A couple of blogs ago I talked about rejection and listening to criticism. I thought I would share some of the things I've done to make my book more appealing to agents/publishers. When I send out queries, I tend to send them out in batches. If the first set of queries doesn't get much of a response, I change the query. The part of the query that I change is the paragraph about the book. From what I understand, it is supposed to read like the blurb on the back--it is supposed to get the reader interested in reading the book. Sooo, if my initial query doesn't get anyone interested, I change it to make the book sound more interesting. So far, I've had a bit more interest, but things seem to fall flat once they read the requested material. After a few rejections, I decided to send my manuscript to a technical editor (thanks, Tamara!). She went through the entire book, but concentrated most of her efforts on the first 40 pages since that is what most agents/publishers focus on. Her critique was extremely helpful. She found some point-of-view slips and gave suggestions on how the flesh out my story. She also found grammatical errors. I went through and polished my chapters, and hopefully they will garner a different response.
"Those are things you should have done before you sent it out," I can hear you saying. Don't get me wrong, I had people go through my book before sending it off, and I went through it with a fine-toothed comb also. The people who read it before looked at it for content, and I tried to catch every mistake, but I'm too close to catch everything. Plus, I'm human. It's possible that I should have had a technical edit done before I sent it out, but I'm sure that if it gets accepted somewhere, another editor will find other things that need to be corrected. If it goes through this round with more rejections, I'll probably have to rewrite the entire thing (then it will have to sit for a year because there are a limited number of agents who accept horror and I can't query them again in just a few months!). That's the thing about submissions, rejections, and edits: they are never done. But if you're serious about your craft and you really want to get published, you will do what you have to do.
I do realize, of course, that it may be all about timing!