I am getting ready to query again after about a six-month hiatus and looked back through my records of responses and was quite pleased.
In the past, I’ve had many close calls. I’ve had full requests from publishers and agents alike for a few different books I queried. I could have given up with the mounting rejections but the rejections I’ve gotten over the last year and a half have MOSTLY been inspiring. This might not make sense to anyone who hasn’t been through the querying trenches but there is such a thing as a good rejection. A good “no” per se.
In posting this I want to say that if you are a writer seeking publication, you need to keep writing, revising and editing…but especially keep submitting.
Here are a few of my rejections:
“I loved the concept and was riveted by the world you have created, but ultimately I just didn’t fall in love with the voice. It’s not for me, but I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.”
‘There was so much here I admired and enjoyed, but I am not a perfect fit.”
“I was excited by your query and the premise of your book. It’s clear that you’ve devoted a lot of hard work to this project, and your passion comes through in your writing. However, while there is a lot to be commended, I struggled to connect with the manuscript in a meaningful way, and therefore don’t believe that I would be the most effective champion for your book.”
“This has such an intriguing premise. However, I didn't quite connect as strongly as I would have liked, so I'm passing, with regrets.
It's not so much a craft issue so much as that gut feeling I rely on when deciding to ask for more.”
“I really enjoyed the read and think you have a great voice. Your world building is extremely strong and the characters are brilliant, but I’m afraid I’m going to say no. My list is very small and I can only take on what I really love, and whilst this is a book I’d definitely pick up in a bookshop, I don’t feel I’m the right agent to champion your work.”
So as you can see, I've reached the point where that cliché thing agents say—it's just not right for me—is really true. My writing is not for everyone, just like every book, song, food, color or whatever isn't for everyone. We all have different tastes. I love Beyonce, IndiaArie, basketball, the color red, Black Panther, Arizona Ice Tea, sushi, chicken, Starbucks, anything J.K. Rowling touches, among many other things...but these are my tastes. Now, when I query I have to be much more choosy, I am on the lookout for an agent who loves my writing and sees a vision for my career not just the book they like. That, my friends, is a whole 'nother ball game.