Monday, January 26, 2009

Rejection, Rejection, Rejection

I'm getting ready to send out queries to agents for my second novel. I've been slaving away on the query letter and synopsis for the past few weeks, all while obsessively working on polishing the final draft. And what shall I face after all that hard work? Fingers crossed, some (one! just give me one!) positive responses. One thing I know for sure: I will be rejected.

Benjamin Franklin said: 'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.' For a writer, I'd like to add rejection to that list. It's a occupational hazard.

I read a lot of agent blogs, and I know they get no joy from sending hundreds of rejection letters each week. I also know that a lot of what they receive is ill-conceived and poorly written, and deserves to be rejected. And there is a myriad of other reasons why what you send may not be right for them. Still, it is hard to be on the receiving end of generic rejections.

With my first novel, I only pitched agents in the UK. It cost an absolute fortune, as most agents only accept snail mail and you need to include your cover letter, synopsis, first three chapters and a self-addressed envelope so they can return the whole thing back to you. In total, I sent out about twenty such packages, which means I paid around £70 for the honour of being rejected. A few even returned my package back to me with a slip of paper that they weren't taking on any new clients (and yes, I had checked their website before sending in my submission).

One rejection I received included some promotional material on books the agency was publishing. One such book was on how to write (I can't recall the exact title right now and I'm not in the mood to leaf through my rejection letters to find it!). I realise the agency was likely only trying to help, but it was like a slap in the face. No, we won't publish your book - but hey! Look at these other authors who did manage to get published! And here's one to help you write! Grr.

I know rejection is a necessary part of the process, something that 'will only make me stronger.' But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Stay tuned as the rejections trickle in over the next few months...


acpaul said...

I wish you the best of luck.

Are you querying US agents this time? Many, if not most, of them prefer e-queries now, which does cut costs all the way around.

AC said...

I'm about to start querying on my first novel--fingers crossed!

I can't believe they sent you materials about books they're publishing, including one on how to write! That's unbelievably tacky and in bad taste.

Best of luck to you!

Elle said...

Best of luck! I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you! It's all about playing the odds - one day it *has* to happen, you just have to keep trying! :0)

Marsha said...

Thanks everyone! Fingers crossed.

@acpaul - I'm going to query US agents this time around, as well. It's easier, anyway!

@AC - Good luck! I'm sending you positive vibes.

@Elle - Yes. One day it will happen. More positive vibes to you!

Nixy Valentine said...

You know, I'm with you about wanting to query agents that accept e-queries. I don't quite trust people who don't use technology, and I hate hate hate printing off hundreds of pages, knowing that they're just going to be shredded.

With as easy as it is to get a good eReader these days, I can't imagine why anyone would want to deal with all that paper anyway! Not when you could save a Word Doc as a PDF and load it into something smaller than a paperback.

I wish you the best of luck. I know you'll hear it over and over, but don't give up! It only takes one acceptance to get you on the road.