Or, The Search For Silver Linings
Welcome to the latest in my series following my attempt to get published for the first time. I come with Big News. Not the Big News that causes champagne corks to pop, sadly, but Big News nonetheless: I have received my first rejection.
When I started this series I said that I would share any triumphs or failures, and do you know what? I’m undecided as to which this is. Obviously it’s not the kind of triumph I’m after, but it does give me a sense that I am ‘in the club’. From my research for preparing to approach agents, I reinforced the knowledge that there aren’t many published authors who haven’t faced between one and a gazillion rejections (see J K Rowling for details), so in a way, if you squint really hard, I’m actually closer to being published.
For those trying the same thing as me, and for those with no intention of ever writing anything, I thought you might find it interesting to see what rejection looks like, so, with the agent’s name removed, here we are:
Thank you for submitting your work entitled A Calling-On Song to this agency. Unfortunately, I’m afraid I didn’t respond warmly enough to the story to be able to fully engage with it. As I’m sure you know, the publishing business is fiercely competitive and in order to represent a writer effectively, we do need to be one hundred percent convinced by their work.
I wish you best of luck in finding representation.
So, what to take from this? I’m sure there’s a bit of cut-and-pasting in the reply, but that’s fair enough given the volume of submissions they look at. The fact that they’ve highlighted the story as what didn’t grab them is (again, squint a bit) a sort of positive. Not every story will appeal to everyone and agents have to be an author’s number one fan to give them the support needed. That said, my novel is the definitive British novel of this generation, or so I’ve almost convinced myself. But I’ll let you all be the judge of that when it’s published!
From my days plugging away as an actor, I’ve received many different forms of rejection, both polite and preposterous, and this definitely sits near the top of the list. It further confirms that publishing is a far more pleasant industry than performance and do you know what? A literary agent has at least glanced at my novel. That makes me happy, regardless of the outcome.
Have any of you lot had rejections from literary agents (or anyone else for that matter)? How do you think this compares to your experience? And how did you stop obsessing over analysing every word of the reply?!