Yup, you read that right. I’m continuing my Thanksgiving Blog Hop by talking about rejection. Weird, right? Maybe.
Well, after I wrote my first Thanksgiving blog on Thursday, I got three rejections from literary agents right afterward. Of course, I was upset at first. Writers put our heart and soul into our work, and then lay it out there for literary agents to either decide it’s worth representing and promoting, or the worst case scenario, they tell you it’s horrible. No one said my work was horrible, but I did see an agent who tweets about her queries tweet that she was passing on a contemporary romance (which my MS is), because the conflict “felt not authentic/contrived.” Ouch. I had a feeling she was talking about mine, but I hoped not, because no one wants to hear “not authentic” used to describe their story. Alas, about half an hour later, I got a form rejection from this agent. 😦
At the same time, I had a partial request from another agent who pulled my query out of her “slush pile” and apparently was impressed enough with my query to want to see the first 50 pages. I was THRILLED. I also had the full manuscript out to another agent who’d requested it. First, I heard back from the partial request–she passed because she said my story “didn’t stand out enough.” Again, OUCH. I’d really thought since she requested a partial, she would love the story and want more. And then, yesterday, I heard back from the full request– also a pass, because she felt the characters fell for each other too fast. Neither agent was rude and both said they loved reading the story. But still, they passed. So now I’m rethinking the whole thing. The things these agents pointed out are valid, but would require rewriting the entire manuscript to change. I’ve been working on this manuscript for four years now, and it has already been through many rewrites. I’m not sure I can rewrite it again, honestly. I feel like I’ve exhausted the story. Now I’m contemplating self publishing, just to get the story out there for the people who enjoy reading it.
So what am I thankful for in all this? I’m thankful for my wonderful critique partners: of course, my twin sister, Amy (@twisted_writer), who’s always my first editor :D, Kyra Lennon (@Klennonwrites) and Karma Brown (@karmasdogma). They helped me to see things in my story that I don’t think I ever would’ve seen otherwise. You three will definitely get a thank you in my acknowledgements if I ever get a book published!!!
I’m also thankful for all those who have read GOING HOME AGAIN, either in the original form that was waaaay too long, or the most recent, trimmed-down version. Amy, again, of course, Kim Rutka, Pennie McLeod, Karina Tabron, Julia Easterling, Masumi Furukawa, Verena Grube, Tanya (what is your last name, girl! LOL… @1xand1Y), Cynthia Hill, Carey Heywood, Cheyenne Campbell, Carol Pavliska and last but not least, my BFF, Angela Futrell, who hasn’t read the book since I finished it but that’s OK, I know how you roll, Angi. 😉
And lastly, I’m thankful for the agents who have requested my full manuscript or offered detailed feedback in their rejections. They’ve let me know that at least I have some writing talent. I just need to figure out how to translate the talent into a story I can sell. It WILL happen. I truly believe that. It may not be with GOING HOME AGAIN as I’d hoped, but I refuse to give up on this dream. It’s a big dream, and it seems impossible at times, but even when I’m crying myself to sleep over my latest rejection, I refuse to give up.
My favorite quote is from the late, great Jim Valvano, former N.C. State University basketball coach: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up!” I won’t, Jimmy V. I promise.