So guys, as a lot of you know, I’ve started querying for a book of mine.
But so far . . . I’ve sent out roughly 12 letters, and gotten two notifications of rejection, and no one asking for more material.
I bet you all think that this is where I start to cry and moan. I bet you all expect me to just give up and crawl under a rock.
Well then you don’t know me very well. ‘Cause that is NOT what I intend to do. Sure, rejection hurts. No one likes to hear ‘no’ – even if it’s implied by not getting a response after six to eight weeks. But I’m not one of those people who give up the first time someone tells me that I’m not good enough, or that I just don’t fit.
This is what sets authors apart from writers. Anyone can write a book, but to be an author, you have to learn from your rejections and be persistent. That’s what I intend to do.
If you’re confused about the query process, basically you need to do a bunch of research on agents (preferably more than 50) who represent the genre and audience for which you write. Next, you want a three paragraph query letter to help you sell your book – not your life, family, or personality – you’re BOOK. You only write this after the book is finished. Not half way through, or right after you’ve finished your outline. The manuscript must be done and edited to the best of your ability.
Then, you pick out a handful of those agents that you’ve come close to stalking for the past couple of months, and start sending out your query letter and whatever else their submission guidelines call for.
And finally, you sit back and wait.
I personally am not a fan of waiting. So this part is super hard for me – as I expect it to be for most writers. We sit there and stare at our email inbox or continuously jump for joy when the mailman arrives – stumping our dog with our odd behavior. We bite our nails down to nubs and hope and pray that maybe someone is interested in what story you have to tell.
And then you open that email or letter, only to see something like,
“I’m sorry, but your manuscript just isn’t right for us.”
Mr. Agent Man.
It’s easy to deflate at those ten words. But let’s take a look at what it’s saying, or rather, what it’s not saying. It DOES NOT SAY:
- You’re a terrible writer.
- Your idea is stupid.
- You are stupid/incompetent/an idiot/should move to a deserted island and take up teaching octopi to play the trumpet and create a real-life Little Mermaid and give up writing forever.
It does say: “It’s not right for us.”
What does this mean? They know it won’t fit well with what they’re used to taking on. . . and it’s their loss! You are still talented, still bright and full of ideas that other people might be interested in. And guess what?
The best part is, you’ve made up a list of over 50 agents to say, “Hey, this is my story, do you want to read it?” to.
What it all boils down to is:
There are other fish in the sea, and what might not be your top choice may end up working out to be the best thing that’s happened to you.