Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Want To Quit

I just received the rejection from hell.

It wasn't a bad rejection, in fact it was very informative, but it was the fact that I got a rejection.

I met the agent this summer and we hit it off at Thrillerfest. We developed a great email and forum dialog, and I knew she was going to be the agent for me.

We were both raised in the midwest and seemed to have similar tastes in books. When we were talking at the conference we were both reading a very popular book that neither of us liked, and for the same reasons. I felt like I had a connection.

So when I received the rejection it was not only hard, it was the worst possible feeling for my publishing dreams.

I feel like I want to throw in the towel, move on to something else, give it up.

I want to take the four books that I have completed, and self publish them all, not for vengeance, or anything like that, but so that I will be done with them, so I don't have to think about them anymore.

I want to take the one that I'm working on and hit the delete key, not only because I'm having problems with it, but I feel like, what's the point. It will never be published anyway.

I'm pretty down about the whole process right now.


I'm not going to quit.

I can't.

I like the creative process too much. I like coming up with new stories, new twists, new ways to tell them. I like putting the movie I see in my brain down on paper.

And if I examine what the agent said in more detail, it was actually quite positive. She said that I just missed the bullseye. She couldn't quite identify with the first scene and how the main character was put into that situation in first person. It was all positive feedback, feedback that I can use to make it better.

And that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to make it better so that the next agent can't possibly find a reason to reject it.

If you want to make it in this business you have to keep going. If you quit, you'll never make it.

Yes, I feel like quitting, yes, I'm pretty upset, but when I finally get the plot worked out for my next work and I'm writing down all the scenes that are flying around in my head, I'm going to forget all about rejections. I'll be back to doing what I like to do best, writing stories.

How about you? What's your worst rejection story?


  1. D00d I feel you.
    Been there, bought the Kewpie doll.

    I had two agents with a story of mine, they were my favorites, and I actually had built up a real connection with one of them. She and I still talk to this day. But she said it wasn't High Concept enough...I didn't know what the hell high concept was...but I do now.

    To salt the wounds even more...she's not even an agent any more. Sheesh.

  2. I have a long, involved, terrible rejection story, but I don't even want to go there. Just know that it happens to all of us.

    I don't think self-publishing is a bad idea. Things are changing in publishing right now. Publishing anything is hard these days.

    Good luck, and don't lose heart!

  3. I think my worst rejection involved querying a VERY renown and respected agent with a YA I have, and getting rejected. BUT, we talked, the rejection was something he said he'd struggled with. He thought my voice was great, my writing was unique and yet commercial. He said he expected that the ms would land me an agent soon. AND he said for me to keep him in mind if I ever had other projects to send out and the ms HADN'T gotten me an agent yet. So when I did have another project, and I still didn't have an agent, I DID send it to him. And he remembered me (!) And had even talked to his assistant about me because THEY knew me (!!).... and then that ms got rejected. And not with the uplifting 'hopefully we can keep in touch' notes of the first ms. It wasn't a form rejection either, but it was different. And I thought, 'This is it! I failed on the second book! (unrelated to the first one I'd queried) I can't write. The first book was an accident!' But eventually, I got over it and I realized that my writing is good. I've gotten a couple of more rejections since then, all of them supportive, not form rejections. And that agent did care. He complimented my work. That's valuable. It just wasn't the answer I wanted to hear.

    I'm going to win eventually. It's just a matter of time. And so are you. :)

  4. Definitely don't throw in the towel...have you tried submitting directly to the slush pile of your favorite small-to-midsized publisher (Poisoned Pen, Midnight Ink, etc.)? Take the agent's suggestions (if you find them helpful), resubmit to the agent who rejected you, and consider a simultaneous submission to an independent publisher.

  5. Thanks for all the encouragement and don't worry guys, I'm not going to quit just yet. My enthusiasm is a little deflated at the moment, but it will come back. It always does.

    @liz I've never tried a small publisher, but I agree, it might be worth a shot.


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