Monday, October 17, 2011

The Nice Rejection vs. The Honest Rejection

Hooray! A rejection!

OK, so that might not be realistic. Every now and then I used to get rejections that had the inevitable initial sting, but after that I would get past my despair and actually read the rejection and it would say something like:

After careful consideration I decided that while your concept is fresh and interesting, I just wasn't as pulled into those first few critical pages as I would've liked to be. Understand that this is a subjective business, and another agent may feel differently.

Ouch - my first few pages aren't that great. Hooray - I've got a fresh and interesting concept! That's a seriously big hurdle cleared! So I get my e-self over to QueryTracker to record my latest failure and see that another user has posted their rejection in full and it reads:

After careful consideration I decided that while your concept is fresh and interesting, I just wasn't as pulled into those first few critical pages as I would've liked to be. Understand that this is a subjective business, and another agent may feel differently.

Oh... so my concept isn't fresh and interesting. And maybe this means my first few pages aren't that bad... So what do I do?

If you're me (and I know you're not, but let's play) you obsess about it for a bit. So, somebody that sent a query about a girl torn between her love for a vampire and her buddy a werewolf would've had the same "fresh concept" form rejection I did. It also means that someone who sent a badly written query for a 500 page biography of a field mouse named TukkaBobba did too.

What do I deduce from this? The very real possibility that I suck, and no one has bothered to tell me yet.

I'm not saying that agents need to tell every single author exactly why they are rejecting them - that's an impossibility. But I do wish agents used a "You really need to do more work on your sentence structure and grammar use before considering being a writer," and a, "Hey nice try, keep working at it - you might have something here," form rejection.

Do you obsess over every word in the query, like I do? Or do you just notch the bedpost and keep going?

9 comments:

Yvonne Osborne said...

I obsess. Eventually I realized they all say the same thing. The best rejection I ever got was actually the first....a hand written note on my query letter telling me she liked it but she just wasn't the right agent. So far, no one has been the "right" one.

Angela V. Cook said...

Can I get an AMEN! You hit the nail right on the head with this one. I just had the same experience--a rejection, but with comments that made me think it was personal. Well, that is until I scrolled down the QT comments on that agent's profile, lol.

One little, honest sentence on why he/she is passing could make such a world of different.

Cassie Mae said...

The form rejections I don't even read in full anymore. I know that it's going to say the same old thing, but I am grateful that I at least received a response. When I get a helpful rejection, that's when I read in full and analyze every word to death. The helpful rejections I get I know are personalized because the agent has used things specific to my MS, like character names or traits...that kind of thing.

So don't read too much into those forms. It's so much better than getting a no response means no...at least for me it is :)

Lori M. Lee said...

Those sound like nearly every standard rejection I've seen online and gotten myself, so I really wouldn't obsess over the words. If it's a message the agents c/p for all rejections, then there's really no telling why they rejected you personally except that it really just wasn't right for them.

Try not to obsess too much ^^ I know that's hard though lol.

Theresa Milstein said...

It's great to have a rejection with feedback. Although they're not always specific, it's better than the dreaded form rejection.

Bethany C. said...

I don't obsess over them UNTIL I get one that actually gives me some constructive feedback. Then I start freaking out about all of the other agents who have been LYING to me with their simple, "I just didn't relate to the characters the way I'd hoped" response.

Jemi Fraser said...

I obsess too! Each word must mean something deep and must therefore be analyzed to death... okay, not so much, but that's how it feels! :)

A.M.Supinger said...

AMEN.

Mindy McGinnis said...

I know ladies, I know. The life of a writer is not for everyone, and the life of an aspiring writer is for even fewer. We've all heard the term "grow a thick skin," but I advise you take it one step further and go ahead and grow an exoskeleton.