Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Back to Square One

So my very first full request ended in rejection. And not just any rejection, but a push-button form rejection with no feedback at all.

Sigh. The rejection itself didn't surprise me, but the lack of commentary did. The agent had seemed genuinely excited to read my story, so the run-of-the-mill "thanks but no thanks" felt like an extra kick in the pants.

I immediately got back on the query horse, but folks, this probably wasn't such a good idea. I was exhausted and depressed, and the Full R came on the heels of my 8 billionth negative pregnancy test (yes, I'm exaggerating, but it really does feel like that many). And you know what happened?

I made my first Big Querier Boo Boo. I got distracted, and instead of addressing the query Dear Ms. Agent, I addressed it Dear Ms. Last Name of the Agency Name. Oops.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say my Full R set off a flurry of bad luck. Because once it came, another FOUR query rejections followed on its heels after more than a week of radio silence. Exactly what you want when you've just had your hopes crushed, right?

But it's like I told the lovely Leigh Ann: if it's going to rain, it might as well pour.

Do you agree, peeps? Would you rather have all your rejections blast in like a hurricane, or endure a light but steady drizzle?


  1. If I take the hurricane, do I get an even better rainbow afterwards?


  2. Ugh, it's definitely frustrating. I'd prefer the hurricane, definitely. I hope things pick up for you soon!

  3. Oh man, when good things hit, they come in groups. Unfortunately, when bad things hit, they also come in groups. Trust me, this will pass and then you'll get three requests in a row. Good luck <3

  4. Getting whipped about by the hurricane can help get the pain over with in a hurry, but I wonder if getting a steady trickle can help with dealing with the rejection for the long case 188 rejections is what happens like for Elana Johnson and her book Possession.

    Keep going and don't give up. I hope things turn for the better before you know it.

  5. I say its all just par for the course. quirk your letter if you don't think the current one is gaining enough interest. Query very very widely and yes, it's probably best to set aside time for researching agenst and querying- maybe even compositing ten drafts in your email folder at a time before hitting 'send'. It does get easier- and I say this from experience. Don't get me wrong- full ms rejections still sting but if you're in it for the long haul you just gotta keep going. When I'm really discouraged I find port wine, sushi, and mindless teen television does me wonders. And prayer. I totally pray for the things I'd like to see happen in my life and I hope someday they'll be answered. And I'm sorry about the neg pregnancy tests:( But that too takes it's own time and I'm sure you'll get there in both respects.

  6. Oh, G. Can't believe I just saw this.

    I kind of feel like doing a post where we I invite commenters to post their query stats - just so we don't feel so alone. Including a "stupid mistakes" category. Because we ALL make them.

    I, like Angela, am making Elana Johnson my query benchmark. If I send 188 queries with no takers, it's going in the drawer. Until then...who knows? Maybe our agents are all out there, waiting to squeal over our query letters in their slush piles.


  7. I've returned to my square one more times than I care to count. (I fear my query horse is a bona fide nag by now!)

    I think I prefer the drizzle.

    Good luck!

  8. Rejections hurt no matter when they arrive, but a flurry of rejections all at once can really crush your optimism -- especially if they come on top of another, personal disappointment.

    As for the form rejection, try not to take it personally. I've seen more than one agent explain in interviews that it takes too long to write feedback for a "no." They literally have hundreds of submissions and not enough time. I also saw one agent say that it only took one or two authors emailing her back to argue with her feedback to stop giving feedback altogether. (Another case of obnoxious people spoiling things for everybody else.)

    Whatever you do, don't give up. Keep querying. And keep revising based on any feedback you get, so that your next request will go out with your most up-to-date version of the manuscript.

    And in your spare time (!), start writing the next one!