Six Rejection Letters for Agents; What do they Mean?
I knew getting into writing I was going to get rejection letters. I read somewhere that there’s an average ratio of 1:12 rejection letters for every acceptance. Books like Gone with the Wind got rejected way too many times. I wonder what the agents who rejected JK Rowling felt when she made it big time?
That’s what I keep reminding myself with every rejection, but I still feel uncomfortable as they keep coming in. I mean, I know I’m not a bad writer, but what do they mean when the work isn’t what they’re looking for at this time? Does it mean that the market isn’t right for my book and that I should wait until it changes? My story is a dark fairy tale, and everywhere I look, dark fairy tales seem to permeate through pop culture. Once Upon a Time, though I’ve never seen it, seems to be rather popular.
So does that mean that my book isn’t good enough? Part of me thinks that saying “We feel your book isn’t right for our agency now” is merely a polite way of saying “We’d like as much to do with your book as we’d like to do with the feces of a worm infested cow.”
Then again, agents briefly glance over people’s queries. They get hundreds a month, so one writer’s request means little to them. Every writer feels their one work is so profound and special, but they have to read through every “profound and special” manuscript, so what they do choose needs to inevitably be the best of the best. Every writer thinks that they’re sending in the best of the best if they feel ready to query agents. It’s only when we take the time to read through our rejection letters do we realize that we weren’t nearly as great as we once thought.
However, that’s the interesting part. Just because we aren’t that special doesn’t mean we can’t still get published.
I won’t be discouraged so easily. A few rejection letters? I’ll wallpaper my room with ’em once I’m published. Every writer worth his or her salt had to deal with a couple rejections. Why should I whine about it online? I need to be published, and if I have to glance over a few letters saying no, well, that’s fine.
On the other hand, I did get a couple personalized responses from agents. One told me that the letter was good but the work didn’t engage them all too well (that actually encouraged me), whereas the other told me that I forgot to address the e-mail to them (that made me face palm myself). Until I’m published, personalized rejections will only help me learn.