We Regret to Inform You…

It’s happened. My first rejection letter came zipping into my inbox this week.

“I don’t feel I’m quite the right agent for your project. I’m regretfully going to pass.”—A very nice, albeit canned, way of saying “Your novel SUCKS.”

I know it’s not really fair to put words into the agent’s mouth like that. And I don’t actually feel that badly about it. In a perverse way, it’s a little vindicating. I’m a REAL author now—with the battle scars to prove it. And I still have a long list of agents to solicit. You only need one “yes”.

One friend suggested I print out the rejection email and frame it. Maybe (hopefully) one day I’ll look back on it from the lofty heights of my success and laugh.

My second rejection looms as well. It’s the silent type, the “I’m too busy sorting through the gazillion queries I get each week to actually respond to you. So if you don’t here from me in two weeks it’s a NO.” kind.


I get it. I do. One agent I met at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference said she had 1,500 manuscripts in her inbox awaiting judgement. And I’m sure a lot of them are woefully sub-par—I just never thought my query, my novel would underwhelm in that fashion, eliciting nothing more a than a languid click of the delete button.

Oh well. I read once that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was passed over twelve times before being picked up. Dozens of agents passed on The Help. I don’t deign to compare my book to those illustrious tomes, but it’s reassuring to know even the best combat rejection.

Ultimately, it’s a battle with yourself, a trail to remain steadfast and focused. Those authors won that battle. I will too. 

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7 thoughts on “We Regret to Inform You…

  1. Welcome to the club, kiddo. And if you’re blog writing style is any indication of your novel writing style, you, my friend, are going to be a monster success. I loved this post because it rang soooo true. We are all rooting for you. 🙂

  2. It is like being in job limbo!! Always a good time… not! But no doubt someone will pick your manuscript out of their over-clogged inbox and be totally wowed… and then email you like “Woah, awesome… let me hook you up!” … well maybe in a more business-like phrasing, but it will happen!

  3. Don’t worry with your first, or second, or third, or tenth, or twentieth. It’s a part of the process. I learned a lot from the SF Writer’s Conference this year (where I finally got some recognition after a decade of writing by having the runner up in adult fiction… but I digress). I learned that a form rejection isn’t usually a rejection of your story, just your query. Writing query letters is almost as hard as writing a novel. If they ask for a partial, or a full, then you can tell what they think of your book. Until then, they just weren’t interested in what you tried to sell them. Move on, or write a different pitch. And don’t get down. I think the final total on “The Help” was 60 “no’s” and even after she found representation it went though two or three rewrites.

    I wish you success!

    • What a wonderful point you make! At this stage, rejection is more about my query than my story. I’ve got a few queries out there for which I’m waiting replies, but if they come back as “no”, my step will be to revise my query. Thanks for the insight!!

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