Last week I received my first official rejection letter (email actually. Nobody uses snail mail anymore). With that rejection letter comes mixed feelings for me as a writer and as a person.
Rejection is never easy. It’s even tougher when you and your art are rejected. Writers wanting careers, as with any artist wanting to make money with their craft, walk a tightrope between artistic freedom and selling your creative self to marketing, agents, and publishers.
In that respect, this rejection letter from a query letter I sent out weeks ago is painful. I hated it. I still hate it. My hands shake when I think about it. This is a well polished novel that has received scrutiny of about a dozen writers (not family and close friends…though some of these writers are in fact friends now) and a year and a half of 5 different revisions.
On the other hand, this rejection letter comes with some success.
First, the rejection came within two week of sending this literary agent my query letter. For those of you who have queried agents know, any response is great. At least you KNOW!
Second, the rejection, which could have said anything, came off sounding quite positive. When I first started writing, I queried some poor literary agent with a shitty second draft of my novel. They wrote back within a few weeks saying that my grammar sucked. OUCH! …but point taken.
18 months, 3 revisions including two total overhauls, four different critique group critiques, and a lot of growing as a writer, and I think this novel is officially ready to go to the next level.
Last week’s rejection letter said that he “didn’t connect with the material…(but) that this business comes down to personal taste…and another agent may feel different.”
Don’t get me wrong. Rejection is rejection. And the outcome here remains the same. No agent!
However, do you notice any serious negativity? Nope! Could this be a form letter he sends to the hundreds of lame applicants that shower his desk every week? Sure. But he could have told me what the last agent said. And he could have ignored my query altogether. It made it through his slush pile.