“After careful consideration…”
That was how the email for my first rejection started.
After carefully considering the options for the first book in my YA supernatural series, I had decided to find an agent.
Having already had the manuscript professionally assessed by an editor who told me that it had potential and was suitable for the market, I took my sparkling, edited MS, put together a query letter, and sent it out.
Unfortunately the list of agents I was working off was small, and half of the agencies weren’t open for new submissions at the time.
The first agency gave no response whatsoever, but that was fine and to be expected. Another agency got back to me and asked to see a synopsis and 50 pages.
A week later I was told that agency was going on a break (quick tip: sending out queries at the end of the calendar year is the worst time to do it). I would have to wait until the new year before hearing any news.
Patiently I waited, then three weeks after the agency was open to submissions again, I got the email. My first rejection. After careful consideration.
It was nicely worded and gently let me know that they didn’t think they were the right agency for the work and to keep trying other agents or even go straight to publishers.
I got back on the horse, sending off another query email right away to the next agent on my list.
That agent contacted me a few days later asking to see a synopsis and sample chapters. They were just as swift with their rejection, simply telling me they couldn’t express interest in the project and how it’s a long and challenging voyage to get your work looked at and that the competition is fierce—you know—just in case I didn’t know that already.
The hard truth is that it takes months to hear back from agents.
Everything about querying takes a long time. There are agents you’ll never hear from, agents who’ll demand that you only send to them and then expect you to wait months until they get back to you. Agents that will require you to send through snail mail, sample chapters, detailed bios, writing resumes, answer a million questions, ask that you already have all of your social media up and running, and grant them the naming rights to your first-born (well, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea). And you’ll do it all because you want to be published.
You’ll jump through the hoops, and you’ll be rejected again and again and again. You could even be like me, two years out and still sending out query letters, hoping today will be the day that you finally hear some great news; that your work has carefully been considered and someone wants to represent or publish it.
I’ve been rejected enough now that the sting of that first rejection doesn’t burn as much as it once did, or as hot in the rejections I’ve received after, but I haven’t let it stop me from trying. Because, after careful consideration, there is nothing else that I would rather be doing.
– K.M. Allan