I got a rejection on a full request I had waited on. That’s never fun. I was thrilled to get the request, and even though it ended up being a ‘No’ I’m ok with it, because with my last novel I never got so much as a partial request. This one has done better. I’ve had 2 full requests and a few partials, which is encouraging. I’ve decided to change the query letter again though, based on this rejection.
The agent wrote she did enjoy reading it but felt the disappearance part competed too much with Adam’s guilt trip (I’m paraphrasing). She also did not understand why Adam’s story is the main part of the book, rather than the investigation into Levi’s disappearance. This is similar to what the first agent said in her rejection.
After reading it I felt confused because I thought it was clear that this is Adam’s story, not a police procedural. Nothing against police procedurals, I like reading them, I just don’t write them. There’s an element of that in the book of course via a detective Adam keeps in touch with, but there’s no active investigation as it has been several months since Levi’s disappearance. There are no leads, nor hints that Levi was kidnapped or abducted. It’s essentially a cold case.
The novel is really about the aftermath of a disappearance, it’s about what happens to the people whose loved one is never found. It’s about the silence in their lives after all the investigating and searching is over. It’s about moving on. Or, in Adam’s case, the inability to move on.
The reason this is Adam’s story is because he is the one who feels his selfish behaviors of the past, such as hooking up with Levi’s ex, could have led to his brother disappearing. It’s more a character story than an action story. So, seeing how 2 agents who read the book now seem to have been misled by my query, I will re-write it again. This time I’ll be sure to make it clear this is not a Jonathan Kellerman style novel.
Now I just need to figure out a way to put all of this into a short query letter!
So, to summarize: Yes, getting the rejection on the full was soul shattering as per usual, but I can learn from it and see where I’ve gone wrong so far with the query.
Here’s to a better outcome next time!