My first book did well. I had a healthy amount of partial and full requests and of course, a pile of rejects. I'd exhausted my list but in the end, I didn't have any takers. I didn't think that was a bad thing. Sure, I was bummed out, but I also knew if getting an agent and getting published was easy, well... then, I was probably doing something wrong based on all I'd learned about the industry.
I wrote more books and queried them.
It became apparent rather quickly that I was going to be able to hold the title of So Close But Not Quite. I was the queen at getting amazing rejections. I mean, seriously, they'd say things like... You're writing is fantastic but just not for us or you create a wonderful scene and tell an amazing story but it's just not for us. I had one agent tell me there was nothing wrong with my book. It was awesome. She just didn't think she could sell it based on her personal tastes. I'd also get feedback too. The few times the novel didn't quite hit the mark, they'd say it was because of this... Most of the times it was something I could fix, other times I was left scratching my head. My friend would curse me, he'd say, God, I wish I got rejections like that! Because they were never bad. I swear. Sure, I got the occasional form letter that you received mere moments after sending the query off (and left wondering if the agent or whomever even took the time to read it) and to be honest I still get the occasional reject that got lost in the slush pile for a novel I wrote years ago. But I tended to have a higher request rate than rejection rate...
But I still hadn't landed myself an agent. I was getting angry. I hated all these good rejections. I hated knowing that most of the time the reject was based on personal taste and not because I sucked. I almost would have preferred an you suck rejection. I also continued to collect agents willing to read my next work. Often times at the bottom of the very nice personalized rejection (I was actually beginning to hate personalized rejections) there'd be an extra note: please, if you find yourself still looking for an agent with your next project, consider me in the future. Which by the way is a huge compliment.
By the third (or was it fourth or fifth?) book I had a list of about 15 agents willing to read anything I sent them.
I'm not going to lie, it actually became a NEED. I NEEDED an agent. I NEEDED to prove to myself that I could get one. You know, you want what you can't seem to have even more... That's how I felt.
I wrote a new novel, I sent it out to the list of 15 or so agents still willing to see anything new I had written and added a few more to the list.
This novel also performed well... I was still keeping my title and being the queen of amazing rejections.
I'd gotten a letter from an agent asking for a full. I wrote her my reply, saying that I was thrilled to hear that she'd like to read more (she'd read the partial first) that she could find the full attached and as per common courtesy I let her know that other's were considering the manuscript. She sent a reply back saying that she preferred to read fulls on an exclusive basis (not all together uncommon) but I wanted her to read my novel. Really, really bad. I came up with a compromise. If she'd read my manuscript, I wouldn't send out any more queries and I wouldn't make any decisions about the novel until she had a chance to read it and get back to me. I may have been really, really nice and did a little butt kissing. She agreed.
It didn't take long to add a few more nice rejections to my pile and it didn't take long for the agent I really wanted to review the novel. She was polite, she was honest and she had a request. A revise and resubmit.
I wasn't a stranger to the revise and resubmit. To be honest, I hated those worse than I hated getting a rejection. Because here you go, the agent sees some serious potential, takes the time to write out extensive notes on how to make the novel better(and hopefully impress them further) but the catch is--you can do all that work and still get a rejection. Being given a second chance and the realization that you still couldn't do the novel justice and find yourself with a rejection is the worst feeling in the world!
I got a rejection.
I'd spent a few months working on the novel, the revisions and I couldn't seal the deal. But on the plus side, I got another one of those fabulous personalized rejections with a note... Please send me any further work you might have in the future. So, it wasn't a complete waste. She still liked me enough to ask to see further work, again.
I wrote another new novel. I sent that out to all the agents still willing to look at my work, and added a few more agents to the list.
The agent who'd asked for a revision, the one I'd blown, loved the premise of my new book and wished to read the manuscript. She'd said she was excited, remembered me and my previous book... I sent her the manuscript right away. I really, really wanted this agent. And I really, really didn't want a rejection.
What I got... Another revise and resubmit.
I was DYING. Literally DYING. The pressure was immeasurable. How could I possibly revise and resubmit another novel for this agent, I mean, most agents don't even bother with R&R's. Most agents just reject. This agent didn't request R&R's like.. ever. It was actually a big deal. And she'd given me two R&R's... probably almost unheard of... And I was seriously stepping out on a ledge, because what if I blew the second chance?
I worked really hard, spent a great deal of time with the edits. I wanted this agent. I NEEDED this agent.
From the moment I pressed send on those revisions, I literally felt like I was going to be sick. I pretty much felt sick for the couple weeks it took for her to get back to me. Then I felt sick because for once it wasn't a rejection.
I was left thinking... OH MY GOD, DO I SERIOUSLY HAVE AN AGENT???
I don't think it really sunk in until I got the contract in the mail, but then I didn't even bother getting excited about it, I still felt it was all this big dream... I only truly felt super duper excited, confident that I'd finally secured myself an agent, and did a happy dance when I got the signed by my agent contract back in the mail. That's when it truly felt real!
So, what can you take away from this? Perseverance. IF you really, really want an agent and you're sure that's the direction you want to go in, don't give up. Rejections hurt. They suck. But as they say, you only need one yes.
But honestly, don't give up. Pay attention to your feedback, keep a list of the agents who say they want to see more of your work (they don't just say that for fun, trust me) and keep at it. Just because one novel doesn't get you that agent, doesn't mean you never will. Just persevere.
Granted, now that I have an agent, the stress doesn't stop... now we actually have to sell the manuscript to a publisher! And hey, wouldn't you know it, me and my agent got our first publisher reject the other day. It was a super nice, personalized rejection raving about my writing, but that it wasn't right for them, but to send along my next manuscript. *Scream*
It appears I haven't yet relinquished my crown and title of So Close But Not Quite.
Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything? Death always hits Xylia Morana too close to home, but she likes it that way. She hangs out with the terminally ill, attends random funerals, and every so often, when the weather is right, she sleeps in open graves. But after Landon Phoenix, the high school hottie, dies in Xylia's hands, she sneaks into the morgue to say goodbye. How could she know stealing a kiss from his corpse would wake him up? With Landon returned to the living and suddenly interested in Xylia, life has new meaning. But what Xylia doesn't realize is that by kissing Landon back to life, she's thrown Life and Death off balance. The underworld demands a body, and it might just have to be Xylia's this time.
Released: February 12th 2012
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press