Thanks, But No Thanks

Something that comes with being an aspiring author is rejection. I began by submitting a query letter, with a portion of my novel, to a few literary agents and a few publishing companies. Within approximately two weeks I received my first rejection letter. While the idea of a rejection letter has no affect on my morale whatsoever, my first rejection letter was… let’s just say, less than comforting.

At very least, I expected to receive a form letter:

“Thanks so much, we read your work, unfortunately it’s not for us, thanks anyway, etc., etc.”

My first rejection letter was much more impersonal. More impersonal than a form letter? Yes. My first rejection letter simply said:

“Thanks, but no.”

Nothing more, nothing less. Again, this doesn’t bother me because I was rejected, this particular literary agent knows what they’re doing, they’ve been in the business for some time, and knows what they’re looking for. The reason this irked me, was because it was so severely impersonal, and “empty.” But, I’ll live and I’ll persevere.

Additionally, I received my second rejection letter.  (Yay!!) This one filled me with excitement. I’m almost certain it was a form letter, but it was thought out. A full email page, four paragraphs worth of:

“Thanks, but unfortunately not what we’re looking for,” and “Keep trying, just because it’s not our forte doesn’t mean it’s not good work.”

As I said, a form letter, but I read this and thought, “Thank God, that this was a thought out, full letter.” It made me feel that the work I put into my novel was worth it, not just brushed aside with a few words. Hell, it even made the anxiety from simply seeing the bold “new email” font in my inbox, worth it.

So, the moral of the story is simply this: Keep trying, don’t let rejection get you down. You can scour the internet for aspiring author stories, and ninety percent of them will say that they received dozens of rejection letters from agents and publishers. What I’ve come to realize is, that rejection letters shouldn’t be viewed as failure, rejection letters should be viewed as a milestone, as a rite of passage. The number of rejection letters you receive will showcase how hard you worked to prove that your story needs to be told. But I guess that’s just one authors opinion. And this author, I’m going to shoot for ten rejection letters. I think that sounds like a nice round number to aim for. Ten rejection letters, then the world will be ready for “The Drive Home.”  If it comes sooner than that, perfect. If it comes later, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but I’ll still persevere and I guess I’ll have to raise that expected number by a few. Coming up soon I’ll examine the research I’ve done in regards to sending query letters and book proposals. See you then.

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4 thoughts on “Thanks, But No Thanks

    • I know! After I finished writing my first query letter I stared at it for over a week, trying to decide if it was “worthy.” Eventually, after my own editing and an author pals editing, I thought, “if I don’t send it, I’ll never find out if it’s good enough.” So, I took the leap. I still haven’t hear from the first one I spent so much time worrying about, but hopefully soon I’ll at least hear something back. Thanks for stopping by and reading by the way.

      Sean

    • I agree entirely. Word of mouth is still one of my favorite forms of publicity and marketing as well.. Not only may one studio hear about it from another, but a friend of a friend of a friend, may hear about your work and turns out they own a small publishing house. So you’re right, it very well could happen, and I think it would be an even better “success story,” in my crazy mind. Thanks for the insight and for stopping by!

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