For some time now, I’ve been talking about my dream of being a professional writer. I’ve always said it’s not in me to fail. In fact, I just uttered that very phrase today. That was before that dreaded email.
As with any important journey, there have been ups and downs on this road to publication. There have been successes and setbacks. Some are major and some not even worth mentioning. Today I suffered one of those setbacks, a setback so major that it has me rethinking my dream and doubting its ability to come true.
Every time I finish a new story, I get so excited about that story that I go in search of a literary agent. In my defense, I always do a good deal of editing to make sure the story is free of any mechanical errors and flows in the best possible way. Then I put together an eye catching query and go for it. What typically happens is a flood of rejections come pouring in. Most are form letters that start with ‘Dear Author’. A few are actually addressed to me but then fall into a form letter format. Once in a while, I get a bite.
Recently, I got a bite. An agent asked to see a partial of my story based on the strength of my query. Within a day of reading my partial, she asked for the final. Since then, I’ve been waiting to see if she likes it enough to offer representation. I’ve been checking my email obsessively, jumping when I hear it go off and then cursing when it’s not what I want.
Today, I both jumped and cursed for the same reason. The agent whom I’d been waiting to hear from sent me her response. While it was very polite and hit on what she viewed as both strong and weak points of the story, the bottom line was rejection. Having been rejected so many times over the years, you’d think I’d be used to it. To be honest, I am. I think this one hit me a bit harder because it falls under that category of so close yet so far. Given her initial excitement and rapid response, my hopes were higher this time around. The higher you are the harder you fall. Is that how it goes?
Whatever cliché I put on it, the end result is the same. I’d been anxiously waiting to hear from this agent, and I did and with a pretty good response time too. I guess that makes me living proof of old adage, be careful what you wish for.