re: 10 Rejections and Losing Hope Fast

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Dear Editor…

Ten agents have requested to read my full YA ms. One has rejected it but said, “I loved the voice. I think it’s fantastic. Obviously you are an incredibly talented writer. However, I actually have a client who writes YA with very similar themes.” Wouldn’t she know that from reading my query?

Sincerely,

Losing Hope

Dear Losing Hope…

Back up a step. 10 requests for the full ms? You’ve obviously got an effective query letter and an intriguing concept. Huge! Already, two reasons to hang onto Hope. A third reason: Even if an agent is being nice while rejecting, “loved” and “fantastic” are strong words that are easily avoided, so I’m willing to bet that your narrative voice is, indeed, well crafted. Those are reasons enough to get that chin of yours back up and keep at this. 10 rejections suggest something could be stronger in the ms; you’d do well to get it professionally critiqued or join a critique group to try to identify areas of weakness. But it may just be that you haven’t found the right “chemistry” yet between agent and manuscript. Agents hope for that inexplicable attraction every day, which could be why the agent in question asked to see your full ms despite hints of similarity with a client’s work. If she’s repping something similar, clearly she likes that type of material and you picked your submission target well. Hey, reason-to-be-hopeful #4! You’re on a roll. Don’t stop now.

Happy writing!

The Editor

2 Comments

  1. Never lose hope with great comments like that! You have that ‘something’. Only time will bear this out. How many great novels have been rejected? You might consider self-publishing and by that I mean do it yourself (the whole shebang). I did that and I am selling on Amazon and across the States and in Europe – no agent, no bookstores but real people promoting my work.

  2. Unless the letter has been edited down before publication here, it reads that she got 10 requests for full ms. from 10 agents, yet only one rej. so far. Wow! Even the 1 rej. is praiseworthy and encouraging. Follow up on the next agent you most want who requested the full ms. No time to be mopey, dopey.

    In my experience as a writing instructor, I’ve found the most naturally gifted writers are often the most insecure about their writing. (Flip side are the writers who are pretty bad, but have over-inflated egos, even self-grandized views, about their writing.)

    Please do not self-published! Not fiction. Press on. It sounds as if you have the talent, ability, good ideas, great voice and writing style. Now you just need to learn about perseverance, the real path to publication.

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