Why My First Proper Rejection Is The Best Thing Ever

This morning I woke up to an email with my first proper agent rejection.

Photo: iStockphoto

One would think that this gives me the right to then drink a bottle of wine at 6am in the morning, gorge myself on ice cream for breakfast, then cry myself to sleep approximately two hours later, right?

To my surprise, wrong.

Before I go on, I should clarify that I have had other rejections before: I’ve had four, which makes me a baby querier by most standards, I know. These have been on queries and partials though, whereas this rejection was on a full. A full is more personal, like the agent has seen me stripped, naked, standing there in a crowd of people. “Judge me!” I practically screamed in my email. “Please pretend the muffin top is your favourite part!”

Here’s why my rejection was, actually, quite perfect:

  • Because it had icing. Sure, I was rejected, but I was also told that this agent thought my writing was fantastic. Like that’s not a good way to pillow the blow! The agent didn’t have to say that. Technically the agent didn’t even have to reply. But, boy, am I glad they did.
  • The reason my manuscript was declined, according to the email, was that it wasn’t to the agents tastes. Seeing those words, in gmail black and white, made me feel a million times better. It wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t what they were looking for! All of a sudden, I flashed back to the four other non-personalised rejections I had received. What if that was the case with them, too? What if I wasn’t the worst writer in the world with the most ridiculous manuscript idea, but I just wasn’t what those particular agents were looking for? Why that would mean that…
  • The rejection will make me keep looking for my perfect agent. It makes me want to find someone who is 100% behind my idea, and who loves what I am putting forwards as a concept. It doesn’t mean I’m no good as a writer. It just means I haven’t found someone who likes the stuff I like, yet. And, since I’ve sent it to four people in the whole gigantically populated world, that would mean that…
  • Getting a rejection on my full manuscript made me realise that I don’t just want an agent. I want an agent that really, with all their soul and their belief and their socks, wants me, too. And I guess, up until now, I didn’t really realise that.

So, aspiring writers, that’s my advice that you’re probably all aware of, now. Don’t just search for an agent. Search for the one that is perfect for you. And, if you’re rejected, don’t be disheartened. There will be someone out there for you who will eventually love your work for your work, because they want to promote it and they truly believe in it. Don’t be sad and don’t settle for second best. Because you’re worth it, and all that, you know…


7 thoughts on “Why My First Proper Rejection Is The Best Thing Ever

  1. I wish you so much luck with the rest of your querying! I am about to enter this stage for the first time in the somewhere near-future, and hope I can handle rejections as positively as you have.

  2. Sorry about the rejection, but great that it helped you come to such an important realization. A million people have said it before me, but it really is such a subjective industry. Good luck with your hunt for the right agent!

  3. I read a really fabulous blog post by agent Sarah LaPolla in which she discussed the idea of “dream agents.” Her point was that the only REAL dream agent is the one who is totally in love with your book, who has the same vision for it as you do, and who is as committed to seeing it succeed as you are. In other words, a partner.

    I love that. When I started querying, I had no idea who I’d end up with, and now that I’ve signed after finding an agent that meets all those qualities and MORE, I’ve learned it’s worth the rejections.

    Good luck in the query trenches!

    • I know exactly the post you mean! I absolutely agree. It’s finding someone who is excited about your work, not just a person who will add you to a client list.
      Congratulations on finding your perfect agent match!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s