Well, in a record time of about an hour and a half, I received a nice rejection to my query. A stew of emotions followed, so let me break them down as I am certain if you are a writer you can relate:
Relief – that first “no” is out of the way
Appreciation – hey, someone read it…
Sadness – the thought of this being a trend. Wondering how badly it might have been received. What did I do wrong?
Doubt – maybe this isn’t meant for me? Maybe it is a hobby and not a career.
Well, after a quick slap to my subconscious I realized it for what it is, someone doing their job. I was told simply they weren’t the right agent for this book. They thanked me for my letter and wished me luck on my journey. Shit, a “no” doesn’t get much nicer than that.
What we (as aspiring authors) have to realize on our end is the right person is waiting for our manuscript out there. It’s a matter of finding them. I don’t want somebody who doesn’t care about my work but thinks they can still sell it somehow. I want somebody passionate about it, not head over heals excited, but passionate. I want someone focused on knowing more about my work and me and where I want to take it.
Literary agents have a tough job and they get it from both ends. They have to tell people no on projects they may have been working on for a better portion of their lives. And, on the flip side, when they do accept a manuscript, they have to sell it to publishing houses who will probably tell them no.
I don’t mind as much when I realize the simple fact my book at a glance may not be the exact thing people are looking for. It’s not a character assault. They aren’t saying it was poorly written or conceived. They just weren’t the one. Now, the rest of you literary agents don’t have to keep telling me no. You can lead me on a little.
Still, that first cut is the deepest.