Shortest Rejection Wait, Ever

Yesterday, at 11:18 AM, I fired off a Hey-you-should-represent-this-blockbuster query email to the lone Hollywood agent I’ve ever been in contact with. (I don’t know him, of course. I think an old family member did via New York, or something.)

At 1:06 PM, I got his kind brief rejection (sent with the brevity of stoplight iPhone responses). At one hour and forty-eight minutes, this is a record for me. Woo-hoo.

The lovely Internet (which The Onion believes we should consider shutting down, for a time) is both a blessing and a curse, in this regard. The curse: Rejection (inevitable or not) now gets an Express Lane pass w/ a Ferrari engine. The blessing: Not having to wait.

The first time I really went through the query-response-waiting cycle was seven years ago. I’d finished my first novel, “Watching the World Fall” and felt it had potential to merit at least a chat in New York. Wrong. But of the dozens of queries I sent out, maybe a quarter of them got back to me with all, and it would take months. With some, I waited so long that I’d mistakenly already crossed them off my ‘tried’ list or didn’t recognize the name to begin with. Fewer agents did it via email. Throw in agent-penned tales of slush piles and desks caving underneath towers of manuscripts (two-thirds of them written, apparently, by high-schoolers) and you get a woe-is-me picture of this game so many of us play (or would like to play) which equates to an In.

I don’t have an in. The gentleman from yesterday was my best shot as a leg up. So, because I feel “Endgame” (and others) are worth a try, I’m tossing my hat into the ring once again. While I don’t anticipate the crushing rejection I recently wrote of (too many people have told me they enjoyed the story) I also don’t anticipate success. But at least the Expressway is open.

Scope view of gray-skinned Mitasterite in June Vereeth's crosshairs.

And, for S and G, here’s my letter:

Dear ___ ___,

You may not remember, but we swapped emails a few years ago when I self-published my first novel, “Watching the World Fall.” I’m not writing to bug you about that or my second, “The Churning” (a soccer-hostage story). However, my third novel, “Endgame” is something that everyone agrees has massive commercial appeal.

As the first of four novels about a fictional war in a sci-fi setting, the story takes place on a frozen world. My heroine, a sniper captain, and four colleagues become stranded following a winner-take-all battle over fuel. What follows is a week-long forced trek through the hostile wastes of an uninhabited snowy world. Along the way, they encounter several surprises, dangerous local wildlife and, of course, their hell-bent opponents in the war.

Though the work was written as a stand-alone story, it lends itself well to both feature-film and TV series possibilities. With the increased hype regarding “Star Wars” and “The Martian” and real-world efforts to get people into space, I think Amazon, Netflix, and AMC would all be interested. The story has plenty of action sequences, solid characters and countless visuals (the sky changes from light green to purple at noon, huge warships blown out of orbit, whales that “walk” on land, colorful alien characters, etc.) At 34 chapters, the novel could also be broken up easily into ten or twelve hour-long episodes.

The main character, June Vereeth, is also a huge draw. She’s athletic, about 27, a highly-skilled marksman, and a reluctant leader. Rather than another cheesy coming-of-age story, we have a lead who, like her fellow soldiers, has been thrust into a war she didn’t ask for. So there’s an everyman quality about her, her alien best friend (along for the ride) and three others (including a one-armed non-soldier) set against the backdrop of a war with an empire which would rather use brute force and numbers than strategy and guile. June’s quest to retain/regain her humanity is the overarching theme of the whole series (tentatively titled “Woman at War”).

So, there we are—my super-long elevator pitch. I hope you find the project appealing enough. At the bottom is a link to the Amazon page.

I will actually be in the LA area in the coming weeks (Disneyland with the family) if you have time to chat. Otherwise, I’d be happy to fly down and meet you.


Best Regards,

Justin Edison


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