I see it all too often, on the writer’s forums I frequent, on blogs, on twitter, and even at my real life writers group – aspiring authors who have written their first book – who love every word, and can’t let it go – despite the piles of rejection slips that they are accumulating. They blame the publishing industry, the agents and editors, for their failure. Often these authors look for other ways into print. Maybe they self publish – after all – they’ve put so much work into it - it ought to be out there.
Or should it?
Take a step back. Look again. Rejection is all part of the learning process. All we can do is move one and try to become better writers. And so, for anyone out there currently hunting for an agent – here is my analysis of rejection.
Type 1. You receive nothing but form rejections.
This is tough I know. You started sending out your novel, full of hope, certain that everyone must love it as much as you do. But the truth hurts. It isn’t good enough. You’re only at the first stage in your journey and you have a lot to learn. Join and writing group, attend workshops, read up about the craft. Write a better book.
Type 2. You receive a couple of personal rejections.
These can be hard to spot because agents often send out rejections that look personal but in fact use standard wording. Clues to look for are some specific reference that relates to your book or a hand written note.
This is encouraging. They see something in your work to stop and make comment – and believe me, with the size of the slushpiles these people are working through, that is quite unusual. But as with Type 1 you still have a lot to learn. Join and writing group, attend workshops, read up about the craft. Write a better book.
Type 3: Rejection on a full
This one is so disappointing. When that full request came in you were dancing round the room – at last – someone is going to love your work. Maybe you even had multiple requests for a full. This is it….
Or maybe not.
Take heart. You’re getting closer, you really are. It’s just that this book isn’t the ‘One’. Maybe the concept and writing are there, but the plot sags. Hopefully though, the lovely agent will give some feedback, although not always. There’s only one thing you can do. Try to work out where this one went wrong and – Write a better book.
Type 4: Rejection on a Rewrite and Resubmit
So you’re still not quite there but oh – so close. And it’s frustrating after all the work you put in trying to incorporate the agents comments, but your vision and theirs for this piece of work just don’t match up. Learn what you can from the experience. By all means keep sending it out – after all – you only need one person to love it! But in the meantime – Write a better book.
Type 5: The submission Process
You’ve signed with an agent who shares your vision and out it goes on submission and – guess what – it all begins again!! Time to write a better book!