Sunday 21 October 2012

Turn a negative into a positive

In the last week or so I have received two more rejections from literary agents for my first novel.  I know rejections are a rite of passage for any author, but it's still not nice to get them.  Each one I've received has knocked a little bit of enthusiasm out of me.  I don't want that to happen.  I want to keep a strong grasp on my drive to be published, and not let these minor knock-backs affect me.

On 18th October, I received this e-mail.

Dear Rebeccah Giltrow

Thank you for your submission. We apologise for the delay in responding, which is due to a large backlog of submissions.

Unfortunately, we do not feel sufficiently committed to your material to offer representation. As you know, this is a highly competitive field and an agent needs to be 100% behind a writer in order to represent them effectively. Unfortunately, we cannot give detailed feedback.

We are sorry not to have responded more positively, but do remember this is the reaction of just one agent, and you may well get a different response elsewhere. Thank you again for your submission and best wishes for your every success.

With best wishes

Not the best response, but at least they replied.  Again, giving the same reasons as the others.  I guess I should be used to those reasons by now.  But I'm not.

A few days later I got a letter through the post.  Before opening most things I hold them up to the light to try and see what's in the envelope.  If it looks horrible, I'll leave it to open later.  This one didn't seem too horrible.  It was in an A4 envelope, and from the feel of it, the paper inside was of a high quality.  My heart jumped.  I mean, no-one would use such high quality paper if they were going to send out a rejection, surely?  The past postal rejections I'd received were photocopies of photocopies of form letters.  But this one felt different.  If it's not a rejection, it can only be one thing; an acceptance.  I tentatively opened the envelope and pulled out the piece of paper, that felt almost card-like.  I didn't want to read it.  I didn't know how I would cope if it was an acceptance.

Dear Rebeccah Giltrow

Many thanks for sending me the pages from your novel.  I read the material with interest but I'm sorry to say that I didn't fall in love with your book in the way I had hoped to.  Thank you very much for thinking of me but I'm afraid I don't think I would be the best agent for you.

My opinion is only one in a business full of them and I hope you find someone who feels passionately about your work.  I wish you the best of luck in the future.

Yours sincerely

Ah well.  I did feel a bit deflated after these, but today I pulled myself out of it and got back on the case.  Sitting next to me is an envelope addressed to another literary agent, containing the first 30 pages of my novel, a synopsis, and a covering letter, all ready to be taken to the post office tomorrow.

No matter how much I feel like giving up, if I don't send things off then there is absolutely no chance that I will get published.  So if I do send things off, there is a slim chance that I will get published.  And that's got to be better than nothing, right? 

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