Literary agent Laura Gross has Jodi Picoult in her clutches so I realize it's rather foolish to ask her if she'd be interested in my novel. I did anyway.
Turns out her agency can't take on new projects right now.
That's one way of saying thanks but no thanks.
Not that she isn't accepting queries, of course. She's the agent of a super star in the book selling world, and it's possible that someone almost as super might want to switch representation. Ms. Gross is open to those sorts of queries.
Just not interested in unpublished authors with no track record of sales who have no demonstrated talent for turning straw into gold for the Laura Gross Literary Agency.
The interns at Fletcher & Company have a far more expansive rejection to offer. No short and sweet dismissal for them.
Their rejection is more involved and gives the writer a slight ego boost. Sometimes they reject books that are actually good because they don't think they could sell them on to a publisher. Or they're not passionate about the manuscript, and wouldn't be able to sell it on to a publisher. Or they fear that the manuscript would need extensive editing and who has that kind of time?
No is no, in the end. And I'm getting a no more often these days than I once did.
The perception is, as it always has been, that it's a tight market for fiction. The atmosphere in our troubled world accentuates that perception, and until there's a feeling that the economy is turning around, I would expect that it would be harder than ever to get a literary agent to bite unless you've got some hefty credentials or a degree in creative writing from a prestigious program.
At least if you've been trained how to write according to accepted formulae, there's less chance the agent would have to spend a lot of time editing your work before trying to sell it.