Tuesday, November 14, 2023

feeling discouraged about writing, submitting to agents, querying
                                                                                                                                         Photo courtesy Shutterfly   


The other day, I spent most of the morning filling out a Query Manager form.  In less than 24 hours after submitting it, an agent rejected my manuscript.  That really stung and once again, I felt discouraged about my writing.

I had double-checked and triple-checked the form (Had I spelled the agent's name correctly?  Was the pitch enticing?  Did my bio show I was an accomplished and dedicated writer?)  and said a prayer before sending it (Don't we all?)  This time, this time I had hoped an agent would like my work since it was based on her wish list needs.    

But interpreting what an agent wants can be tricky.  In most cases, an agent's manuscript wish list is general.  It may not reveal her specific wishes—which can be difficult to express.  She may even like something that's not on her list!  But the one true thing is the piece has to touch her heart, and she has to be able to sell it.

That said, the best I can do is write a killer query and send a story targeting her needs.  Still, there's no guarantee that strategy will work.  The piece may get turned down for some unknown reason.  

When my work is not accepted, I could stop writing and protect myself from rejection.  But writing brings me joy so, I want to keep creating stories that I'm passionate about.   

Before querying again, I sat back and reflected.  How could I make my query more intriguing?  How could I revise the story to bring out more emotion?  Where could I search (in addition to the Official Manuscript Wish List) to find an agent who will be a better match for my work?   

The biggest question is could I handle more rejection?  It is always an unwelcome possibility.

All I know is to be positive and to have faith, to surround myself with people who believe in me, and to not be discouraged for too long.  There will be opportunities and there's always hope.  Margarita Montimore's manuscript (Oona Out of Order) was fished out of the slush pile, so one never knows.  

I reached out to my mentor for some encouragement.  He told me (as he would tell any writer), "Your voice deserves to be heard. Keep knocking. Doors only open to those who knock." 

His words inspired me.  A few days later, I selected one of my favorite manuscripts, a strong piece my critique partners liked.  I filled out the query form.  I said a prayer.  This time, this time...this one may be the one.

✌ and 

November Writers Digest article:  "10 Dos and Don'ts of Being Rejected"