request it, I know another agent will feel differently.

With best wishes for your success in finding representation for your work,

Onovello

PurpleClover said...

Dear Author:

Thank you for thinking of me but I didn't feel like the hook was strong enough for me. I will pass.

Regards,
PC

scj said...

Sorry, but not for me. The story sounds interesting, but the writing in the sample pages did not draw me in enough. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Muckraker:

Form rejection.

reason: first paragraph is written in some strange tense form by an omniscient narrator who knows the future. Also redundant: if no one knows it will happen, certainly Charlene doesn't either. If she knew, she probably would choose not to burn down her brother's ranch. Dialog seems like the "as you know" type, to impart information to the reader that the characters already know. It gets worse from there.

Owl Sprite said...

Dear Author,

Thank you very much for sending me your query for "Burning Down the Ranch." You have an interesting premise and your writing shows promise.

However, I think that the structure of the novel would be better if we didn't know in advance what was going to happen. I would like to suggest that you re-work the story from that angle, and try to build more tension into the character's decision to do something so drastic.

Best wishes, and keep writing!

kdrausin said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for requesting my representation. I applaud your determination and effort in completing your novel. Your story is not right for me at this time; however I encourage you to keep writing and pursuing excellence in your craft.

I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

Warm Regards, KDrausin

Karen said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. I am afraid I must pass on this project.

On a personal note, though, I would like to say that sometimes grammar choices are artistic and sometimes they are just bad. The grammar in the beginning of your novel really draws a reader out of the story. It might behoove you to take another look at those choices.

Best of luck.
Karen

jimnduncan said...

Thank you for querying, but I'm afraid I must pass on your story. Best of luck in your continued writing endeavors.

(Reason: I didn't find the story compelling)

Agent X said...

Dear Author,

This is one of those letters I loathe to write as an agent, because it's clear that you write well and you have marketable ideas.

Subjectively, however, the material in BURNING DOWN the RANCH is not something I feel I could zealously represent, as it would deserve.

I have no doubt that you will be snatched up quickly, and I truly do wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely,

Agent X

Chuck H. said...

Dear Author,

Sorry to say this didn't grab me. Good luck in your search for representation.

Sincerely,

Chuck

(Hard to follow explanation of what book is about, right length and excellent--if real--credentials. All killed by an apparent typo in fourth line of sample pages. Format.)

Nixy Valentine said...

Dear Author:

I'm sorry, but this isn't for me.

Notes: I felt your hook paragraph was too long and trying to do too much. Make it shorter and cleaner. The rest of the query was well written.

Megan said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, I will have to pass at this time.

Best,

Meg Spencer

Rick Daley said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your interest in The Authors Write Literary Agency. I have reviewed your query for Burning Down the Ranch, and I’m sorry to say that I do not feel that I am the best agent to represent your work at this time.

Please keep in mind that there are many talented agents out there, and opinions are subjective based on individual preferences, workload, and market climate.

Don’t be afraid to research other agents and query those that you feel are best suited to represent your work. Best of luck!

Regards,

Daley Agent for a Day

Thomas said...

Dear Author:

Thank you for your submission, but your book is not appropriate for my current needs. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,
Tally

Cat Hellisen said...

Dear Author

Thank you for your query.  Your proposal is interesting, but I don't feel that the project is quite right for me. I wish you the best of luck in finding representation elsewhere.

Best,
Cat.

David de Beer said...

Dear Author,

there's promise in the writing here but I don't feel that I'll be the most suitable candidate to represent this project. I'm afraid I'll have to pass.

Best of luck,
David de Beer

DeadlyAccurate said...

Dear Author:

Thank you for your query and I apologize for this form reply.

I regret I have to pass on many interesting projects due to time constraints. I wish you the best of luck in securing representation elsewhere.


Sincerely,

DeadlyAccurate

Superfast said...

Thank you so much for your submission. Unfortunately, I don't feel I'm the right agent to represent your work.

Good luck and keep writing!

DCS said...

I'm afraid I will not be asking to see pages. best of luck.

quixotic said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission, however, I do not feel excited enough about this story to request anything further.

Good luck in your search for an agent.

Quixotic

brian_ohio said...

Thank you for your query. I'm afraid this isn't right for me.

Best,

Brian

KC in SF said...

Thank you for your query, it as well written. While you are clearly a talented writer, I don't think my interest in this particular project would make me the best person to represent your work. Please consider me in querying your next project.

best wishes,

KC in SF

jjdebenedictis said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your recent query; discovering new talent is one of the joys of being a literary agent, and I am always honoured to have the opportunity to read a writer's best work.

Please accept my regrets, however, as I won't be offering to represent this novel. I apologize for informing you of this using a form letter, but the volume of mail I receive makes it impractical for me to give personalized rejections.

I wish you the very best luck in finding a literary agent whose enthusiasm will bring your book the success it deserves!

Sincerely,
J. J. DeGoblin

~~~~~~~
For your reference, here are the most common reasons why I decline certain queries. Please note that if your submission was very good, my reasons for rejecting it were probably much subtler than the items on this list and cannot be put quickly into words. Again, I apologize for this form letter, but I cannot invest the time to critique those submissions I have chosen to not represent. Thank you for your understanding.


Most common reasons why I decline manuscripts:

[ ]--The manuscript is in a genre which I don't represent

[ ]--The query appears to be a non-personalized mass mailing

[ ]--The query/manuscript's presentation was worryingly unpolished
(E.g. Many spelling, grammar, punctuation or homophone errors; a non-standard format)

[ X ]--The writing doesn't seem polished enough
(This improves with practice; your next novel may be excellent)

[ X ]--The plot doesn't sound compelling enough
(Again, this improves with practice and self-education)

[ ]--The plot sounds too similar to something book-buyers have already seen


Comments, if any:
The query doesn't effectively explain what the protagonist's conflicts or internal journey are. I also found your pages too often "tell" rather than "show", and I didn't find your writing voice compelling enough for today's literary fiction market.

Dara said...

Dear Burning Down the Ranch,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately I do not think I am the right person for this book. I wish you success in your search for representation.

Best,

Dara

Specifics: I'm having a hard time understanding her fear of the dark and her ability to study owls. Read the opening pages and it didn't have the initial "spark" to keep me reading.

Jeni said...

Dear Burning,
Thank you for your query. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to review your proposal, and found the premise for your manuscript intriguing. However, I’m afraid that the manuscript does not meet my needs at this time. Please do continue to send your work to other agents, as someone else may feel differently.
Best of luck in your publishing endeavors,
Jeni

Lucy Ammunition said...

Wow, I really like jjdebenedictis's form rejection above.

It gives some info and then the agent can add a comment to it too if they want. Probably very helpful info.

And I spend all this time crafting individual replies that are more about me swimming through this growing pile of queries than the actual works.

Well done, jjdebenedictis!

Dear Author,

Sorry.

Lucy Ammunition
Fictitious Agent

Julie Weathers said...

Young heroines exist in four places: true crime/non-fiction, romances, young adult novels, and middle grade novels.

Yes, I know that's technically five, but I don't care. I'm paid to be a diva, not a bean counter.

Toodles,

The Diva Agent--

I would argue the point of young heroines being restricted to certain genres. Aside from that, the cavalier attitude would make me burn if I received this rejection.

I'm sure this rejection letter would soon be making the rounds of the "do not submit to" circuit.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author,

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to take a pass on your submission. Strong writing, great attention to detail, but I just don't find the story compelling.

Agent99

Dorine White said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. I'm afraid this isn't right for me.

Best regards,
Agent for a day

bridge said...

Dear Author,
Thank you for your query. Unfortunately it is not right for me at this time.
Sincerely,
Bridge

On a personal note, The beginning is too wordy. There is so much information that it is difficult to focus on the main story, is it going to be the romance? The odd brother? Conflicts with the boss? Arson charges? Environmentalism? Obviously since it is a literary novel it will have layers and won't be confined to one subject, but in the query I would try to pare it down a bit and then add more character voice to make it more intriguing.
Hope this helps.
Bridge

suki said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. I'm afraid this project isn't right for me. I wish you luck in your search for representation.

Regards,
Suki


Reasoning: While well-written, the query didn't hook me. Some of the protagonist's actions didn't seem logical, and her overall story doesn't seem compelling to me. The pages didn't draw me in. Also, as an aside, it didn't feel literary in tone or content to me. I wonder if there isn't a sellable story in the manuscript, though, that just needs further work and revision to bring forward and make compelling.

Lisa R said...

Dear Burning Down the Ranch:

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately your project is not right for me. Another agent may feel differently. Best of luck.

Lisa R

selestial-owg said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. At this time I will have to pass. Good luck in your search.

Selestial


Other than the threat to the owls, I simply don't feel there is enough at stake. The idea that the protag might commit murder (arson maybe, but murder?) to stay true to her ideals? I just didn't believe it. Additionally, I started reading, since the pages were there, but I wasn't immediately sucked in. Since the query didn't sell me, that's what it would take.

romoak said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission, but this is not right for me.

-- I don't get the plot, but I really think this is just my own personal taste.

ccallicotte4 said...

Thank you for sending me your query. I appreciate you considering me.

I reviewed your proposal and unfortunately am going to pass on representing it. Please keep in mind that this is a subjective business, and another agent may feel differently. I encourage you to query widely.

Best of luck to you.

[I was intrigued by the query, then less so by the pages.]

Jenn Johansson said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, I'm afraid this isn't right for me. I wasn't hooked.

Best of luck!
JR

Gryph said...

Dear Author,

Thank you very much for your query. While I appreciate the time and effort you've put into your work, I don't believe this is a good fit for me.

Please remember that what doesn't fit one agent may well fit another! I encourage you to not give up. In the future, if you have other manuscripts to query, I hope that you'll think of me again.

Sincerely,

Agent Gryph

Anonymous said...

The query is pretty well-written. But just doesn;t work for me. The whole idea of women being strong and still being beset by relationship problems also sounds like something that could potentially be very annoying. A more feminist hook would appeal to me more. I don;t like it when strong protagonists are undermined by men. So:


Dear author,
Your manuscript is just not right for me. Thanks for querying.

sincerely,
moniza

Eva Ulian said...

Unfortunately this is not my territory of interest, however with the right agent and the right audience, this shows potential. Good luck.

Christine Rose said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, but this isn't right for me at this time.

Best of luck,
Agent for a Day

Bija Andrew Wright said...

Sorry, this isn't the kind of thing I represent. Good luck.

Caroline said...

Dear Author:

The premise interested me, but you lost me on the sample pages. The voice of the story didn't draw me in, and I felt the present tense writing was awkward. Please consider revising and re-submitting at a later date.

Best of luck,

Agent Caroline

Melissa said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for sending me your query, but I don't think I'm the right agent for the book. Best of luck.

Melissa


Thoughts: The query is very good, but the tone of the sample doesn't quite work for me.

beth said...

Dear Author,

Although I appreciate your submission, I'm sorry but it just isn't for me. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Sincerely,
beth

(Reasoning: The description sounded like a MG/YA novel...when I saw 100k word literary novel, my eyebrow went up and I shut down.)

:)Ash said...

Dear Author:

Thank you for your interest in my agency. Unfortunately, I do not feel I am the right agent for you at this time. Best wishes as you continue your search.

Sincerely yours,

:)Ash

Casey said...

Dear Author:

Thank you for your time and consideration. Unfortunately, I’m afraid I’m not the right agent to represent this.

The first sentence turned me off to the rest of the query. I do not know what Biscuit Owls have to do with saving the world and it didn't compel me to find out. A good voice does come through though.

Best wishes,

Casey

Harsh Critic said...

You have good credentials, however, the owl stuff didn't intrigue me.

Sorry, not for me.

lilianamama said...

Dear Author:

Thank you for your interest in the "Be An Agent For a Day" contest. While I find your idea intriguing, I'm also confused. You have an owl researcher who's afraid of the dark? That set me up for so much disbelief, I had trouble moving forward. You might consider leaving that out of future query letters as it has no bearing on our understanding your story in this format. Also, I failed to understand how persuading "her to use her connections with Charlene and her brother to restore critical habitat for the Biscuit Owl" might result in her considering arson and murder. That's too much of a jump and I think you need more information.

While I'm sure there's a good novel behind the query letter, I believe I will pass for now.

I wish you well.

Ulysses said...

Thanks for submitting your query. Unfortunately, I don't feel I am the agent to represent this work.

sirayn said...

Dear X,

Thank you for your query. I’m afraid I have to pass, but I wish you luck in finding an agent who’s passionate about your work.

Today’s Agent

(Reasoning: finally a query with an active protagonist! Not my genre, however, and I was thrown by the query and the first pages having separate protagonists. Not particularly interested in owls and environmental stuff. I'm worried that a protagonist who loves owls enough to commit arson for them would be preachy and naive, with a crunchy side order of craziness.)

Chrissy said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission, but it isn't what Im looking for at this time. Good luck with your publishing endeavors.

Kiki

K. Andrew Smith said...

Dear author,

Thank you for your submission, Burning Down the Ranch. Unfortunately, it's not quite right for me. I wish you good fortune in your quest for an agent.

Sincerely,

K. Andrew Smith

John said...

Dear Author,

Thanks for giving me the chance to consider your work. Unfortunately, it's not something I think I can sell at present. I wish you the best of luck in your writing career.

The Classic Carol said...

Thanks for your query. It is our top priority to select what best matches our agency. We wish you success as you pursue an agent better suited to your work.

Cindy said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission, however it does not fit my needs at this time.

All the best,
Cindy

(I thought the query was well written and my have asked for more. The first several paragraphs of the story, however, did not draw me in. Perhaps some reworking on that would bring the manuscript to the next level.)

Cat said...

Dear Author,

thank you for submitting but it's not right for me.

Sincerely,
Cat

form rejection for personal reasons. It sounds interesting enough but I don't like it. The query was ok but the sample pages just didn't pull me in.

Vicky said...

Thank you for thinking of our agency. Unfortunately this project is not right for us.

Best wishes.

Amy said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for thinking of me, your novel Burning Down the Ranch sounds interesting but it's not for me at this time.

Good luck with your search for an agent.

Kind regards,

amyandnick

(Dear Author - This sentence doesn't entice me: When Penn Ellesworth takes a summer college job looking for endangered Biscuit Owls in southwestern Colorado, her purpose is simply to save the world, as she proudly tells her crewmates.
Because: Saving owls saves the world? It seemed too dramatic. I'm rejecting this more on the query than the idea, which I think is interesting. Good luck!)

Laura said...

Dear Author,

While I'm intrigued by your writing style, the subject matter is not a good fit for me.

Best of luck,

Agent Laura

JSB said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, but this is not a good fit for me. Good luck with other agents.

Thanks,
JSB

(I think present tense is hard to do well and unless done very well isn't something I could see representing.)

sraasch said...

Dear Author,

Sorry, just not my genre!

Thanks!
Sara

Belinda Frisch said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. However, I am not able to offer representation at this time.

Best Wishes,
Belinda

Craven said...

Thank you for consideration, but this isn't right for me at this time.

Best of luck, Craven

Rick said...

Author-

Sorry, but this doesn't seem like it's up my alley.

If you have not already, you may want to check out AgentQuery. It can help you find an Agent who best suits your needs.

http://www.agentquery.com/

Sincerely,
Rick O

Brian Crawford said...

Thank you for sending me your work. Unfortunately, I must reject it. Don’t feel bad; I receive about 2,000 queries per week, and reject 99.99% of them. Assume I’m wrong about you. Don’t give up. In the meantime, increase your chances of success by downloading my e-book, “Kick-ass Queries,” available on my website for only $199.99.

Ethan Rose said...

I was actualy interested enough to begin reading the manuscript , but not enough to continue past the gramatical error in the second sentence. If you can't be bothered to proof read your own manuscript then why should I?

Amy said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission. Your query is well-written, but I'm going to have to pass.

Sincerely,
Amy

Madison said...

Dear Author,

Thank you so much for submitting your work and considering me to represent it. While the story sounds quite interesting, I am afraid it does not fit my list at this point in time and I must regretfully pass. I know rejections can be hard to take, but please keep submitting and following your dream.

Best of luck in your agent hunt!

Sincerely,

Madison

Reason for rejection: Storyline sounds sloppy. It is disjointed and not ready for querying.

Moth said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting your query to Moth's Literary Agency. While your story sounds interesting, I'm afraid it's just not right for us. Best of luck in your writing career.

Sincerely,
Moth

Lois Lavrisa said...

Dear Author,

While I appreciate your consideration of our agency, I will have to pass on your project.

I am sorry to say I did not have the passionate response to it that I would need to request more or offer you representation.

Obviously you want an agent who will stand enthusiastically behind your work.

Additionally, given today’s publishing climate I do not believe I would be able to get you the attention from a publisher that your book deserves.

Publishing is very subjective, though, and another agent may well feel differently.

I do wish you success in finding representation and, once again, thank you for the opportunity to consider your work.

Sincerely,

Lois Lavrisa
Agent for a day

Anonymous said...

Dear Author

Thank you for your recent letter concerning your work. I am afraid that we are not enthusiastic enough about your work to pursue it further.

We wish you the best of luck in finding suitable representation.

Sincerely
The Fake Agency

EMC07 said...

Dear Author,
Thank you for your submission. The story is appealing, but doesn't draw me in enough. I don't get a unique voice from this. The biscuit owl bit is interesting. I will have to pass at this time.

Sincerely,
emc

Steve Axelrod said...

Sorry this is a pass. No query should ever contain the words: "Finally, and most irrevocably, she falls in love with her owl-obsessed crew boss", and the heavy handed forshadowing of your opening sentence made it clear to me that I wasn't the right gent for this manuscript.

Tamara said...

Dear Author of Burning Down the Ranch,

Thank you for your query. I wish you the best of luck finding a home for this project, but after consideration, I have to say it's not for me.

Best wishes,
Agent for a Day
(Tamara)

The Writers Canvas said...

Thanks for your query, but it's not right for me at this time. Best of luck to you in your writing endeavors!

Elaine

(I thought the conflict could be stepped up a notch or two. It exists, but it didn't feel like it tugged me into the story.)

Ramen with cheese said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for allowing RJM Agency to consider your work, but I’m afraid it’s not a good fit for our list. We wish you every bit of luck in your search for representation.

RJM

Jenn S. said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. It's not right for me, but please keep me in mind for future submissions.

Regards,
Jenn S.


(Reason: I want to like Penn in a vaguely Bridget Jones sort of way, but the story doesn't make sense to me. Does she know that owls are nocturnal, meaning she'll have to be out in the dark for the whole summer? Arson makes some sense in the context of the story, but murder--where is the danger coming from? Is Charlene really that powerful? The story doesn't really grab me by the throat, though I wanted it to.

The voice might appeal to me after some polishing. Present tense can be exhausting over the length of the novel; perhaps experiment with past tense. Plus, I wanted to immediately meet Penn; having the first few pages narrated by Nick or an omniscient narrator didn't pull me in.)

Nik said...

Thank you for your query, but I'm going to pass at this time.

Reasoning: I'm unclear how looking for owls is going to save the world, but more than that the blurb details almost too much of the seemingly smaller points of the story rather than hitting the crucial answers of why she's doing this and what's at stake if she fails.

Getabo Publishing said...

I like the opening premise and lots of threads, internal conflict and a slightly unusual setting. I love the hook - "Will Penn commit arson, even murder, in her quest to be true to her ideals and take action for an environmental cause?"

I think the query is strong.

You include length, audience, your MFA and writing credentials. You aso personalise the query.

Sadly, there's a typo in the second line of the submitted pages, where I would stop reading if I were a busy, 50-queries-a-day agent - and I would reject it on that basis alone.

(It’s June, 1993, and the three HAVE them have only just started...)

But that is a really easy thing to fix, so I hope you can and get represented if you're not already!

***
Thank you for your query. Unfortunately we do not think that your book would be a likely prospect for our list.

We regret that the large number of submissions we receive makes it impossible to offer individual comment. We believe it is more important to read and evaluate every query / submission we receive with due consideration.

We appreciate you thinking of Getabo Creative Publishing, and wish you the best of luck with your manuscript and future writing endeavors.

Sincerely.
The Editors
Getabo Creative Publishing

Hilabeans said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission and for reading my blog.

I appreciate the opportunity to consider your work. Regrettably, I don’t feel that I’m the most appropriate agent for this project.

Best wishes,

HHS

Cat Moleski said...

Dear Author,
Thank you for your query, unfortunately, I must pass on your project at this time.

Cat

Barb said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission, but this is not for me. I wish you luck in finding a home for your manuscript.

All the best,
Barb

Kristi said...

Thank you for your query. I feel this isn't quite right for me but I wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely,
Kristi

bookshop said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your recent submission. While your premise shows strength, I am unsure your story currently fits what I can sell in this particular genre. I do wish you luck in your search for representation. Should you choose to make revisions, please feel free to query me again at a later date.

Regards,

Bookshop

super agent nicole said...

Dear Author,

thank you for taking the time to submit your query. Unfortunately, at this time I will have to pass. The premise sounds interesting and I would encourage you to keep looking for an agent, but the story did not resonate with me.

Thank you,
Nicole

Cassandra said...

Dear Author,

I'm afraid that at this time I am unable to offer representation for your novel. This is purely a business decision, and unfortunately means that we must turn away many talented individuals. I encourage you to continue querying agents you think might be interested.

I appreciate your interest in Agent for A Day, and wish you every success in your writing career.



Regards,
Cassandra

bookshop said...

OH no, I posted and forgot the second half of my comment! Bad agent-writing-off-the-record!

__________

(Hi! okay, so here is my major problem with your query. I think your story might be a very good one, but the downfall of this query is TONE.

Your overall voice is subtly wry - it's very dry and straightforward in a way that suggests irony. The fact that the first thing our intrepid environmentalist does is RUN OVER A COW AHAHA supports this interpretation. Cows = AUTOMATIC FUNNY, it is a law. Dead cows = still automatic funny, especially when they're dead because a tree-hugger hellbent on saving the world runs over them in the dark! :D Another big pitch for irony is her "owl-obsessed boss", which is not the typical way you hear a romantic lead described!

But there are bunches of things that contradict the impression formed above: "making mistakes," "dangerously unstable," "work by fire," and then - woah, MURDER? where did that come from?

What this does is create an uncertainty for me as a reader because I start out laughing and then I'm confused about whether I was supposed to laugh, and then there are OWL LIVES AT STAKE and I feel like a *heel* for laughing, and - !

What I'm saying is that the tone of the query needs to match/convey the tone of your story. If it's a black comedy, then make sure to keep the end comic as well throw in some ironic quips about the environmental movement's new scorched earth policy, or something. Leave out the idealism in the 2nd paragraph because that doesn't fit.

If it's meant to be more dramatic/literary, then (seriously) leave out cows and just mention an accident. Play up the stakes involved because of that accident, and what the stakes are for *her*, not the owls, if she fails (which you should do anyway, but especially if you're trying to convey a sense of heightened drama).

All in all, I would possibly have requested pages on this if the tone had clued me in a little bit more on how I was supposed to feel about the story. Was I supposed to laugh, cry, a little of both? Then try to make me do that in the query itself. I'm sure you can. :)

Good luck! )

Tryst888 said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting your query but I'm afraid I will have to pass on this one. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

Steph said...

Dear You,

Thanks for querying, but I'm going to have to pass. I didn't think the stakes were high enough from reading your query, and while your sample pages showed promise, they ultimately were not enough to make me want to see further.

Remember opinions vary greatly in this business (et al) and you should query widely. Best of luck!

Steph

Miss Lily said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for allowing me to read this query, but it's not right for me. Best of luck, and please keep me in mind for future projects.

Lily

Reason: Not for me. Literary novel. That kinda bugs me.

Endless Secrets said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, unfortuanely it does not suit my need at this time.

Best of luck

-Lea

Dawn G. said...

Dear Author,

Unfortunately, I am unable to offer you representation at this time. I did enjoy your query letter, however, the first paragraph of the novel did not hold my attention as I hoped it would.

Thank you for submitting your work for consideration. Please keep me in mind for future projects.

Kindest Regards,

D. Agent

Heather said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, but it's not for me.

Good luck!
Heather

KathyF said...

Dear Author of Query #13,

Thank you for your query, but BURNING DOWN THE RANCH isn't right for me.

KathyF

Kristine Overbrook said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, but it’s not what we are looking to represent at this time.

Please work on showing rather than telling the story. You show talent and I hope you will continue to work on your writing.

Thank you,
Agent F A Day

Josephine Damian said...

form rejection.

Gwen said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, this project is not a good fit for me at the present time.

Regards,

Gwen

***

(Side note: interesting premise, but unfortunately upon reading the attached chapter, I realised that the project was not for me. I found the confusion of tenses difficult to overcome, and so I pass with regret.)

SammyStewart said...

Form Rejection. I want more suspense.

sKim said...

Thank you for sending this original excerpt. We regret that it doesn't suit our needs at this time. Best of luck to you.

Dana said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately I am not interested in representing this novel.

Regards,

Dana

Reasons: I wasn't a fan of the writing style and the plot and characters seem a little thin. Not totally believable

Megan said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for taking the time to submit.

I regret to inform you that at this time I would like to pass on your book.

Although it sounds like it has some potential, I can't really connect with the characters; nor do I find myself wanting to know more.

Thanks for sending in your material.

Best of luck in the future,

Regards,
Agent for a Day, Bookworm Megs

Agent KES said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting your query. Unfortunately, I am not able to offer you representation at this time. Best of luck,

Agent KES

dhole said...

Dear Author, thanks for your query. Unfortunately, it's not right for my list, best of luck, etc.

Kavanaugh and Byrne's LA said...

Dear Author

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your work at Kavanaugh and Byrne’s Literary Agency.

We do not feel that are the best match with this project.
We wish you every success with this and other ventures

Flower Kavanaugh

wickerman said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. I am afraid I must reject this at this time. Burning Down the Ranch shows promise, but I am afraid I was not hooked by the sample pages.


Best of luck,


The Wickerman

Cookie Eater, Bransford Lit

Horserider said...

Dear Author:

Thank you for allowing us to consider your work. I’m sorry to say that this is not something we are interested in at this time. We receive hundreds of submissions every week and, unfortunately, cannot take them all on. This is a very subjective business and I wish you luck on your journey to publication.

Sincerely,

Horserider Literary Agency

Kelly Guentner said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for the query. Your voice is intriguing, but ultimately this novel is not for me.

I wish you luck in your future writing career.

Sincerely,
Kelly Guentner

Gregory said...

Dear Author;

Form rejection.

Cordially,

Agent Gregory

[Hook doesn't endear me to the character. Rhetorical questions are a turn-off. Query is pretty wordy. The writing is better, but not quite up to par. More showing, less telling would help.]

Tara Ryan said...

Dear Author,
Thank you so much for submitting your work to me. Unfortunately, Burning Down the Ranch is not a good fit for me at this time. I wish you much luck in your writing endeavors.
Agent-for-a-day

StrugglingToMakeIt said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for querying me. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm the right agent to represent your work.

Best,

Agent

Jen C said...

Dear Author,
Thank you for submitting your query to the Most Awesome Literary Agency Ever. I regret that, at this time, your project is not quite what I’m looking for. I wish you the best of luck in your continuing search for representation.
Sincerely,
Jen C.

ikmar said...

Dear Author

Thank you for your query. Sorry, but it is not for me.

Sincerely,
Agent for the Day

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thank you for querying me. Unfortunately I am going to have to pass at this time.
I wish you the best of luck with another agent.

Sincerely,
Agent

Andie said...

Dear Author:

Please send the complete manuscript along with a synopsis, and thank you for considering this agency.

Best,
Andie

Sasha said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm the right person to represent your manuscript.

Good luck and yours truly,
AftD

Annalee said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for the opportunity to consider your manuscript. I'm afraid it isn't right for me.

Regards,
-Annalee

-----------
Reason: The query grabbed me--would have requested pages if they hadn't been attached. But what I saw in the attached pages didn't hold my interest--the style just didn't work for me. Completely subjective. I'm sure someone else would feel differently.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author,

I would love to see more of this! Please send the first three chapters or approximately 50 pages, whichever is longest.

Best regards,
Agent Pro Tempore

Adam Heine said...

Unfortunately, Penn doesn't come across as a "smart, tough woman" in the query. She comes across as a bumbling do-gooder, which is less likable.

I'm sorry, but this doesn't sound right for me. Thank you for submitting.

jjdebenedictis said...

@ Lucy Ammunition, Apr 13, 10:51AM

Thank you! And back atcha, too; I've really been enjoying your witty replies.

Melinda said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, but unfortunately this project isn't right for me. Best of luck in your search for representation.

Sincerely,

Melinda

PPP said...

Bicuit Owls? That's such a great name.

I liked your description of the plot, but the sample pages didn't reel me in. Probably because this isn't the kind of story I typically go for. I'm sure another, better agent will love this.

Signed,
PPP

Meg Trotter said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, but I'm afraid I'll have to pass. Neither the query or the writing grabbed my interest.
Best of luck elsewhere,
Megan

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Form rejection

CJK said...

Thank you for your query. I am not interested in further materials on this work. Good luck with your search for representation. CJK

Katy said...

Thank you for submitting to X Agency. Your query and sample pages have me hooked, so please send the complete manuscript at your earliest convenience.
Thanks,
Katy

Soratian said...

Dear Author,

Thanks for your query. I'm afraid I'm not the right match for your manuscript.

I do think that your pitch was interesting, so keep trying with another agent. From my sense of your writing though, and how you've pitched it, you'll be better off pitching the story as women's commercial fiction rather than literary fiction.

Good luck!
Soratian

Eden said...

Thanks for the opportunity but I'm afraid I'll have to pass on representing this piece.

Best of luck with your writing.

~Eden

Other Lisa said...

Dear Author,

Thanks for your submission - I'd love to see the first fifty pages. Please send as an attached Word doc with "requested material" in the subject line - and it's helpful for me if you include the query in the body of the email.

Thanks very much, and I'm looking forward to reading!

Best,

Agent X

(I already know what I would say after reading the partial because I'd say it after reading the first five pages - I don't think the omniscient narrator/present tense structure works but I liked the premise and a lot of the writing - if she were willing to do a rewrite, I'd look at it again. I also agree with the critics here who felt the query was too long and too meandering, so it was a close call)

Patti K. said...

Thank you for you submission. I am going to have to pass on your manuscript because I do not believe it is right for me. Good luck on your quest for the perfect agent!

Patti K.

Polenth said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission. The premise was interesting, but the opening didn't hook me. I'm going to have to pass.

--
Polenth

Pap said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your interest in my agency. However, I will not be requesting any further materials from you at this time. Please note that submissions are a very subjective business and my comments are not a critique on your writing ability. I strongly encourage you to continue your search for an agent and wish you all the best.

Your sincerely,

Make-believe Agency

Renee Collins said...

Dear Burning down the Ranch,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, the story does not seem quite right for me.

Best of luck,

Renee

MK said...

Dear Author,

Thanks for your submission. After careful consideration, I've decided this manuscript isn't for us at this time.

Good luck with your search.

Best,
Agent For a Day

Mystery Robin said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission, but I am not the right agent for this book. Best of luck!

Robin

Sage said...

Dear BDtR,

Environmental issues are hot, but I didn't connect to this the way I expected to. Another agent may feel differently.

Thanks,
Sage

Selene said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for contacting Selene Literary. After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that this project is not right for us. We wish you the best of luck in finding an agent that is as enthusiastic about this book as it deserves.

Best regards,
Selene Da Agent
Selene Literary

Melanie K said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission, but I'm afraid that I'm not the best match for "Burning Down the Ranch."

Good luck in your search for representation.

Sincerely,


MAIN REASONS:
*Heroine doesn't seem believable (she saves owls but is afraid of the dark?), likable (lied to her boss about a damaged car and a wounded cow) or strong (she falls in love with some guy who is using her for her connections?).

Julie Weathers said...

Dear Author,

There were interesting points in your submission, but I’m afraid I can’t offer representation. This is a subjective business, and what appeals to one reader doesn’t always appeal to another. With my current workload, I have to be very discriminating and take on only projects I am passionate about.

I urge you to continue your quest to be published and wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely,

J.M. Agent


(Too many things that don't ring true. How do you hit a cow in the middle of the night and not leave damage, for instance. I am anal about details.)

Sol said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting a query and sample pages. Doing so has provided me an opportunity to delve deeper into your work.

I enjoy your sense of character, you know who she is and so will the reader. Your plot overview includes several real life incidents, when you couple that with a unique position such as an owler your work gets an added boost. I think you have a good premise here.

Although your story has some qualities of the books I enjoy reading, I am unable to request a partial at this time.

Kind regards,

Sol Nima

Side note:
My suggestion is that you work with a writing partner who will give you solid (read: trustworthy) feedback. Like I said, I like your premise and I think you have style--but you may know your story so well that in areas you connect too many dots for the reader while in other areas you may not connect enough...I hope this makes sense. Best of luck and most of all, keep at it!
S.N.

Nay said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query.
I will have to pass on this project, but best of luck to you.

-Nay

theflightytemptress said...

Dear Burning Down the Ranch,

Thank you for your submission, but unfortunately it’s not for me. Publishing is a very subjective business, though, and another agent may feel differently. Best of luck on your continued search.

Yours,

Kat Brauer

Joy said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission and your interest in using me as an agent. After taking some time to consider your material, I have decided that this isn't right for me.

Best of luck in your writing endeavors,

Joy

Reasoning: There were aspects of the plot that I liked--facing her fears, but others that weren't explained well enough to understand why they were important "tricky" relationship issues.

Annie said...

I'd pass.

Reason: the query doesn't show me a clear story. It's marked as literary, but the style of the sample doesn't reflect that, not for me at least.

Jessumby said...

Dear Author

Thank you for sending me your query. I regret to inform you that it does not suit the needs of my list at this time.

Regards, Jessumby

thin said...

Dear Author,
While it seems like an interesting premise for a book, I'm sorry to say that I cannot take on the project. Thank you for considering me, and best of luck in the future.
Sincerely,
Thin

RW said...

Dear Author:

Thank you very much for your query. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to consider your work for representation. As you know, it’s a competitive market these days, and I don’t believe I have the right relationships to sell this project successfully. I do wish you luck in finding an agent and thank you for considering me.

Yours truly,

RW

K.D. said...

Dear Author,

Thank your for your query. Unfortunately, I don't think your project sounds right for me.

Sincerely,

Agent K.D.

Notes: I don't get why she would study a night-time creature if she's afraid of the dark. Lying about hitting a cow doesn't make sense, either. The writing sample also threw me off -- I didn't know someone could be that passive in present tense.

Poppy said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission. I am afraid that your work is not right for me at this time, however I would urge you to continue to submit to other agents: this is a subjective business.

Agent

Kats said...

Dear Author,

Thanks for your query, unfortunately Burning Down the Ranch is not for me.

Best,
Agent for the Day, Kats

Deniz Bevan said...

Thank you for your query, but I wouldn't be the right agent in this instance.
I wish you luck finding the right home for your work.
Sincerely,
Ms Agent Agency

Sun Up said...

Dear Author,

Sounds interesting and the writing was pretty good, but it's not something I can see myself representing at this time.

Best of luck to you


Alicia

Sarah Laurenson said...

Form rejection.


A do gooder doing bad? Not a strong enough hook. And it seemed like she was doing all these bad things for no particular reason.

The pages did not draw me in.

Mira said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting Burning Down the Ranch. I agree with many of the agents above. I like your premise and your voice very much. I very much liked the first sentence of your novel as well; a good hook.

However, I believe that your work might benefit from some a little more editing. In particular, look to your sentence length and your pacing. Long sentences can be difficult for a reader to follow, and a story that moves too quickly can also be difficult to follow.

Once you have spent time with the above, I would be very interested in seeing more of your work. Your witty and punchy style of writing shows talent and promise.

Best of luck to you!

Mira

Jabez said...

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, I do not believe I am the best agent to represent your manuscript. Best of luck in your quest for publication.

CarrieK said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission. Although this project does not meet our needs at this time, I would encourage you to submit again.

Additionally, in regard to this work, I would suggest that you introduce Penn much faster in the beginning of your novel, if she is the lead character as indicated by your query. Just something to consider.

CarrieK

Dale - Las Vegas said...

Thank you for your submission but it doesn't seem right for me at this time.

Good luck in the future.

Heather Harper said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission. After careful consideration, I regret that I’m unable to request your manuscript at this time.

Best,
Agent for a day

Sherry Ficklin said...

Dear Author,
Thank you for thinking of me, but I'm going to have to pass. Best of luck finding another agent!

Sincerely, Agent Faux

lucy in the sky said...

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately I do not believe I am the best person to represent your work.

Jenn said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, but unfortunately your story is not for me at this time.

Sincerely,
Fake Agent

The story just didn't get me hooked.

Janeal C. Falor said...

Thank you for the opportunity to look at you work. Unfortunately, I don't feel this is the right project for me.

Tree said...

Dear Author:
I want to thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to consider your work. Unfortunately, I did not connect well enough with your project to pursue it further. As I'm sure you know, agenting is a very subjective business. Although your project didn't fit with my particular list, another agent may respond very differently.
Please accept my best wishes for success in your writing career and finding the perfect advocate for your work.
Sincerely,
Tree

educlaytion said...

I'm sure you'll have plenty of interest in this work, but I do not represent these types of stories. Best of luck.

Janny said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting your query and first pages of BURNING DOWN THE RANCH to me. The premise is interesting enough, but I'm not drawn to your characters or voice sufficiently, and so I must pass on this. But keep in mind that what doesn't "work" for one agent might well work for another, so I wish you the best of luck in placing this elsewhere.

Sincerely,
Janny

cwsherwoodedits said...

Thank you for your query. I'm going to have to pass.

Fawn Neun said...

Thank you for sending in your query for consideration. We have looked it over carefully, but do not feel it meets our agency needs at this time.

It looks very interesting though, and I'm sure you will find representation from an agent who is more experienced with this genre. Keep looking!

Thank you for offering the opportunity and best of luck,

Fawn

Laurie said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I have decided to decline representing you for this manuscript.

I think you have a very compelling story line and you made it to the second round in my consideration, and the only reason I am declining is the mandatory limit of only accepting five manuscripts.

Best of luck to you! I'm sure you will find representation soon.

Laurie

L.C. Gant said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission, but I'm afraid your story isn't right for me.

Please understand that this business is very subjective. My personal tastes typically don't run toward literary fiction, so this concept didn't intrigue me.

Take heart, however--another agent may feel differently. Good luck on your continued search for representation.

Best wishes,

L.C. Gant (Agent for a Day)

Fairduncan said...

Dear Author

Thanks for querying us. I regret I have to pass on this one, but wish you every success in finding representation.

Cordially Yours,
Agent

Reesha said...

Dear Author,
Thank you for your submission. I appreciate that you thought of me as a possible agent to represent you. However, I'm afraid your manuscript is not right for me at this time.
I highly encourage you to continue your search for representation. Your idea sounds promising and I have no doubt it has great potential to catch another agent's eye.
Best of luck to you and your writing!
Reesha

Amethyst Greye Alexander said...

Dear Author,

I've reviewed your query but am afraid your project isn't a good fit with the works I represent. I hope you won't let this discourage you, however, as every agent has different tastes and you're sure to find representation that will better suit your needs.

Thank you for considering me.
Amethyst Adams

Anonymous said...

Form Rejection.

Agent DC

Wandering Spirit said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for taking the time to submit your query. Although your story shows potential it is unfortunately of a genre that I am not best suited to represent. However, all writing is of value and I wish you the best in your endeavours.

Best wishes

Agent for a Day

Mercy Loomis said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for querying me on your novel Burning Down the Ranch. I regret that I am unable to represent you at this time.

Sincerely,
Mercy Loomis

Feedback:
Last line of summary: Will Penn commit arson, even murder, in her quest to be true to her ideals and take action for an environmental cause?
First line of novel: This is the summer that Charlene Van Holt will burn down her brother’s ranch, but no one knows that yet, not even Charlene, so the owlers can be excused for their ignorance.

Great, I don't need to read the whole novel now. If the summary from your query were the sales text on the back of the book, and I then read the first line, I would not be inclined to buy it. But then, I don't read much literary fiction, so maybe that's not uncommon.

I think overall your query is well-written, but the first pages of your novel didn't hook me.

Venus Vaughn said...

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query, your project doesn't meet my needs at this time.
Best of luck to you in your writing career.

~Venus Vaughn

Maryann Miller said...

So sorry, but this is not right for us. Good luck placing it elsewhere.

Savannah Pens said...

Dear Author: Thank you for your query. The project is not right for this agency. Best wishes. Savannah Pens Agent

Nifaerie Noven said...

Hi!

Thanks for your submission. Your work shows promise, but is a bit on the long side for a work of literary fiction. Additionally, I'm having a hard time getting a sense of the moral or thematic center of your work. Literary fiction thrives on difficult questions and I do not get a sense of what these are in your work.

I can not represent you at this time.

Best of luck.

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