Yesterday, I got my first rejection from an agent on my new query letter.
The agent said it was a subjective rejection, that the agent just didn’t connect enough with my material to be the best possible agent for it. It was a subjective response, at least. An encouraging one. One that said “keep looking.” It was nice, and it didn’t seem like a form letter–it probably was; this agent just knows how to portray warmth in these things–and the agent even called me “Ms. Wilson.”
(Yes, I have gotten responses that were just “Dear author.” I think those are the worst because they didn’t even bother to look at your name.)
It’s still hard to get these, though. I’m frustrated because I’m trying to find the agents that would be the best possible matches, yet I’m stuck in this subjective zone, and I have no idea how to get out of it and get at least a partial manuscript request. My writing is solid. This story is solid. I know that. I’m wondering if the right agent is out there though.
This one said they love stories that challenge the reader intellectually and emotionally. It sounded like CURSES was a perfect fit. I want the reader to think, and those who have read my story have said that it made them think for a while after the story ended. I wanted people to feel frustrated with Biddy, to evaluate her actions in terms of their own ideas.
It sounded like a perfect fit. I guess it wasn’t.
I know how subjectivity works in the publishing world. As a former editor-in-chief of the magazine, I saw some amazing pieces of writing get rejected because the staff just didn’t connect with it. It sucked to have to tell the author that there was nothing wrong with their pieces, but it just didn’t work for us. I felt useless. I wonder if agents feel the same way.
I wonder if the agent thought, “This is good, but I just don’t feel it.” I’d like to think so. But I will never know. I don’t know what the agent meant by “material.” What about CURSES couldn’t she get emotionally connected with? Biddy? The narrative? Even the story line? I’ll never know.
I have been considering emailing her back and just thanking her for a prompt, friendly, and warm rejection, though.
Now I must consider my next move.
I can either keep looking, or self-publish and hope people like me enough to buy it, like it enough to pass the word along, and make a little name for myself that way.
Or I can put it aside for now, and just work on my new manuscript.
Everyone says, “It just takes time.” Yeah, well it also feels like I’m running out of agents that seem like a good fit. But still, I believe in CURSES and I think it’s a story that needed to be told. It’s a story that needs to be read. I just haven’t been able to convince any agent yet.
This is my dream. It sucks how people who are in it for money get published before I do. I’m not thinking of any author in particular, but it happens all the time.
Maybe I should write on here what my dream agent would be like. Maybe someone in the blog world could point me in the right direction.
There’s a thought. What do you think?