Anyone who has ever queried knows that rejection is part of the bargain. Aspiring writers have the phenomenal (really, when you think of it, it is pretty awesome) opportunity to cold-submit their manuscripts to agents with the knowledge that their e-mail will be read (or skimmed, depending on query quality and fit) and that they will receive a response at some point, however formulaic it might be. The cordiality and professionalism agents use to approach and delve through their slush pile is admirable. All of these considerations, though, may not assuage the instinctive hurt that a form rejection sitting in your inbox will evoke. I put so much into my manuscript, and they said it isn’t good enough? Initiate identity crisis / professional crisis / imposter syndrome / all of the above.
The bare fact is that rejection is inevitably going to be a consistent and repetitive experience for any writer seeking an agent, despite a manuscript of the highest quality, editing, and originality. Agents consider not just quality, but also genre fit, marketability, and their existing client list (among many, many other aspects of the publishing world that I am sure I have little knowledge of). So, how do you stay motivated and confident when only rejections seem to be streaming into your inbox?
1) Don’t dismiss the power of positive thinking. . .Check out Literary Rejections (@
2) Get feedback to make your manuscript even better (or to assure yourself that it is as finely polished as a High Tea Set). Have you seen the detailed workshop offered by From Pitch to Published? Amazing opportunity, if you have a little saved to put towards your writer’s life. Sign-up by July 15th for the next online workshop, which starts on Sept. 1.
3) Read interviews with published authors, who can tell you just how many times they were rejected before they were published. Writer’s Digest has a great archive of author interviews (I know, I really do love their site).
4) When in doubt, just remember: J.K. Rowling and Judy Blume were once in your seat, too, and they didn’t give up.
Have faith, do good work, and keep in touch. . .