Updated: Jul 10, 2022
Hey there friends, it’s Friday we made it! Today I’m giving my two cents on Rejections…
If you’re a writer who hasn’t yet started querying today’s post may be hard to read, but I think it’s important to know what you’re in for. If you’re a writer who is querying or has already been picked up by an agent, I think you’ll relate completely.
So first let me start by saying, if you’re a writer, you’re a writer regardless of whether or not your manuscript ever gets published. Today, I am going to talk about my experience with my attempts to get my manuscript published. This may or may not have anything to do with your experience. If you’re thinking about jumping into the query trenches, just know, you’re probably going to get rejected, so build up an immunity to it. Also remember, people call it the query ‘trenches’ for a reason… it’s not easy and not for everyone.
I finished my first manuscript over a year ago, and I have to say it was the most fulfilling experience of my life. But I didn’t appreciate it properly, because I didn’t know how hard the next part would be. I spent time reading, and re-reading, editing, re-writing and I felt like it was ready for public consumption. I had never thought about publishing so I had to figure out what you even do with the thing next?
So I did my research, and learned there are two routes you can take to publishing... self publish/traditional. I did a bunch more research decided I think traditional publishing is the right call for me.
Why? Well, mostly because I know I am going to need help. I have a family and a ’real job,’ but mostly I just know what I am, and what I not good at. I know that I can’t sell stuff so marketing-not for me. I of course will help, it’s my book, but I need a clear path to follow with people who will guide me. Also, while I would love to give my input, I don’t know what the cover should look like, so-cover design also not my thing. I also know I’m going to need backup on editing, legal issues, proofs and so much more. I don’t think I’ll be able to tackle them all by myself, so I will need support.
Of course I know if you self publish, you can hire that support, but it comes at a cost, plus you have to find it all by yourself. My rational is that if I can‘t get an agent or publisher to want my book, I probably won’t be able to get consumers to either. And they are the experts, so I just think they are more equipped to help me take the next steps.
So, I did more research on how to get and agent or publisher to rep your book and found out I needed a query letter, ok… that seems easy enough right?
Not really. I spent hours and days writing and rewriting my query and trying to figure out how to boil my epic manuscript down into one paragraph that would catch an agents attention. Spoilers… I haven’t yet.
I don’t want to get on a tangent of all my the steps in the process of my submission packet, but here’s what I will say; I’m still adjusting. I’m still learning and writing and re-writing my query, bio and synopsis trying to find the perfect formula to snag myself an agent or publisher.
Along the way, I have attempted to make submissions using the query/synopsis I had at the time (which again is still constantly changing and growing). So far I have submitted twenty queries. Of those, I will admit, the first ten were completely wasted attempts. My manuscript was not in good shape, my synopsis sucked, and my query wasn’t even close. So I don’t even count those rejections. I didn’t put my best foot forward, of course I got rejected.
I don't count them, but I did get a couple things out of them... The most important thing… the knowledge that even if I get rejected, I'll survive.
Also, even if I get rejected I still think my manuscript is good and worthy. I think there is a place for it in the market. One day you will all get to meet Kaytlyn and Blayke-I’m convinced of it. So I'll keep adapting and moving forward.
I will also say, a rejection is hard, and a form rejection is even harder. It would be so great if the agent had the time to give you a real reason why they rejected your work, but they don't. I'm sure they have a hundred queries on their desk and they don't have time to fix everyone's failed attempts. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has submitted their work before it’s ready, people probably do it all the time. And they just don’t have time to let you know why, so let go of the idea that getting a rejection is going to give you any valuable insight into your work.
What I am going to do is share a few of my rejections so you can see what they look like and how to gain any amount of insight if there is any to glean.
First let’s talk about a pretty standard form letter:
I am going break down the basic outline for all form rejections:
1. Thanks for sending
2. It’s a no
3. I’m going to end it nicely so if you ever do become a rich/famous author I won’t be dumb the agent to told you, you sucked.
This is basically what every form rejection says in some iteration. I’m going to show a couple more so you can see they all basically follow this format. They may be more flowery or expand on the sentiments more, but they are all saying the same thing. Here’s another:
This one is nicer, and more encouraging, but still: Thanks, It’s a no, better luck next time.
I have never seen a query that wasn’t either a form letter or didn’t follow the format above. I did however get one, early on in the process which I spent way too much time analyzing before I figured out it was probably just another, nicer form of a form letter. Let’s look:
This one is nicer for sure. Right? But still, it’s a standard rejection.
I have highlighted the only things I think are valuable. First, ‘…the beginning isn’t pulling us…’ This is something I have seen a few times and what I got from it is I need to work on the beginning. Most agents/publishers ask for the first 5-10 pages of a manuscript with the submission package, so those pages better be edited to the absolute best they can be. If you don’t edit any other part of your book, do the first three chapters (this is the most I’ve ever been asked for in a submission). If these are edited to perfection, it may at least get your foot in the door.
Next, publishing is subjective. It’s obvious but valid. Don’t forget one person’s opinion has nothing to do with another‘s. This letter also suggests ways I can improve and learn, and gives me a valuable resource which, I have to say, I’ve looked at. It was mentioned on my previous post about resources so guess I recommend it highly! https://www.roseraynerivers.com/post/my-two-cents-on-resources
Finally, don’t forget beta readers/critique partners. They are an important step in the process (see my blog on beta readers if you need more information on that) https://www.roseraynerivers.com/post/mytwocents-on-beta-readers
Other than that, it’s pretty much the same, don’t call us, and we won’t call you! 😂
Unfortunately, I haven’t ever gotten anything other than rejections, but apparently there are a couple other options for what could happen after submission.
One option is, an agent might like your work, but doesn’t have room on their slate for it (they have another similar title, they have too many titles, etc). In that case, they might give you more insight or a recommendation to another agent they know or at their firm. They also may like it (or at least the concept) but there is just one or two things they want you to fix and they tell you what they are and ask you to resubmit later. I think these are both amazing, and I would be over the moon to receive either response.
The other option is a request for additional material. It’s pretty self explanatory but it means they like what you sent, and they want more. Again, I haven’t yet experienced this, but I will probably lose it the day that happens for me.
(See what I did there ‘the day that happens…’ because it will happen…)
Anyway, until then, I hope this post at least serves to help save you some valuable writing/editing time, so you won’t try to parse their statement for more value than you can get from it. Ultimately, rejection is hard, no matter what form it comes in. Just don’t forget, it doesn’t mean your work isn’t good, it just means you haven’t found a home for it yet. Keep going and do your best to take each rejection as a step in the process.
So that’s it! That’s my two cents on Rejection. It sucks… the end…
Have a good weekend Lovelies!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
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