After a good deal of whining to friends and family, some online wailing to my fellow mom-writers, a full night’s sleep, then a morning walk with my dear sister, I was ready to face my writing demons again today.
Rejection sucks. As a writer, however, there is no getting around the fact that there will be rejection. In the publishing world there is such a thing as good rejection, however twisted that might sound, and my rejections in the past four months have been “good” ones, with personal notes and a great deal of encouragement. I imagine it is akin to this kind of rejection in the real world of relationships: “You are the most beautiful, wonderful, intelligent, creative woman I have ever met and I dearly love you, but I can’t be with you. This relationship isn’t going to work. Because I am gay.” Now there’s a rejection I couldn’t fault myself with in a relationship!
Well, the same goes with those “personal note” rejections. The editors complimented my writing, my book, and my story. In both the last two cases of rejection, the publishers made the decision that they were not going to be publishing a memoir-type book or, in this last case, a book that didn’t fit a specific geographical area.
Looking over these rejections again, I actually feel a surge of hope. I am getting so close to the right publisher that I can almost taste it. Perhaps it is time to get help in finding the “right publisher.”
And then I remembered some writing advice I’d recently read. If you aren’t getting responses to your query letter, change the letter. This morning I have been looking over my agent query letter, the tired old letter I have sent to half a dozen agents in the last few months. Then, I looked again. My attention-grabbing first sentence didn’t grab my attention anymore. The paragraph explaining my near-miss with a publisher suddenly sounded like I could be a problem client. With the swift stroke of a pen, I completely eliminated that paragraph and came up with a brilliant, fresh first sentence.
And then I outlined what I have to offer an agent: a completed manuscript, possible blurbs for a back cover, an arrangement with the CEO of Chuck E. Cheese, magazine editors who I have personal contact with, groups that are requesting speaking engagements, and a head just brimming with promotional concepts and opportunities.
I’ll rework this newly revitalized query letter this weekend, and by Monday I have promised myself to approach the next agent on my wish-list.
Back on the horse.