I knew mentally that it would be a difficult process to query and hope for acceptance in the traditional publishing machine. I knew that agents are sent hundreds (sometimes thousands) of queries a day. That means a lot of work is overlooked, missed or simply passed up on.
Knowing that did not discourage me. I was confident in my story and in my writing in general. I have had teachers, relatives, friends and strangers tell me that I have a gift. I have been a writing star in their eyes since I could write.
This was something I never pursued. It was a constant and I never felt like I had to force it or flaunt it. It was an absolute. My ability was natural and something that would always be there. A strength that would aid me in other ways through the years.
As an adult I am finding my sense of self and my voice. This has sent me down many paths but I finally found my calling. Writing. It has always been there for me. My inner strength and gift. I spent one year writing four books. I worked hard and have taken the time to ensure this series is something I am proud of.
In sending it out into the world I am left vulnerable. I am exposed at my most raw level to complete and total strangers. That is what it feels like to hit "send" on a query letter. I took that action over twenty five times so far.
The first rejection came less than a week after I sent out a mass batch of queries. It was as kind as a rejection could have been. I was frustrated that it lacked a real reason for the rejection. It simply said that it was not a right fit and wished me luck on finding an agency that would support my book 100%.
The next rejection came a week or so later and that was very similar. It seemed like I was getting a standard rejection letter from these agencies. I appreciated the fact there was some level of kindness as rejection is hard on a person.
A few weeks later I received a third rejection letter. That letter was terse and short. It had a very "f**k you" vibe to it. That stung a great deal. Not only did it lack a real explanation it felt like there was a lack of respect with it. It felt like they felt my book and my writing was nothing but trash and would not waste their time on it.
I almost broke down after that. It was no longer just frustrating to me. It felt personal and it felt like I was a failure. I wanted to run to the safety of my covers and stay in bed for a week. I did not do this. I decided to pick myself up and move forward.
It was two days after my birthday that I took action. There was an agency that is my dream agency. I want to be their client very badly. I had held off on sending a query to them because I knew a rejection from them would wound me.
In the end I decided to take that leap. I did not want fear to hold me back from trying. It was time to take a breath and believe in myself. I believed in my work. The action of hitting the send button was a thrill and terrifying all in one action.
The website for the agency that I dream of being accepted by stated it will take quite a while for them to get back to me. They get a lot of submissions and want to be sure that they are fair to the queries coming in. I respect that and eagerly await their decision.
A few days later one of the queries I sent out previously garnered a response. It was a longer response and it was very kind. They explained some reasons as to why they were rejecting my book. I really appreciated that and felt like it was a turning point. That was until I realized something...
The rejection was not coming from the agent. It was coming from her -intern-. The query was given to an intern to read and then accept or reject. The agent herself did not even read a line. My fate was in the hand of someone volunteering to work in her office. -pinches the bridge of her nose-
In a way it would have been better to have just stayed in the slush pile or tossed out. This means my book was not worthy of consideration by someone at the bottom of the totem pole. My work in essence was considered trash and the intern could not find it in her heart to say that.
I felt gutted. It was the first thing I read once my eyes were open. It felt like more than a rejection. It felt like all of the hope I had felt in sending my query to my dream agency was sucked right out of me. I felt complete and total despair and discouragement.
It felt like an arrow to the heart. My hope was fading. There are days when I feel that way about my writing being accepted. I feel like it is an uphill climb and nobody is willing to have an actual conversation with me. I feel like if someone actually knew me as a human and read my work with an unbiased view they would love it.
That is not how traditional publishing works. And so I hope these scars from the process are worth it. I hope they make me strong. I will either end up traditionally published or I will self-publish and cut out the middle men. But, there is one thing you can be confident in and that is the fact my books will be published and they will be successful.