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What is Even Considered a Rejection? May 26, 2014

Posted by lycan librarian in writing.
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rejection Today the submission process for books is very different than it used to be. It’s a blessing for writers because email submissions make it easy to query, but maybe too easy. Agents receive hundreds of queries every day and sorting through them is an epic task. Where your query lands in the pile is sure to make a difference. But often it isn’t even the agent who rejects a query. Many have assistants or even interns who sort through the piles and zip back a response that the project doesn’t sound like something that would fit their list – sound familiar? I send out a lot of queries, and far more often than not, I don’t hear when an agency is not interested in seeing my work. But no response is not a rejection. I only count rejections of those who have actually reviewed my work and decided not to represent it. I once sent the same query, months later, back to an agency from whom I had gotten no response and they asked to see the book, so perhaps a different assistant or intern reviewed it that day. Maybe the agent was less rushed that day or in a better mood, or perhaps it wasn’t as close to quitting time when it was considered by the assistant.

We all heard about “Carrie” being rejected 30 times, and “Watership Down” and “A Wrinkle in Time” receiving 26 rejections each. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” seems to hold the record at 121 rejections. If I counted all the submissions I have made as rejections, I could easily top this record, but they aren’t truly rejections. A rejection sent with little to no thought or consideration cannot be taken personally by the recipient, and it certainly should not affect your outlook or belief in yourself as a writer.
Consider the process of browsing for a book in a library or bookstore. If you don’t have a particular title in mind, you may have to read quite a number of book jackets to find one that appeals to you. Sometimes the jacket sounds good, but while reading the first line or thumbing through the book, the voice just is not appealing. Keep this in mind as you face a short and not so sweet rejection on your query. You, too, reject a number of books before you take one on, and the ones you are rejecting are published, maybe even best sellers. It’s all a matter of taste, mood and luck. So don’t give up — it only takes one of the hundreds of agents out there to choose your book and rocket you to success. Zoom!

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