This was big week for me. I received three... yes three rejections on my work.
Defined as "the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc." One rejection hurts, but three? Ouchie Wa Wa!
What the Thesaurus says was a bit less comforting....
Each of these synonyms captured a bit of the extremes that I felt when my "wanna-be picture books" were not wanted. I started out with the feeling that it was a "kick in the teeth," and most definitely a "hard time." As the days pass, however, I am slowly working toward thinking of it as a "thumbs down" or a "pass."
One "veto"was from an agent who I really liked and longed to partner with. She liked my work well enough to ask me to send more for her consideration. In the years I have been submitting, this is the first time an agent has asked for more work. I was ecstatic and very hopeful.
As the months wore on, I thought it was surely a good sign. I imagined the agency office when my email arrived:
A smile creeping across her face as she read my submission, because at long last, she had found the perfect manuscript... mine!
Days flying by as she eagerly shared my lovely words with her fellow agents planning all they would do when they acquired it.
Meetings being held to discuss just the right illustrator, a Caldecott winner for sure.
Hours upon hour scouring their production list to see if they could squeeze it in this year, because
This story needs to be in the world. NOW!
Imagination can be a fool's comfort in these situations, allowing me to have in fantasy, what I cannot seem to attain in reality. Over the months, I stalked my email multiple times a day.,
Then finally, this week they came.
"I enjoyed reading all three of your clever and fun manuscripts.
Each has different strengths and it was a pleasure to see your writing range."
"I'm always grateful for the opportunity to review what an author has poured time,
skill, and heart into creating!
"Thanks for your query. I’m afraid this one isn’t for me."
and finally each ending their email with some version of the all-to-familiar closing lines...
"These reactions are entirely subjective and I don't want to be discouraging. Another editor will feel a stronger connection and I wish you every success with your thoughtful work."
Ugh! The agents were all very kind, mind you, and a couple even had very nice compliments for me, which were so appreciated. I really am very grateful for the time they took to consider my work. Their job is not easy.
It still sucks though.
The one lesson you learn very throughly in this business is about rejection. Comments on your work are so subjective. I understand. It is part of the process. The agent may have gotten a manuscript similar to mine, they may be looking for something entirely different or most likely, they just did not connect with it.
You do your research, choose just the right manuscript to send, write a knock out query letter complete with polished pitch, comp titles, and courageously send it off. Fingers crossed you will get "the call." But sometimes it can feel like throwing darts and not getting one on the board.
I still hope to get "the call" one day, but as a "late bloomer" I have to work hard not to get discouraged. Each of my many stories, finally complete after multiple drafts revision and critique, sit patiently in my files waiting for the day that they will be read and loved and acquired; when an amazing illustrator will bring them to life with their magic.
In the mean time, I implement another word I have gotten to know quite well-
Re- meaning do again. Vision- meaning seeing.
"To take another look at"
I will research and find another agent that looks promising. Then "alter, amend and improve" my query letter, "reconsider" my manuscripts again, perhaps adding a bit of "review, editing, and polish" to my text. Then bravely hit "SUBMIT," because this is what writers do. They write, put their heart on a page in 500 words, send it out for acceptance and then write some more while we wait. For it is in the waiting that we realize we did it. We wrote and had courage to share it.
Time to get querying.
Here's to crossing my tired fingers once again. :)