Warren Frazier Asks for Partial of NINJAS

Less than eleven hours after I sent him a query letter, Warren Frazier emailed me back and asked for a partial, which is of course both appreciated and shocking, to be honest.  I'm not sure I've ever had an agent ask for a partial of NINJAS in such a short amount of time, but I'm definitely not complaining.

I won't get my hopes up at this point because it's just a partial.  Additionally, NINJAS is very voice-driven and stylized, so it's not for everyone.  I give agents fair warning in the query, but seeing voice-driven stylization on the page is always different.  Also, Warren Frazier represents some motherfucking heavy-hitters in the literary world:  Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Olen Butler, Adam Johnson, and Jess Walter, among others, which includes three Pulitzer-Prize winners ("Bob," as Julianna Baggott called him back when we talked long-distance on the phone from Argentina to Florida in 2008, Adam Johnson and also Frederik Lovegall, who won a Pulitzer in history for his book, Embers of War).  So, I'm nothing if not realistic.  Still, when an awesome agent is reading one of your novels, there's always a little room for hope.   

Good Rejection + Open Door to Read More Material from Nat Sobel

There's good news + there's bad news. Here's the bad news (though it comes with a decent rejection):

Dear Jackson Bliss,

Thank you for sending us the first 50 pages of . . . , which Nat Sobel asked me to read. I have discussed your work with Nat prior to sending my response. I think that this is an innovative approach to a novel, and I enjoyed the setting you have chosen. However, I’m sorry to report that I have too many concerns to request the balance of the manuscript . . . I admire the energy and style of your prose, but at the same time there is a self-conscious quality that prevented me from being completely drawn into these pages.

Please know that my reading is a subjective one, and others may feel differently. Nat and I both think that you are a talented writer, and we hope that you are able to find a publisher through your current literary agent. While we don’t feel that BLANK is the right novel in which to launch your writing career, should things not work out with The Irene Goodman Literary Agency, we’d be happy to consider more of your work in the future.

Best of luck,

A*** W*****

And here's the good news: After I clarified to A*** W***** that that the Irene Goodman Literary Agency isn't, in fact, representing me at all (they'd actually sent me a rejection letter months ago that mysteriously never showed up in my inbox or spam folder, so I had to write them + ask them what's up--lame), then I asked her if I could send her a partial of what I'm working on now, The Ninjas of My Greater Self + she said hell yes. Okay, actually, she just said yes. But as many of you know, Ninjas is the best thing I've written yet. I'm 320 pages into this motherfucker + I'm telling you, it fucking rocks the joint. I have no doubt that I'll publish BLANK eventually--frankly, despite its various + sundry flaws, it's still a breathtaking novel that's ambitious, innovative, smart, compassionate, multicultural + kinetic. It deserves to--and will someday--be published in an excellent indie press that rewards ambition, vision + heterodoxy. But Ninjas is going to be the novel that helps me launch my career from an emerging unknown novelist to an up-and-coming novelist with national implications. That may sound arrogant, but it's not, man. It's just what's going to happen + I'm gonna work my ass off to make sure it does. Stay tuned. In a month, I'll have a better idea of what's going down.

Algonquin Press Asks for Bigger Excerpt of The Amnesia of Junebugs

I'm absolutely not going to read into this at this point because it's just a larger partial, but for what it's worth, Algonquin Press sent me a request for a 100-page partial of The Amnesia of Junebugs after I sent them a 30-page teaser. Doesn't mean anything. I absolutely refuse to read into this. I'll eradicate any + all hope for now because that shit just hurts when it comes back as a rejection (as it so often does). But still, for a couple seconds, it's kinda cool.

Maria Massie Asks for Partial of The Amnesia of Junebugs

Dear Mr. Bliss,

Thank you very much for your recent query regarding representation for BLANK. The novel sounds interesting, and Maria would be pleased to have a look at it. Please feel free to send it along at your convenience, preferably via e-mail. If you choose to send a hardcopy, you may direct it to my attention at the address below, marked 'requested materials.' We look forward to hearing from you.


J. N.

27 West
New York, NY