Friday, November 19, 2010


we've all had them. I'm sure you've had your share and I assure you I've had mine. I won't bore you with the details of the many rejection letters I have in my file cabinet. We all have those. But I will tell you about a few of my "almosts."

The first time was one I've already mentioned. I sent in a sample of my novel The Way to Dendara and it was chosen to be critiqued by Dave King, then with Writer's Digest Magazine. He sent me a copy of his critique (all very flattering) and I was frakking thrilled, as you might imagine. Now I could mention what Dave King said in every query letter I wrote to an agent who was sure to be impressed. But the critique of my first ten pages never got published. I finally emailed Writer's Digest and they said it got cut. I can't remember why but it was pretty damn disappointing.

The second time was with the same novel which I sent to an agent who eventually wrote back she'd like to see the entire manuscript. This was a while back when you actually had to print the entirety of your manuscript and send it off snail mail to the agent. After months and months I finally wrote. No response. Then I called, nervously, I might add. I mean I was doing everything right. I sent my manuscript with plenty of return postage and I had waited more than the allotted time before first writing and then calling. The agent said my manuscript was with another agent who was out on maternity leave. I never heard anything more nor did I ever get my manuscript back. Definitely disappointing.

The third time was when I sent a query for The Way to Dendara to an editor at Penguin who was accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Over a year later she wrote me back – much to my surprise – and apologized for the tardiness of her reply; she was very interested and would I please send her the complete manuscript? Would I? Hell yes! Sadly, I was not blogging at that time and had no beta readers, no crit partners, and no one to tell me that my 154,000 word fantasy was as bloated as a tick.

Needless to say she passed. Huge disappointment.

As of this moment in time a few sample chapters of my novel Almost Paradise are with an agent who has also expressed an interest in my current wip, Grimoire and I have no clue how this is all going to pan out. I’m hoping it won’t turn into another disappointment but even if it does, guess what? I’m not giving up. Among those rejection letters were a few that offered hope along with the thanks but no thanks, an offer to submit again, words of encouragement. Not to mention my awesome crit partners who are helping me make Grimoire into the best story it can possibly be.

And those disappointments I mentioned? They are lessons. Lessons I needed to learn. Magazines cut stuff and it isn’t personal. Agents go on maternity and maybe they never come back. Editors love a good story but not one that’s packed with way too much unnecessary information that does not in any way move the story along.

Care to share your disappointments and what you learned from them?


  1. Oh wow, what stories!! Success will certainly feel sweeter when you get the call!

    I've never submitted anything before. Well, art things, some which I was a finalist, some not even through to the first round of judging. Such is life. But never writing. I think that will be much harder. Writing is much more personal, I think (to me, at least!)

    Excellent post! *crosses fingers* All my luck for you and the interested agent!!

  2. No you should NOT give up, because these are a LOT of positive responses. And one of these days the right ms. will get to the right editor and you will celebrate!

  3. Good post, Marcy, and you know I needed to hear this right now. I remember reading similar stories of disappointments and near misses on Tawna Fenske's blog awhile back.

    I've just been squashed flat as a pancake by a double rejection this week. I'm trying to remember that no matter how many times Wile E. Coyote got flattened by an anvil, he was always back good as new in the next scene.

    Here's hoping that in the next scene, the Coyote catches that scrawny bird ... and you and I both get some good news. :)

    And you know I love Grimoire!

  4. I think you do have to take hope from the "good rejections." Many years ago I sent my entire manuscript to an editor at Little Brown who showed it to her colleagues but rejected it. I realized it wasn't really read to be submitted and have edited it many times. But just getting that far gives me hope,

  5. I completely agree, Natalie. I'm sure if The Way to Dendara had been a tight 110,000 words rather than the bloated 154,000 I might be seeing on shelves today.

    Thank you Dianne, and you know I love Pinpoint and CG, too!

  6. Hey girlfriend(waves)I, too, have had many close calls and many rejections. But like you, I won't give up on this dream. I believe in it too much. I think that hope is everything. It keeps us going despite all of difficulties we face. I think what's most difficult for me is that, as an editor who mentors reporters/writers and is constantly giving them feedback and encouragement, I long for the same. I'd love to work with someone who believes in my work as much as I do and helps me make it the best it can be. Just tell me what I need to do and it will be done. Anyway, good luck with your work. I think with your tenacity, you will prevail. It's only a matter of time.

  7. I come from the generation of Keep On Truckin'

    But that gets old. Sometimes we need a virtual pat on the back from friends to keep that chin up.

    and to that end, go to my blog and pick up your award.

  8. I had around five or six partial or full requests that were eventually passed on. Rejection sucks. But yes, lessons were learned and I moved on and am back in the querying game. Good luck!


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