Thursday, August 5, 2010

Round and Round we Go

I fair amount of my writer friends are currently entrenched in query hell - - that ping pong of emotions where you get an email saying I loved your first ten pages send me more followed by an email that says I just didn’t connect with your voice. I know that rejection is a necessary part of the game, but you sure need to have an enormous tolerance for self-inflicted pain to survive this rung of the publishing ladder.

As a humbling reminder, I have a folder of all the query rejections I received. I combed through it this morning and came to two conclusions. First, I think it is standard practice for every rejecting agent to tell us: “agenting is very subjective, and even though we could not take on your project at this time, another agent might feel differently.” Sure doesn’t feel subjective when  your inbox is piled high with rejections for your manuscript!

Second, I still don’t understand how you can like my voice enough in the first 50 pages to request a full then turn around and reject me for “not connecting with my voice.” I am beginning to think that “not connecting with your voice” is code for simply not liking my story. I almost wonder if a simple, two-word rejection of “Sorry, no” would have been easy to tolerate. At least it would’ve left no room to read between the lines.

I still get rejections for Cedar – got one just last week for a query I sent way back in December. I laughed and saved it to my rejection folder. Incidentally, I also got a request for a full with a very nice note attached apologizing for the delay in responding.

I would love to hear how your ride on the query-go-round is going and am interested in what your favorites “rejection lines” are.


  1. I needed this post. It's so nice to know that you aren't alone in the hell we call querying and that other writers have experienced the same maddening responses. Good one Trisha.

  2. I got a rejection 6 months after I signed with my agent (like 8 months after I'd sent the initial query). And even though I'd had an agent for months, it still stung just a little.

    It is so subjective though. I think editor submissions have taught me this even more because editors tend to give reasons for rejecting (a lot of agents just send form letters). One will love the voice but not connect with the story and another will love the story but not connect with the voice. Maybe someday someone will connect with everything! :)

  3. Glad you like it, Lindsay. I wrote it with you and a couple of other writer firends in mind.

  4. I am in the process of a re-write, but I dread the querying stage. I am all ready to query, even have the letter completed, but I am just not happy with the story, yet. Being a perfectionist has something to do with it. Maybe I am putting it all off on purpose. lol

  5. I posted something similar to this on my own blog called Weirdo Writer-Type. I sat down one day and did mass emails to about 50 different agents for my Coffee & Donuts story. I tagged it as YA/NA since the MC is 18 and on her own. I got some very nice rejections. I think with email the agents tend to personalize their response better... beats slipping a form rejction in an envelope.
    On 4th of July I got my first request for a partial, so keep your fingers crossed for me. Of course I still have more rejections trickling in.... ho hum. It's nice to know most authors go thru the same exact thing!

  6. I'm in query hell right now and have come to the conclusion that this story is just not up to par. This is round two, after major rewrites and a POV change. It is a very subjective business...but how many "another agent may think differently" emails can you get before you decide to throw in the towel on that particular story??? Looks like it may be time to stick my story in the drawer...but who debut, A Bitch Named Karma, was once in that same drawer. :)

    Thanks for the reminder that I'm not alone!

  7. Man, my blogroll must be messed up, cause I just got this blog posting of!

    I hear ya about the querying hell and how sometimes one needs to take a step back and just breathe. Once the cobwebs have cleared and your breathing resumes its normal rhythm, time to get back in the game!

  8. I hear you! I'm still working on my query and I keep putting it to the side, wondering if it'll be good enough. When it's finished, I won't want to send it lol
    Once you've queried all YA agents in Canada and the US and none will take you, I guess it's game over for your ms, isn't it? That's scary!
    Queries may well be necessary evils, but I hate them!