Rejection and the Agented Writer

How rejections make me feel.
How rejections make me feel.

After several years of querying, it’s easy to think getting an agent means the end of rejections. I mean, sure, you know that not all novels get picked up by publishers – if you’ve been making friends with other writers you probably even personally know a few who didn’t get published until their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or who-knows-how-manyth novel. But, if you’re at all like me, you probably also think that that won’t happen to you. Your book is too good, your agent is so excited, you are going to be the exception!

And maybe you will be.

But more likely you won’t.

I’m not trying to depress you, just be realistic. The only actual statistic I could find online said less than 1% of books submitted to editors get published. 1%! Now, I’m not sure how accurate that is, or whether it included unsolicited manuscripts (my guess would be yes), but even if the number is 5 or 10 or 15% of agented submissions – heck, even if it’s 50% – that’s still pretty low.

Which means you still get rejections.

My agent saves mine up, and delivers them all at once, which in a way is good – I don’t have to hover over my computer at all hours of the day (although, let’s face it, I know she’ll contact me right away with an offer, so when I’m on sub the chiming of my inbox still sends me tripping over my own feet to check). And reading a whole slew of rejections all at once can be disheartening, (especially when a rejection is nothing but praise, followed by the comment “too close to one on my list” *sob*).

I recommend copious amounts of chocolate and adult beverages while reading.

And it’s not just publishers that can reject you. Your agent can, too. Don’t worry, Bri and I haven’t parted ways (although my nightmares may try to convince me differently), but just because your agent signs you for a book doesn’t mean they’re going to like everything you write. Like my most recent PB.

But I trust Bri, and she says a book won’t sell, well, then it’s back to the drawing board.

The good news is, you can learn a lot even from an unpublished book. My writing will be stronger. And I’m loving my YA WIP. I can’t wait to show it to Bri (I have to wait, though, until it’s as good as I can make it). And Bri’s helping me fix up another PB, to replace the one she turned down.

So, yeah, rejection sucks. Wallow. Drown your sorrows in chocolate. But keep writing. Because, as J.A. Konrath says, “There’s a word for a writer who never gives up… published.”

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