Monday madness, dear readers. Are you feeling the drag of the week? Did your day start of great? Or did your week begin in disaster already? To those who’ve begun their week with a bang, kudos! May the streak continue. For those who’ve started their week in less than pleasant circumstances, it’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day and all that.
So, last week, I wrote a little about the querying experience. Every time I get updates about agents, I still feel like I need to send them a query. Funny how that happens sometimes. At the end of that post, I promised to write about rejection.
Everyone goes through rejection in some form or the other. I won’t get into the rejections suffered when in a relationship. That’s a whole different post. What I want to focus on is the rejection every writer starting out receives. I think it would be easier to count writers that don’t get rejected than those that do. Yes, there are those mythical cases of getting a yes the first time out. We won’t focus on those, either. What I want to look into is the writer that sends out query after query and receiving rejection after rejection.
When I started out querying Lunar Heat, I felt nauseous the whole time. I would send out ten queries per week. When the rejections started coming in, I felt bad. Of course, I felt bad. In the beginning, it feels bad, but I soldiered on. I began changing my mindset when it comes to querying. I realized that querying is actually a process of elimination. Remember, your goal is to find the best agent to represent your work. You don’t want someone who’s only half interested in your work. You want someone excited about your story and willing to go out on a limb to sell it to editors and publishers—the kind of agent that gives a hundred and twenty percent.
Rejection is a necessary evil in the business of publishing. The question is: will you let a rejection stop you from seeing your work in print? All you need is one yes. No matter how many queries you send out, all you need is one yes. Of course, it’s nice to have several agents wanting to represent your work, but in reality, one is more than enough. And, the best part, you can always query the agent again after a few months. They may have rejected you the first time around because your novel isn’t what they’re looking for, but maybe the next time you query your novel becomes exactly what they are looking for.
The author that became my inspiration when it comes to querying is J.K. Rowling. She queried and queried, getting one rejection after another, until someone gave her a chance. Imagine how those who passed up her work must feel now that she’s made a bazillion dollars? One yes. That’s all it takes.
Once you have your list of agents that you plan to query, don’t let getting rejected get to you. Mourn the rejection for a couple of hours (even a couple of minutes) then move on. Remember, there’s an agent out there for you. Someone who wants to represent your work. Someone who believes in what you’ve written and will encourage you to make it the best that it can be. Someone who will champion your work. Weed out the rest and find the very best. There’s nothing wrong with rejection. Actually, come to expect it. An agent rejecting you does mean that your work is crap. It means that he or she is not the right person to represent your work, and maybe, you won’t want someone without passion for your work representing you anyway. With so many agents out there, you would be hard pressed not to find one.