I came to a new conclusion about the query process this morning. I would rather have an agent say no than say yes and take on a project that s/he doesn’t fully believe in. I know; this should have been obvious. But really, I think new authors get caught up looking for that one yes. Just a yes. Any yes. Just read it, for god’s sake. But this morning, after receiving a very nice and polite rejection from an agent, I realized how dangerous that mindset could be to a new author’s career if agents weren’t as selective as they are. (Thanks agents, for looking out for us and rejecting everything that doesn’t entirely blow your mind). I know it’s more encouraging to get a full or partial request, but why would you want to waste time with an agent who’s only half-assedly interested in your work? You wouldn’t. Take this morning’s rejection for instance:
Well, that’s an issue for me because the demon is kind of the point of the novel. So it’s a good thing she passed!
If an agent can’t really fall in love with your work and get behind it, she certainly can’t convince an editor to do the same. Which means you don’t want her representing your work. Which means, good thing she sent that rejection! (Gasp did I really just type that?)
So, just because an agent passes, doesn’t mean your work isn’t perfectly good and publishable. I know, I know, I’ve read this on every agency website, agent blog, and tips for new authors page etc., but I always took ‘not a good fit for me’ to mean ‘yeah, we actually think you suck but we’re too nice to say so.’
Note to self: nobody likes a Debbie Downer.
My personal experience with querying hasn’t been that bad. I’ve had three rejections and a full request. Statistically speaking, I’m doing fantastic. But I’m a horrid perfectionist, and every rejection is a blow to the ego. I read this online somewhere: “Put your ego in your back pocket and sit on it.”
I should get that tattooed on my face.
So, in light of this revelation (facepalm), I have come to one conclusion about rejection; take it with a grain of salt and keep moving forward.