Friday, January 23, 2009

Rejection Dejection

*Prayer Request for the little girl who has been kidnapped; check out Christina's blog*

On to my post...


As some of you know, I've been querying a manuscript. So far it's been fun. I didn't mind rejections because they just felt like a challenge to query a new agent.

Reality settled in the other day as I scrolled to the very last name on my list. Done. Almost done. It hit me that after a few more queries, I'll only have the publishing houses left. And most CBA houses require an agent, meaning my manuscript will most likely be put under the bed.

I'm more sad about that then I expected. This was my first completed manuscript. In all fairness, it probably doesn't have what it takes to sell. I knew that going in, but it's still disheartening to know the race is almost over.

One thing cheers me up (besides the obvious like God and family).

I have more.

That's right. Hear me laugh victoriously and shove my fist into the air.

I-have-more-stories.

This is why it's so important that when you finish your first story, revise it, perfect it, send it out and move on. Querying takes an incredibly long time. While you're getting rejections and requests in, be working on something else.

A WIP makes rejection easier. And if you do get requests, or the call, then you have something else to offer the agent/editor.

Have you finished your wip? Are you at the querying stage and are you working on something else?

36 comments:

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Attending conferences and meeting face to face with agents and editors has been successful for many of my writer friends. Perhaps you could attend one and make one or more appointments to present your manuscript.

I'm doing the first revision of my first book and trying to write two short stories and submit every month.

Terri Tiffany said...

Good for you that you are not giving up!!! I've read so many places that our first book isn't usually the one that sells--but it needs to be done. I have my third book in progress, but stopped the second one almost at the end as it didn't seem like it was what I wanted it to be. Still trying. You know how you know what you want it to be and I'm just not satisfied until I get there.

Janna Qualman said...

Love the 'tude, love the post!

I went through it with my first manuscript (the one Avalon considered). I don't yet feel like I should tuck it away somewhere, but for now I've put it aside. I think after I finish my current WIP and it needs a rest before editing, I'll pull the first one out and do more with it.

It's hard, isn't it? But we'll do it.

*raises fist in air alongside Jessica*

Jennifer Shirk said...

Great attitude! Just keep writing.

I have a manuscript with Avalon and Harlequin right now. They might/will very well be rejected, so I'm half way through another story while I wait. :)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Hi, Jessica. Glad to hear you're looking at this with a glass-half-full outlook. Way to go, Girl!

I haven't started querying yet, and I'm on my fourth ms. I HAVE WAY TO MUCH TO LEARN STILL, afterall I tend to be a left brain thinker, really, hence the math degree, working with words is fairly new to me. Everytime I get the urge to start sending out, I realize how much more I have to master--reality sets in. My way isn't right for everyone by any means, but it seems to be what's best for me. My family demands too much of my time currently for me to have the pressures of publication, I think. At least I think that's what God is saying to me. Wish He would scream, instead of whisper in a muffled tone.

Sometimes I wonder if He'll bless me with a similar publication story as Mary Conneally. She had something like near 20 novels written by the time she got her first contract, and then seemed to sell nearly all of them and new ones, too, in the first few years of being published. Wow, what a way to please your readership base!

So keep writing, whether or not you submit, and when you feel called, go back and re-edit those earlier stories to include techniques that you've learned since. One day you might sell them all!!! I'll be praying for that for you, Jessica.

And just so you know, I keep waiting to find one of your ms's in my e-mail inbox for me to read. Can I expect it anytime soon?

Jessica said...

Hi Donna,
If push comes to shove :-), then that's what I'll do. Many of the CBA editors attend conferences and I would try to get a request that way.
Go you on the short stories! I would think writing those would require a lot of skill!

Jessica said...

Hey Terri,
I've read the same thing but somehow my brain and heart didn't quite connect. LOL I'm not giving up but there's definitely a bit of a pity party going on. Hehee.
I hope that second manuscript works out for you. Sometimes changing one little detail or scene earlier on will help shape the ending better. ;-) Congrats on being on your 3rd manuscript. That's awesome.

Jessica said...

Definitely hard, Janna. I do like you. Write a rough draft, set it to the side and edit an older one, then come back to the rough draft.
We'll get there, right?

Jessica said...

Hey Jennifer,
Very smart of you. I hope they don't reject it though. :-) What harlequin line are you targeting?

Jessica said...

Hey Eileen,
Very true about the schedule once you're published. It's wise to consider that. Just a warning, you'll probably never think a story is "done". I'm still learning. I'm hoping with my fourth manuscript to get things perfect, but it never happens. Kudos to you listening for God's still small voice. :-)
I had no clue Mary had such an amazing story. I've only read one book of hers and I loved it. Calico Canyon. She made me laugh and feel weepy. I'm looking forward to reading more of her stuff.
I definitely want to send you my manuscript, but first I have to do revisions then I'll send it your way. :-)

Kristen Painter said...

I'm always working on something else. lol And I'm always hoping my agent will find a new place to send out the old stuff. It's a constant situation.

Angie Ledbetter said...

You inspire. Write on! (And then go do more agent research and/or keep querying. Have you considered having your ms edited?) Hugs for the journey.

Sarah said...

I absolutely adore the attitude you've taken. That is exactly the attitude that I truly believe will get your name in print, and I pray that it's soon!

Jessica said...

Kristen,
You've got a top-notch agent and I bet your writing is great! I can't wait to hear about a contract. And you never know, the publisher may buy a whole bunch of your manuscripts.
Good for you to keep coming up with new stuff. That should lead to success.

Jessica said...

Thanks for the hugs, Angie. :-) This manuscript actually did get a professional critique (though not an edit) So it's been through the ringer. Despite my depression, I really would be very surprised if it sold. That just doesn't usually happen with first manuscripts (I'm told).

Jessica said...

Aww, thanks Sarah! But LOL How do you know if I write well? Could be my plots are stale and cliche with annoying characters. Hehee.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

Don't be too quick to abandon that manuscript. One writer friend told a story of her manuscript being rejected 40 times before it was published. Also, not all CBA houses require an agent.

I have a second book started, but it's part of a series. Book 1 is critical to the other 2 books floating in my brain.

Books are like a good tomato sauce. They need to simmer on the stove for awhile to bring out the best flavor.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Debra E Marvin said...

Jessica, I have this overwhelming idea that the right 'tweak' will come along and you'll find you can go back and make that finished book even more special and be glad it didn't sell.

Thanks for a candid post and for pushing forward. I hope something in your current WIP can get you really excited and chase away some of this disappointment.

The comment about Mary Conneally's 'stash' of completed mansuscripts who were just biding their time really inspired me too.

Jessica said...

LOL Susan, I'm close to forty. Thank you for the encouragement.

Ooh, so you're on your second now? That's exciting.

And thanks for the comment about spaghetti sauce. I never knew what was wrong with mine...

Jessica said...

Debra,
You're so kind. :-) Thank you for stopping by. A tweak would probably work wonders. LOL Or maybe a new beginning chapter.

I hope so too, with the wip.

Irritable Mother said...

But I want to read Bad Boy. Someone's got to buy it from you to publish!!!

Jessica said...

No worries, Karen! Bad Boy isn't my first one. :-) That one hasn't even been revised yet. LOL
So there's still hope. Hehee!

Sarah said...

Jessica,

Lol! I didn't think about that! Well, I hope your plots aren't "stale or cliche with annoying characters" but something tells me they aren't. :)

Jessica said...

Ha! I've been told differently. LOL But your faith is inspiring.
:-)
I'd love to get a look at what you're writing. I'll never forget how your entry in RG's contest made me laugh.

anita said...

Hey Jessie! Good for you for keeping on keeping on. As you know, it took me writing and completing four books before I snagged that elusive agent. And here I am working on book #5 while we send my #4 MS off to publishers.

Great message. Never give up. The writers that are going to make it in this biz always have a story spinning in the background. That's the only way to keep the passion alive despite the rejections. :-)

Jessica said...

Yay! Your comment went through. I know, #4 does seem to be the lucky number, though in my opinion your other ones are good enough to be published!

anita said...

Hey girl. I sent you another email, this time from my in-laws computer. We're having trouble with the internet again, so I just wanted to give you a heads up here to watch for my message.

TTYS!

Jessica said...

Thanks Anita! I got it. :-)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Don't forget small presses - unless you just don't want to go there :)

Did you give yourself a certain number? Or just had certain agents? I knew a writer that went well over 100 ...well well over 100 -- maybe well over 200...she finally found her agent and was published.

One thing - when I first finished TG (and it was called a few other things before that) I queried - and was rejected but with really great feedback from agents and a couple of small publishers - well, I put it up and for a year and a half I worked on other things and on publishing essays and short stories and doing blogging and the like - along with editing, etc. -- when I took it back out of my files, it was as if a whole new MS -- I was able to take out a bunch of words (it was too long!) and fix some problems - like the ending and beginning! Then I decided to query a couple of small presses instead of an agent - and Voila! ...:)

Jen and Kev said...

Dear Jessica:
I got a list of about 30 agents from Mike Hyatt's website. Also from CWMG by Sally Stuart. Perhaps you've already exhausted all of those? Blessings to you, you have a brave heart. God will lead you to someone who LOVES your book!
Don't put it under the bed just yet...
Jen

Jessica said...

Hey Kathryn,
No, I haven't ruled those out at all. I've queried agents first, then I'm going to switch to editors. You're right; many small presses don't require an agent so I may check those next. :-) Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. It's very encouraging.
I didn't give myself a certain number of agents. I was pretty much querying every one until I talked to another author who had a well-known agent with lots of sales, yet that agent had no contacts in the inspirational market and was unable to sell the book. So recently, I've been a little pickier. :-) But you never know, I may start hounding the ones who don't rep. inspirationals! LOL

Jessica said...

Hey Jen,
Mike's site is great, but watch out. I queried one of them and got a rejection back saying they'd look over my work if I paid them. You probably already know this, but never pay an agent (unless they sell your work). I actually got my list from RWA, though I may check out Mike's site for any that weren't on RWA.
That would be awesome if someone loves my book! :-) Thanks for stopping by!

Carol said...

Hi, Jessica. Sorry about the rejections. You've got a great attitude about it, and I hope you find the right place for your story eventually.

I'm still working on my first novel. I've finished the rough draft, but won't have the editing done for a while. Hopefully I'll be ready to start querying by July. I already have lots of ideas for the next book, so I don't intend to sit quietly watching the rejections pour in. ;)

Jessica said...

Hey Carol,
Thanks for stopping by. It's okay about the rejections. :-) I know they're part of the biz and they kind of feel good, just knowing I'm DOING something.
Good for you to plan for your next book! Querying is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, but it helps to have kind people like you and the other commenters to share the journey. :-) Good luck with your edits!

Christina Berry said...

Best news!!! The little girl was found! I don't have all the details yet, as it takes time to get the whole story from India, but THANK YOU to all of you who prayed for her. Truthfully, I didn't think this would end well. Though I prayed for a safe return, I doubted it would happen. And that proves how big our God is. He does much more than I can hope for or imagine. My doubts don't effect His power!

Here's a little secret: the house that bought The Familiar Stranger? They rejected me a year or two before on another manuscript. Keep the connections you have to the agents/editors because you never know when things might change. :-)

Jessica said...

Thanks Christina! An editor did say she'd take a look at future manuscripts, so I'm def. taking advantage of that!!!
Yes, I just saw on your blog that the girl was found. I'm so, so happy, esp. for her sake. Thank you for letting me know! I just saw your comment now, so sorry I didn't respond sooner.