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?