Monday, March 21, 2011

WRITING JOURNEY TOURNIQUET - Kissing away the rejection

My last post was about querying a little at a time and not shooting yourself in the foot by sending queries to every single agent in the industry. Well, this post is about dealing with rejection. It's tough accepting the rejections that start streaming in without diving into that plate of brownies or drinking an entire bottle of wine. You obviously love your book. Your critique partners loved it. Random people you've shoved your manuscript in front of their faces loved it. So why aren't the agents loving it?

I've come to terms with the form rejection and you should too. This one isn't personal. There could be many reasons that the agent fired off that form rejection. It's not right for her list, she doesn't handle that kind of story, or your query needs serious work. 

The partial request rejections sting a bit more, but if you're lucky you'll get feedback and can rework your pages. The full request rejection is like ... um...sour lemons.

Most likely, if you get a rejection on a full request, the agent will give you feed back, and you can revise. I was getting rejections on one of my manuscripts, so I decided to stop querying, do an extensive revision, have betas read it, and then requery. It took many months to rework it, but I'm glad I did. Not only did I make it a better story, but also I learned a lot through the tough critiques I received.  

Then there are the conflicting rejections or revise and resubmits where agents feel differently about your work. One says it's moving too fast and another says it's going too slow. What do you do when you have conflicting suggestions? You take a step back, breathe, ask your betas their thoughts, and decide what's best for the story. The story you want to tell. That was a hard one for me, because I wanted to please the agents at the cost of possibly ruining what I loved about my story. Go with your gut. Only make the changes you know will benefit your story.

It's hard not to get upset when someone doesn't like your work, but try to remember this business is very subjective. And when you feel like giving up, read the success stories on Query Tracker. I love reading them because they give me hope. We have our own success story here at DNA Writers. Read Shelley Watters' post Don't You Dare Give Up

Everyone in this business goes through rejections before they get an agent. After they get an agent, some will go through being rejected by publishers. When your book finally gets on bookstore shelves, you'll have readers pass your book by and people who won't like it. So, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, kiss off the rejections, and start all over again. And stay grounded with the things in your life that make you smile. Here's two reasons that make me smile every day...

That's it until next time.

You can find Brenda on her blog
 or on twitter here!/brendadrake


  1. Aw, the girls are so cute!! I agree, that has to be tough when you hear different things from different agents. But like you said, take a step back and tell the story YOU want to tell. Someone will notice one day ;o) Great advice, B!

  2. Thanks for putting it all in perspective, Brenda!

    I think the worst sting (so far) is the form reject on a full. Because now your hopes are really up and then you have no idea why they have been dashed. Sigh. All part of the process.


  3. Thanks - E, you really helped me with that confusing decision.

    Vickie, I haven't received a form on a full rejection, but I'm sure that's pretty frustrating.

  4. This sounds perfectly reasonable now. I know I'll have a hard time remembering that when the rejections begin to flow. I'll return and visit this post then and see if I can accept such sage words.


  5. Rejections always sting and smart at first...but you have to move on.

  6. Love the demotivational poster at the top. So fitting. Rejection sucks. Writer communities like this are a salve on the burn. Keep up the encouragement!

  7. Great post! Getting used to a form rejection is good advice, as it's pretty unavoidable.

    The girls are so cute!