A reference, of course, to the old Eagles' song, Lyin' Eyes.

My novel on submission (through a reputable agent), a PI novel, has gotten nothing but rejections so far. Kind words from the editors, but rejections nonetheless.

My questions to Crimespacers: Does the fact that my main character is a private investigator severly hinder my chances of getting published? Is the private eye essentially dead in the current publishing world? Would I be better off changing the character's occupation, calling him something else?

My agent still (very much) believes in the book, but I'm kinda freaking at these initial rejections.

Any help???

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Thanks, Jon. That makes me feel better. I'm right with you on the drinking and palpitations, LOL!
Only four months, Jon? P'shaw and fazz-tazz, 't'weren't noffink, that little a wait. Gardner Dozois kept people on the hook for four months to a year when he was editing Asimov's.

But maybe it's a genre difference. I can't imagine an SF editor saying "too good for paperback."

If you want an insider's view of publishing and the submissions process, hie thee to annemini.com. She's been on the inside looking out, and now she's on the outside looking in, while teaching. Has a great pitch practice and query creation method, too, does Dr. Anne Mini.
You must be on pins and needles. Do you jump everytime the phone rings?

Fingers crossed on the book. Hope it finds the right editor.
Thanks, Naomi.

Yep. And pins and needles are crazy things to be on for months at a time. Argh!
As a reader - I agree with Donna. Don't care if the protag is male or female. I *tend* to find though that people write their own sex more convincingly. And there seem to be a reasonable no. successful of new PI novels - Ken Bruen, Peter Temple, Declan Hughes, Val McDermid. Good luck with getting this one accepted!
Thanks, Laura.

I tried to write a female protag once. Everyone who read it said, "She's seems like something of a tomboy." LOL. I think I better stick to male protags for now.
Honestly, people make stuff up to explain their own circumstances. You can't believe everything you hear or you'll wind up putting Preparation H on your ears.

I used to work for a talent agency, circa 1990 - 1992 in St. Louis. All of a sudden, word went 'round that the creative directors and producers didn't want women with long hair in commercials or in print or in industrial film. The Long Look was dead, you heard it everywhere. A good half the women we represented went into a panic. About half of them ran out and got hair cuts somewhere in between Carrie Lowell and Louise Brooks.

And the next time something large got cast and shot in St. Louis, what did the casting director ask me? "What's the deal with all these women with short hair around here? Are the summers really that hot?"
I thought of Hall & Oates' Private Eyes when I saw the title! At which talent agency in St. Louis did you work?
I was at the Delcia Agency, which last I knew was on its third owner and is now called City Talent.
How many rejections are we talking? Two? 20?

I don't think the P.I. aspect matters...they're looking for a fresh voice and a character that seems a natural for a series. And both of those are yeses...yes?

Hang tough. You've got an agent going to bat for you, and that's a big part of the battle.
Thanks, Kevin.

I'm getting a lot of, "I love the voice, but I'm not convinced we can turn this into a bestseller."

I guess it just needs to fall on the right desk at the right time.
Thanks, Ray.

I hear you. We often like to blame industry prejudices (nobody's buying PI novels these days!) or something else when things aren't going our way, while the problem most likely lies deeper.

The thing is, everyone ( a couple of published authors, an editor friend, my agent, several laypeople) who has read the book loves it. The editors we've submitted to, so far, have given positive feedback, but just don't seem to love it enough to move off the dime.

I know it's hard to get a foot in the door with any genre these days, but I was just wondering if the PI novel was a particularly tough sell. The consensus here seems to be no, so I guess we'll keep pitching away and keep our fingers crossed.


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