Subject: Your YA Manuscript Request
Thank you for sharing your work with me. First of all, I should note that you have the teen voice down -- this is incredibly important; I often meet editors who, when I ask them what they're looking for, say "Excellent voice." Well, you have it.
I enjoyed reading this—but, I'm afraid, I'm just not in love -- so I'm going to pass, with regrets.
"I am not in love." The phrase fries my brain.
Still, I do hope you will continue writing and sending out your work. If you haven't done so already, you may wish to look at The Jeff Herman Guide to Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents - there, you should be able to find someone who's a better fit for your work.
Best of luck with this and future projects.
All best wishes,
When forwarding the email to me, the writer in question included a frowning emoticon and the comment: I want to quit writing!
I know just how she feels. Which is why she can't. And, fortunately, she won't.
|~I slump under the weight of failure and abject depression.~|
But that isn't what the agent is saying at all. Real writers take their agents' advice, right? Well, then, every writer should take this agent's advice.
I mean really: this is a LOVELY rejection letter. It should be lovingly framed and admired. It's personal, positive, and encouraging.
Remember: you don't like every book published. That doesn't mean that if you don't like a book, the writer should hang it all up.
I don't care for Stephen King's stuff, myself. (Please, King fans, don't try to convert me. Or point out where I've gone horribly astray. I didn't say he can't write. He can. He's excellent. Doesn't mean I like reading it.) I don't read his books unless they are assigned reading. I can admire his writing prowess, but his stuff is just not for me. If I were an agent, I could never dredge up enough enthusiasm for his work to sell it.
Of course, that doesn't mean he should quit.
Push on. For every rejection you get, sent out 3 more queries to well researched agents who handle the kind of stuff you write.
|You may imagine placing the agent's head in your mouth|
and squashing it like a grape.
When you get a rejection, you may do several things:
- You may cry.
- You may briefly overindulge on chocolate or gin or 80's ballads -- whatever's your drug of choice.
- You may back awa-a-a-ay from your current Work In Progress for a day or two so as not to taint it with any self-defeating "I suck as a writer" content.
- You may tell yourself that there is (unfortunately) one more person in the world whom you will not be adding to your Christmas card list.
|FYI: Destroying the innocent computer|
is frowned upon.
- Kick the cat / your kids / your spouse / a moving train / the bucket.
- Write a nasty letter to the Fabulous Agent outlining where she went wrong and making dire threats against herself, her pets, or her family.
- Allow your overindulgence of your drug of choice to render you incoherent for longer than 24 hours. Really: self-pity ain't attractive. It's also counterproductive to querying.
You'll make it. But only if you hang in there.
Earlier this week, literary agent Rachelle Gardner posted this list of real rejection letters from publishers to agents. Some of those are brutal -- and every book mentioned eventually sold and did well. Imagine what would have happened if those writers gave up. All those success stories would have died a premature death.
Which would be tragic. Don't let that happen to you.
In short, I'll tell you what I told my writer friend: keep polishing what you've got. And keep on keeping on.