Not too long ago, I shared the woes of trying to break into the writing biz. I was particularly down about being rejected by the first agent who’d asked to see my new young adult manuscript. It was such a letdown that I contemplated my future as a writer and professed it to be grim.
To no surprise, friends, family and fans rallied around me to offer words of encouragement. After careful consideration I decided to move forward. This is a subjective business after all. One agent’s trash could be another one’s treasure. With that in mind, I pressed on in grand fashion.
True to my over achieving nature, I took to the internet in search of a new agent and spent an entire weekend sending out query letters. Believe it or not, this is a lot more complicated than it sounds. One agent wants the first ten pages, another wants the first chapter and still another wants a three page synopsis and the first ten pages. It’s rare that they want the same thing, which means it takes time to put all of it together and conform to their submission guidelines.
When all was said and done, I’d sent out more than seventy queries. Over dinner that night, I made mention of this to my oldest child and said something along the lines of there being no way they could all reject me. My daughter fired back with, ‘Sure they can. It’s not likely, but they can.’ This from the mouth of a sixteen year old!
So far, my daughter’s been more right than I have, which I don’t mind saying bothers me more than a little. Not just because I loathe rejection but because I don’t care for having my child be wiser about me in certain things. Yes, I said it, but I digress.
Since the weekend of seventy queries, the rejections have been trickling in. Most are the standard form letter that begins with the dreaded ‘Dear Author.’ As soon as you see those words, there’s no reason to continue reading. If they don’t care enough to address you by name, they aren’t interested in your story. A few start off with ‘Dear Trish’ or ‘Dear Ms. Edmisten’ and then go on to reject me anyway. The other day, I got a rejection that left me feeling a bit floored. The following message was received in reply to my query: Not for me, thanks anyway.
Can you believe that? With absolutely no fanfare or even the courtesy of addressing me by name, this agent very bluntly told me he had no interest in my work. The lack of interest stings a bit, but I can get over it. I’ve been rejected often enough and recovered often enough. What I found appalling was the fact that he’d brush me off with such blatancy, especially after I followed his submission guidelines to the tee. I suppose professional courtesy doesn’t apply if you’re not a professional writer. Still, naughty or nice, the end result was the same; rejection. Perhaps I should respect his unwillingness to mince words.
Perhaps, but I forgot about this part. And I forgot how much I hate it.