Today, I thought I’d talk a little bit about rejection letters. Any new writer and even established authors receive rejection letters and I have to say, in the last year, I have received my fair share. The important thing is to not let it get you down. You have to keep trying. Here are a few ways to keep moving forward and to get closer to your goal of getting an agent!
- If your query is continually rejected:
Something isn’t working for you and you need to re-think your query. Do some research online and find out what exactly the agency you are submitting your work to wants. Last year, after receiving little to no feedback, I decided to re-write my query and all of a sudden, I was getting requests for proposals from multiple agents. Hey, it’s not exactly landing an agent, BUT it is a step in the right direction! So, congratulate yourself when you get past that first initial query!
- If your proposal doesn’t get the agent to request your manuscript:
Okay, so you’ve sent your query and the agent is interested enough to check out the proposal, so you send it. Now, you wait. Most agencies take up to 60 days to reply and if you still haven’t heard from them after day 60, they are not interested in your work. Sigh.
Yeah, this has happened to me as well. What did I do wrong? They were interested in my story! What happened? Well, the proposal is your job résumé and if it isn’t polished and fitted just right to their company’s needs, they won’t contact you. You have to check every single agency’s guidelines and adjust your proposal to fit them. I know it is tempting to create a generic query and just blast agents with the same query in one day, but you have worked so hard on your book. You have invested hundreds of hours of work into it. Put a little more thought and time into your proposal. It will pay off.
- If your manuscript is rejected:
“Your query and your proposal were amazing! Send us your manuscript!” You happily send off your manuscript and wait. Tick tock. Another 60 day wait. Why aren’t they responding?! The writing world moves at a glacial pace. You have to be patient. You have to have courage and perseverance. If your manuscript is rejected, keep sending it out. If it is rejected more than a few times, go back, review it and work on it and send it out again!
When I started to send out one of my first manuscripts, I thought it was pristine. Again and again my book was rejected and given some pointers on how to make it better, which I noted for my next book because the changes the agents suggested would take an entire re-work of my first novel and I was overwhelmed and okay, a little discouraged. After about 15 rejections, I put it on the shelf and focused on my new manuscript with fresh eyes and new goals based on the agents’ suggestions.
Six months after I shelved that first manuscript, I went back and looked over it…the agents were right. It wasn’t ready and it would require a lot more love before I attempted to send it out again. Sometimes, time is what you need to get a fresh perspective.
I have just begun to send out my next novel and I am hoping and praying that an agent accepts it “soon,” as in before I die. But, you have to remember: when you get a rejection letter, they are not rejecting you. They are rejecting the work and as much as you see it as a work of art, the agents see it as a product. They are there to sell a product and if the product isn’t ready, it won’t sell well, so take heart and “hone your craft” and focus on the agents’ feedback. That critique was hard for me to hear haha but it helped push me. I’m not in the door yet, but at least I’ve got my toe in the door! So keep it up! You can do it!