So I've had one positive nibble and several "almost, but not quite" rejections now as my agent (Jennifer Unter) continues to shop Dragon Waking. There's a common theme with the feedback. The editors all like it and think the writing is good, but ultimately feel like the pace is too slow, especially early on.
Okay. Rewriting again.
Do I agree with this feedback? It's hard to say. On the one hand, I certainly believe that good pacing in fiction is important, and I'm under no delusions that I've perfected the art.
On the other hand, I can't help but feel that many of our gatekeepers of fiction (editors and agents, primarily) presume a bit when they say that "readers" like things this way or that way. A good book-buying reader tends to read... what, one book a month? Just guessing at that, but certainly two a month would be high. Agents/editors read dozens, and stop reading countless more because they have to get on to the next.
The person who reads more books is going to be more discerning and aware of the ins and outs of fiction, and that's all to the good. But that person also might develop a brand of impatience that does not really reflect what the general audience feels.
Anyway, I might just be expressing the annoyance of someone who has been asked to shorten his book by about 1/3. I've got a plan to do it, I'm underway, and wish me luck.