Friday, July 30, 2010

Rejected by the best

I don't know how many of my 'regular' readers have been annoyed with me for not posting since March. I can only lay claim to the fact that I've been writing a lot and scouring the earth for an agent. I've been scouring hard enough that most of the countryside should be gleaming by now, but I still don't have an agent.

I've gotten some good rejections, though. By good I mean they a) get to me at all, b) start with a salutation other than 'Author', and c) don't give me the feeling the agent was snickering while she wrote the email.

I received a few personalized notes, and even a couple comments. The other day I was rejected by one of the best agencies in New York. While the agent had to decline my manuscript, she didn't make me feel too bad. I mean, I'm pretty sure I am not yet a writer of a caliber to match their established authors. I do wish I could have gotten her to request more material, but it sounded to me as though she gave what I sent a fair look. So while it would have been nice if she picked me up, I can handle it and move on.

Which leads to my point. People are judged by the work they produce every day. Just as everyone doesn't appreciate the same piece of art, people don't necessarily feel moved the same way by a piece of writing. Readers, even that ultimate reader, the editor, don't like the same kinds of stories. And it has nothing to do with you, personally. Yes, our books are our creations, our 'babies'. Yes, we put our hearts and souls into them. But if a reader, judge, or editor doesn't like stories about animals, they are not going to like your saga about how the West was won by collies, coon hounds, and keeshounds. Even if their last client was Louie L'Amour. The best thing a writer can do is pick up the self-esteem, dust it off -- along with the manuscript cover -- and move along to the next agent or editor or publisher. Eventually -- unless your writing is just plain bad, in which case, you may want to take up hunting bagworms -- someone will want it, and they will let you know. And you'll be in heaven, at least until they start telling you what changes they want made.