Editors Blog

Agent Cricket Freeman's '3 Most Common Reasons a Work is Rejected'

I’m editing an article by literary agent Cricket Freeman of The August Agency where she shares a lot of expertise, but this one small nugget here was so good I wanted to share it immediately.  Cricket comes clean and bluntly explains the three most common reasons a work is rejected by a literary agent:

    1. The quality is poor.  This means the writing stinks.  The writer doesn’t command the language.

    2. It’s sent to the wrong agent.  Research your target agents and have a reason for contacting them. 

    3. The writer submitted too soon.  This is my favorite one because it’s so true.  Bad writers will get rejected because they can’t write and they just submit a thousand queries without spending any time learning how the process works and why it wors the way it does.  But why do GOOD writers get rejected?  Simple – Cricket just told you.  They submit before the work is ready.  The lesson here is to fine-tune a work and rewrite it, which I , for one, know how painful that can be.
    Stay tuned for more discussions on rewriting.

Cricket Freeman

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5 thoughts on “Agent Cricket Freeman's '3 Most Common Reasons a Work is Rejected'

  1. Chuck

    I think writers need to take their writing as far as it can go, whether that means one full rewrite, or 11. At that point, when you’ve toiled over it, I think it IS "almost ready." The next step is some feedback from the agent, and then a lot of feedback from the publishing house editor. After their hard work and insight, it is "ready" – ready for publication.

    So the answer is YES, Amber, but we as writers cannot ever have the mentality that someone will "fix" the bad parts as the book goes along, because they’ll too busy tightening up the parts you thought were "good"!

  2. Amber

    But when do you know when it’s ready and good enough to send? Also, do agents ever take a chance to work with an author who’s work is almost ready?

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