Yays & Nays

Here are some rejections and replies that stood out from the ubiquitous, run of the mill “Dear Author: Sorry but this isn’t right for us at this time” form letters.

P.S. These comments were compiled from various industry professionals who requested anonymity, in keeping in line with publishing industry protocols (aka political correctness).

P.P.S. Actual reader feedback + reviews are included, below the post.


…You’ve created a very authentic teen voice here, and really captured internet-speak (which few adult writers can do). I’m afraid, however, that in the end this story read too much like a real journal and not enough like a book.

…I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass. Epistolary novels aren’t a big seller. I do, however, wish you luck finding a nice home for your novel.

…I’m sorry to say I don’t find Jade and Novan’s story compelling. It seems to be drawn up with bits and pieces of what we all know about teen life today, and doesn’t ring true (agent’s reply to the query/pitch, not any pages of manuscript).

…The excerpt from EyeLeash is a collection of thoughts and online material from a 17 year-old girl, Jade. She thinks and talks about the typical things that teenage girls do. I could see the story appealing to teenage girls and perhaps girls in their early twenties, but that’s about it. Thumbs down (Expert Reviewer of A Writing Competition).

…I am so sorry that it has taken me such a long time to respond to EYELEASH. The truth is, I was going around and around about this, because while there are lots of things to love here, I just didn’t feel that “spark” — it is cool, but a bit explicit for me. I will have to reluctantly pass, but I think you are a good writer and look forward to reading all about your successes!

…Thank you for the interesting query and the chance to consider your work. The concept has many compelling elements and I like what you’ve tried to do but I find blog and email novels very hard to pull off well. I do not believe we are the right agency for this project.


…You are a very good writer and your novel gives the reader fascinating insights into the thoughts + insecurities of a (late) teenager. I enjoyed the characters and your depictions are very vivid. Unfortunately though, I fear that there is a bit too much minutiae which distracts from the overall forward motion of these accounts. Keep trying with other agents. Best of luck and thanks so much for sharing this with me. You are very gifted (a nice letter received early in my professional writing career).

The following were from email correspondence with a former YA acquisitions editor (that I discussed EyeLeash with for 6 months), before the editor left for another publishing house. Booyah!):

…My reader and I agree that this is a surprising and hard-to-shake manuscript. You’ve got a very good handle on two critical elements of the book: your desperately conflicted, burdened-by-too-much-knowledge main character and the often-isolated, self-indulged communication style of her world. – Former YA Acquisitions Editor, Part I

…I really liked your approach to an IM/blog love story. This is the first one I’ve seen that seemed like it was using the mediums to say something, rather than as a gimmick. I found that the medium and your excellent command of its details gave me a striking and intriguing picture of Jade and her situation. I like that she is the Hamlet of sex — she can’t just do it; she overthinks. She is a wonderful combination of modern contradictions: she is theoretically sexually uninhibited but completely paralyzed by sexual information [“if u could switch pregnancy possibilities off, and erase all stds, that would be best” (line from an IM chat in book)]. – Former YA Acquisitions Editor, Part II

…Virginity isn’t compatible with Jade’s self-conception, but she can’t do anything about it for a whole host of reasons, despite her hyper-sexual milieu. You seem to be a Nabokovian, so I perhaps can say it reminds me of Humbert’s lament near the beginning of LOLITA that he and Annabel cannot “mate as slum children would have so easily found an opportunity to do.” I think you’ve hit upon a very interesting contemporary, universal teenage story in a very specific, human teenage character. That’s no small easy feat. – Former YA Acquisitions Editor, Part III


3 Responses to “Reviews”

  1. Jess C Scott August 10, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    Below are some comments from people who’ve read/heard about EyeLeash and/or myself:

    * * *

    “Guess who now has a copy and has had a quick skim? I love the use of the different mediums to tell a story. Reminds me of the best seller ‘Salmon fishing in the Yemen’ in its use of a diverse approach to story telling. Fingers crossed for your success.” — Andrew Shackcloth

    * * *

    “omg is that the first page? it’s making me wanna read more!” — Jeans/Collaber #1

    * * *

    “Author / Illustrator Jess C Scott deserves kudos from RCGNTN. Determined to break away from the traditional writer’s mold, Jess’s work exudes pure honesty that deserves praise. If passion does not also take the form of illustrating your own book art as well, we don’t know what does.” —

    * * *

    “I think that this was a very funny novel. I enjoyed how it was written in a blog format, although at times, it was a little hard to read. There were too many online abbreviations, and I know that even growing up, I never really used as many when I had a blog. I thought the characters were really brought to life, and you had a sense of who they were. I think that this book is more of an adult book than a young adult book. There is a lot of sexual content in this book, and I feel this is too mature for a young adult audience. Overall, I thought it was funny, cute, and hooked me to continue reading the story from beginning to end.” — Jennifer/Goodreads

    * * *

    “the book’s storyline will keep u glued to the bk until u need to read finish it
    the way jade and novan met stands out to me
    i like the blog format
    the pms part was not bad
    interesting the way it was described
    lively and candid
    i like the blog usage i find it a refreshing way of telling story
    keep on writing
    u can do it” — applepie/Smashwords

    * * *

    “I’ve started it already and it’s weird how the main character’s thoughts mirror mine at times. You’ve definitely done a great job.” — Hillary/York College of Pennsylvania

    * * *

    “…Last night I was reading (another conversation) about masturbation. This time it was in Jess C Scott’s EyeLeash and the conversation struck me as totally authentic…I’m enjoying reading EyeLeash and I don’t think it’s just because she can write about masturbation and Zadie Smith can’t…”
    — full review at Joseph Grinton

    * * *

    “I recently read a couple of the Twilight saga books, and couldn’t help but noticing several differences (they are both books I feel are targeted for the young adult audience – but the resemblance ends there) in the two protagonists. Jade is not infuriatingly self-deprecating the way Bella Swan (main character from Twilight) is, among many other differences. She’s got confidence, and it’s refreshing to read a book about a girl who actually thinks she’s got a good body. I think that’s so important. ”
    — full review at LibraryThing, by fmakki

  2. Jess C Scott August 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm #

    Had two comments/reviews (from a couple of folks who had trouble posting on, heh):

    * * *

    “This is a smart, quirky and witty debut with lots of promise. The reader gradually gets to know the story’s protagonist, Jade, through an intimate blog. The character lays herself and her insecurities bare leaving the reader with the feeling that they’re trespassing on someone’s intimate thoughts – which is obviously a huge selling point. There’s also some coruscating sexual humour that young readers will identify with and that will make older readers thank their stars they’ve moved through that period of their lives. An interesting character dissection that bodes well for future work from Scott. ”
    Richard Jay Parker, author of Stop Me

    * * *

    “EyeLeash shows a realistic mix of elements of modern day life. The medium of communication itself shows an immerse understanding of teens, who have increasingly switched from face to face to computer mediated communication. With email, instant messaging and blog posts move the story, which provides a refreshing, yet true account of modern youths’ lives.

    The characters are very much brought to life, with Jade and Novan exploring their relationships and sexuality. The story also brings attention to the youths’ needs and wants, hopes and fears in an honest way that is hardly seen in other books. Jess has painted a candid image of young adults in this refreshing read.”
    — Hui Ling/Singapore

  3. Jess C Scott July 26, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    A few more comments/reviews:

    * * *

    “Though this book is far different from the fluffy Twilight series, don’t be surprised if Jess C Scott’s books spark the next reading revolution. Scott’s original voice and style don’t just tell a story, they tell the way of teenage life.”
    – Kasey Dallman, Amazon Review, May 30, 2010

    * * *

    @jesscscott PS: i’ve just finished eyeleash. gosh, you left me hanging at the end LOL!

    @jesscscott and yes, somehow novan reminds me of [kurt] cobain. LOL!!!
    – Twitter Message from @NdreaLim, July 26, 2010

    * * *

    “…sounds like it would follow characters I’d love! Especially because, when you’re a teenager, Cyber-Stalking the boy/girl you’re madly in love with is now commonplace.” (21 year old male)

    “Your writing reflects something genuine, something real, about our generation that few writers have had the talent or the courage to uncover.” (e-mail from a male reader)

    * * *

    * More on blog tour page.

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