How to Avoid the Rejection Blues
by Robin Mahle
“Dear Author, Thank you for your query, but…” I’m sure you can figure out the rest. This is how most of the rejection letters I’ve received so far begin. Some are slightly more personal in that they reference my name; others don’t bother with a salutation. Or worse yet, no reply at all; even from the ones to whom I’ve sent queries via snail mail, with a self-addressed stamped envelope, as specified. It gets to me sometimes; rejection after rejection. An author begins to question her sanity for choosing this sort of career.
It’s no easy road, that’s for sure. But to me, it means everything. And…well, the rejections are just a part of that. I had hoped, when I started sending out the flurry of queries to agents, that I would get some feedback. You know, “keep up the good work,” “maybe the next project will be a better fit,” “You just need to work on…” Blah, blah, blah. You know, things like that; something to take away the sting. But with today’s publishing landscape, I understand that agents simply don’t have the time to respond and encourage us poor writers.
I’m sure it is a combination of a couple of things. Email; which makes it super easy to send off a query, summary, etc; and electronic files, which make it even easier to send off samples of one’s work. Can you imagine the amount of emails they must get in a day? Is it any wonder they don’t respond to all of them? If I got several hundred emails every day, I think I would go crazy.
I had a theory once that if I sent more snail mail queries and sample chapters that I stood a better chance of getting picked up by an agent. I thought that maybe agents viewed the author who took the time to print everything out, sign a letter and go to the post office as somehow being more dedicated than the ones who just did email blasts of their query letters and the first 3 chapters of their work. I don’t think that anymore. I see absolutely no difference in either approach. In fact, some agents actually prefer email. You know, save the trees, etc..
So how do I get past all the rejection letters or just listening to the crickets out there in cyberspace because no one else is making any noise; ie no response? I just try and remember some of the greats. JK Rowling, Stephen King, Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help. I thought I heard somewhere; maybe it was on Oprah; that she received something like 66 rejection letters for her bestselling book. They’ve all received rejection letters at one time in their budding careers as authors. So why would I be any different?
I am learning that just because an agent doesn’t think your work is right for him/her, doesn’t mean your work isn’t right for some other agent. Keep that in mind, and you’ll be just fine.
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Genre – Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Rating – PG