Wait… Did I just… say rejections are good?!
Oh yes, yes I did!
Ok, enough gifs and onto the main point!
Basically, if you receive a rejection letter, it’s because the agent isn’t excited enough about your project, and I mean, it makes sense that they’d have to be excited, hell, you want them to be. Can you imagine, you get an agent who’s like “Yeah, I guess I’ll take this on, whatever…” Do you think your novel is going to sell much? …I wouldn’t count on it. So, the good thing about getting a rejection is that an agent was honest with you and they are just not excited enough in your manuscript to take you on as a client – and this isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually a good thing! You want the agent who represents you to be as excited and as in love with your manuscript as you are! Seriously, you don’t want someone to represent you and not be interested in your novel, so in a way, a rejection is actually good when you think about it.
“But I put in so much work, why doesn’t the agent like it?” Well, I could read the greatest contemporary novel in the world, and I probably wouldn’t like it because I just don’t like the genre. Also, despite being very popular, out of all the Young Adult novels I’ve read, I’d say I only liked 1% – so the answer is, it’s subjective. You hate that word? So do I, but when you think about it, we’re all subjective because we all have our own opinions, tastes, etc. Think about what I just wrote above, about agents having to love your manuscript – now mix in subjectivity because agents are human beings and not robots, and you get…? Bingo! Same as everyone else: opinions, tastes, etc., but they also have the market to consider (which, I won’t get into now because this bit still confuses me in some aspects) Mind you, sometimes it could be because your query needs work, your first few pages, your whole manuscript, but this is why you need to have Beta Readers read it, and if it’s something that interest you, participate in contests! You may not get in, but you’ll get invaluable help and you’ll meet other fantastic writers.
So yes, all in all, rejections always sting. I mean, all types of rejections sting to a certain extent, but really try to remember that when you do receive one, take it as a “Ok, this wasn’t the agent for me because they didn’t love my manuscript as much as I do.” and then move on, and query others.
“It’s easy for people to say stuff like this once they’ve been published!” To some extent, I believe this: I’ll read a “never give up, you’ll find your agent” from people who are represented, and sometimes, I’ll think bitterly, “Yes, easy for them to say!”, but two things here:
– Firstly, when you do get published, wouldn’t you do the same to inspire others? I mean, you’d want people to know you’ve gone through what they are going through. Put yourself in their shoes and you’ll realize they’re really trying to give hope to writers, and admit that you’d probably do the same (I know I would!)
– Secondly, I’m writing all this and haven’t been published. As a matter of fact, my first manuscript received over 200 rejections, and I decided to shelf it when I realized that trying to get a seven part series published as a writer with no credential or publications wasn’t the best way to go. I decided to save that particular series for later. The current manuscript I’m querying has received its fair share of rejection too, but I’ll keep going until I go through the whole list of agents that I can query. From there, I’ll make a decision on whether to self-publish, but for now, one step at a time
So remember: rejections are a good thing – you want an agent to love your story, and if you receive a rejection, then it wasn’t a right match, and you’ll want to keep querying and find that right one for you and your manuscript!