I wrote this blog a few years ago, but for you newbies who haven’t been around that long, I thought it was worth another go round. Hope this offers some encouragement, and a reminder to never give up. For those like myself who have walked around the block a few times, I hope this puts writing into perspective for you as well. I know how easy it is to become discouraged.
I received two rejections this week, and while they were nice well written form letters, that’s what they were. You know the ones that thank you for considering their agency, and assure you that they will give your work a thorough going over before they make a decision. And then they add, if you haven’t heard from us in two weeks, assume we are not interested, and your work isn’t a good fit for us…
I have to admit besides being a little disappointed, I was skeptical and mad. I’ve put a lot of work into my manuscript. I’ve edited so many versions, that it doesn’t even look like it’s former self. It really is that much better than the original completed work. So what’s the problem?
I’ve heard over and over not to take it personal. It’s business, and truth be known, it may have nothing to do with your manuscript. If there are no obvious flaws with your work, send it out to other agents. Just because you were rejected by one agent, doesn’t mean you will be by the next.
The New York Times best selling author of “The Help”, was rejected by 60 different agents. You read that right. Her 61st attempt was a success. The book was on the best seller list for the entire year and eventually made into a movie.
So why do books get rejected?
Maybe your manuscript just isn’t ready.
- The author can’t format, spell, and doesn’t understand grammar. The result is incomprehensible sentences that leave the reader confused, pulling them completely out of the story.
- Dragging dialogue, head hopping, poor character development, plot holes, info dumping…
- Maybe your work isn’t that bad and with competent editing, it’s publishable. Staff editors don’t have the time and sometimes don’t even have the necessary experience to clean your work up. Hire an editor before you send your manuscript out for consideration if self-editing isn’t an option.
Maybe your manuscript is ready but….
- The agent/agency has an abundance of the genre you just submitted, and they are not accepting anything new in that genre until their inventory decreases. You really weren’t a fit for what they were looking for.
- Maybe the agent/publisher reviewing your work is in such a bad mood, they would turn down Nicholas Sparks “The Notebook”, even if it was handed to them on a silver platter – twenty four did. Agents make mistakes.
- Maybe the storyline/subject matter you’re writing about isn’t selling right now. Zombie books are getting old. People want something new.
- The publisher could literally be in a cash crunch, and no matter how great your book is, they can’t purchase it right now. They have a freeze in place until some books start selling, and they can build up their reserves.
What I’m trying to say, is there are a lot of reasons books get rejected, and they may have nothing to do with your work. I’ve read more than once, that perseverance is the key.
If you have a great, publishable piece of work, don’t give up, submit it to other agencies for review. If you have less than perfect work, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Don’t expect someone to fix it for you. They won’t.
Don’t give up!!!