Not Everybody Has to Like You…the rejection letter
TODAY’S BREW: chocolate something or other
So. It happened today. Both Kristen and I got our very first rejection letters from an agent. The very same one. Form letters. They weren’t bad, they just said that she wasn’t that in to us and she thought it was best if we all saw other people.
This is not the point where we start to wonder if we are going down the right path or not. We made damn sure that we were. We have been very careful every step of the way. And in being so cautious, we also knew that our first query letters, no matter how good we thought they were, would not be our best ones. Confidence gets gained along the way of this process, and it shows in the query letter.
However, I will never be confident in using the word “query.”
We didn’t send out 40 letters to 40 agents randomly. We carefully selected a long list of agents that represent the genre, first and foremost, and who we think would have interest in our works. From that list, we picked who our dream agents would be. Then we gave them nicknames without trying to. It was kind of like picking a list of colleges to apply to. We sent out our first five queries. Even though we knew these were not probably going to pan out, we did extensive research on each one. We worked together on our queries. We put a lot of care into them.
This is usually where a person would feel bitter disappointment and start questioning their own abilities and judgment. But we are not those people. I am not going to sling you crap about what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. I will tell you that being rejected was part of the plan. That’s why we started off slow, and with our worst bets. Sure, we both wondered, ‘what if this one wants to represent me?’ but we knew the chances were slim. And we know where we are going from here, hopefully with some insight.
While we await more replies, we continue to have people read our works. We take all criticism seriously, and consider common themes, while continuing to stand by our original ideas. We are putting the full manuscripts on Authonomy for more solid critique, and some community. And we write our sequels. We treat these novels like a small career, and work towards making that happen continuously.
In my long and illustrious career in panty sales for the most prestigious ladies underthings company in the world, I was often given the reins of deciding who to promote, or put in charge of special projects or what have you. Always someone who wasn’t chosen and thought they were a shoe-in was disgruntled. Always there was someone asking what was wrong. And the answer was always the same: “She didn’t give it to me.” Inevitably, I would end up having to pull this person aside for their unprofessional attitude, and once again address why they had not been promoted. Every time I would get a long list of excuses why they had been dealt bad cards. My answer to them was always the same: “It’s not why I didn’t give it to you…it’s why you didn’t get it.”
Whatever the rejection, the way to see through it is to take control of it. What, if anything, do I need to change to get to my goal? Have I given the best of myself to be considered, or is there something that I am holding back?
So, rejection letter #1 will have me go back, and reevaluate my pitch, and whether or not my voice came through. I am willing to bet that my mind-numbing fear in sending it showed. The next one will not have a note of fear in it. I will refine, and build the confidence on paper that I feel in my heart for this novel. We see the forest through the trees.
And Kristen and I will repeat our mantra: Not every agent has to like it. Just one.