View Full Version : Dealing with Rejection

04-29-2009, 01:03 AM
It's disheartening when you reach the halfway mark of your queries--when you've sent them out and half have come back with the dark stamp of rejection. And I'm just wondering how to deal with it. I mean, every rejection stings a bit (to phrase it mildly). I'm trying to publish a young adult novel (obviously), but I don't have an agent, and every one keeps shooting me down.

Well, one requested a partial two weeks ago, but I haven't heard back from them. Does anyone here know any young adult agents who take on new clients?

04-29-2009, 01:31 AM
One request to 6 rejections isn't bad, and two weeks is nothing.
How's your query? Have you posted it on SYW?

04-29-2009, 01:31 AM
There are lots - just keep looking. If your signature's accurate, you've pretty much just scratched the surface. Have you tried agentquery or querytracker? Those are both really good for finding agents in a particular genre. Or check out the bewares & background checks board on here, you can find which are good and which aren't that way.

Everyone deals with rejection in their own way. The best way is to remember that you're writing because you love writing (I'm assuming anyway. If you're not, that's another issue entirely), and try to tell yourself that published or not, you still will adore your writing.

04-29-2009, 01:53 AM
I agree with Kaitlin & Wander. In some ways, it's "too soon" to get down about it.

But, if you can use those feelings as a boost, do that. Kaitlin's right, we write because we have to. Yeah, there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting an agent, but the only real way is to write an awesome book, an awesome query, and work hard on researching agents. If this isn't that book -- write another. Which you're probably doing anyway.

And - I'm going to say it again and get yelled at again, but I really truly believe this - if SHADOWS is the book you're referring to, that 99,000 word count might be scaring people off. Fantasy or not - I assume it is - I'd be willing to bet you can shave down to around 75K and have a better novel for it.

(ducks for cover) (ETA: I don't write YA fantasy. I know books with higher word counts do get published. But I also know that 65K for a modern YA is about the limit, so I'm guessing 75K is probably the limit on YA fantasy. Could be wrong. Just relating what the pros have told me.)

To answer your actual question, though, I dealt with it by bitching and moaning, then trying again, and always searching for ways to improve my writing and querying. (Which worked, FWIW.) And going through Query Hell here on the on the boards makes ALL the difference.

Renee Collins
04-29-2009, 01:58 AM
I agree with kaitlin, 13 queries isn't that many. And, two weeks isn't that long for a partial. Keep fighting! :)

That said, I know what you are going through. I think the first rejections are the worst, but I promise that it gets easier. After once you pass twenty, or even a dozen rejections, they hardly make a scratch.

04-29-2009, 02:16 AM
It's the form rejections on partials or fulls that are harder to stomach for me, personally. Because then I think: What's not working? And as much as I try not to, I get excited that the agent who requested it, might be THE ONE.
Though, in those cases, I moan to those around me (usually online) and then I do some revisions, and send another query.

04-29-2009, 02:19 AM
I know how you feel. I've had 25 rejections on my query. So many readers are telling me the manuscript is a shoe-in...and then I get all these query rejections (and the query has been edited, etc, too). I tell myself it's the manuscript...but none of the rejects even seen it. I'm close to the give up point...but I have so much faith in the manuscript I hate to quit.

04-29-2009, 02:21 AM
Does anyone here know any young adult agents who take on new clients?

A search on Agentquery for "YA + currently accepting queries" produced 230 hits so I think you've got a fair way to go yet.

04-29-2009, 02:32 AM
My first YA got around 45 R's and I ended up scraping it. It was my second novel that got the requests and ultimately my agent (I got around 30 R's for that one and 5 full requests). The first is still sitting on my hard drive.

04-29-2009, 03:01 AM
Thanks for all the support, guys. That did make me feel a lot better. If I get these all rejected, I'll try agentquery. In your opinion, is 99,000 words really that far over the line? It's like 340 pages with the formatting I use. And that's after I shaved off about a hundred from the original draft...

04-29-2009, 03:03 AM
That is pretty long, although some agents will look at long stuff, YA traditionally fits between 45 and 65k. My books tend to be around 210 pages. (I start off at 185 and as I edit I add more)

04-29-2009, 03:08 AM
Two words, my friend: revenge query.

Yes, it’s an odd concept, but I found that sending out another query could help relieve the sting of rejection. Of course, if you find yourself getting less than a 10% request rate, it may be time to take another look at your query and opening pages. (You are sending the first 5-ish pages of your manuscript with your queries, aren’t you? I would advise you to always do that unless an agent’s guidelines specifically say not to).

And I don’t necessarily think that word count is grounds for an auto-reject (though it may make some agents pause). I got an agent with a longer word count, and numerous full and partial requests.

04-29-2009, 04:03 PM
Rejection is part of the process. It won't change, even if you become a bestselling author and have millions of readers. Just look at how many people saw horrible things about some of the wildly popular authors right now. I imagine that has to feel worse than a rejection letter. And they have all the success every writer dreams of.

Try to remember that it isn't personal. Agents aren't rejecting YOU, they're just saying they don't feel they can sell this book. If that's the case, then write another and send that one out. Do it again and again until you have something someone feels they can sell. Almost everyone goes through this. You hear about the "first book blockbusters" because they're so rare. You don't hear about the thousands of authors who struggled until they make it. That's because that's what's normal.

It's not uncommon for a "first novel from debut author" really be their third or fourth or fifth book. I racked up 50 or 60 rejections from my first two novels, and I'm probably on the low end for some others on the boards. I got lucky on my own "debut novel" but I still got rejections. I got more rejections from the editors than I did the agents. (and that was after I had an agent repping me)

I know it's hard, but try to let it roll off you. Like any job, publishing has it's negatives. In an office, it's the annoying guy who always takes your snacks and steals your paper clips. With publishing, it's the rejections.


Momento Mori
04-29-2009, 06:19 PM
It's disheartening when you reach the halfway mark of your queries--when you've sent them out and half have come back with the dark stamp of rejection. And I'm just wondering how to deal with it.

Like everyone else has said, rejections are just part and parcel of the business.

Personally, I tend to take the pragmatic approach and look at what stage I'm getting rejected at. If you're getting rejected on the query letter, then you probably need to work on the query letter - run it past the good people at SYW as there are loads of people able to help you out.

If you're getting rejected on the partial, then the partial probably needs work. Some agents will give feedback on what didn't work for them, which will give you a starting point. Failing that, try posting the opening chapter in SYW or find a good beta or critique group who can help you work on it.

If you're getting rejected on the full, then see if the agents are giving you feedback on why. Sometimes there's nothing wrong with what you've written but the agent just doesn't connect with it. If that's the case, then all you can do is keep trying other agents. If they're pointing to structural or tone issues, then that's what you need to work on.

Well, one requested a partial two weeks ago, but I haven't heard back from them.

Two weeks is nothing. Trying to get published is a marathon and not a sprint. If you haven't heard anything from them in 3 months, then nudge them to see what the status is. Some agents don't respond if they're not going to take it, in which case shrug it off and move on.

In your opinion, is 99,000 words really that far over the line?

It depends on what you're writing. If you're trying to sell a YA fantasy, then you've got more leeway. Ultimately, it all comes down to whether an agent likes your premise and your writing and whether they can find an editor who feels the same.

It might be worthwhile making another pass at your manuscript to see if anything more can be cut out, but only from the point of view of making the writing and plot tighter. If you generally can't see anything in there that could objectively be chopped out, then keep it as is and see what happens.

In an office, it's the annoying guy who always takes your snacks and steals your paper clips.

If that annoying guy tried to steal my snacks and paperclips, he'd better be prepared to see his happy sacks wind up as a pair of earrings. I'm very protective about my paperclips. They're shiny.


04-30-2009, 12:57 AM
I think it's all been said... but I just wanted to pop my head in and say hang in there and good luck to you...

04-30-2009, 03:24 AM
I mainly hear that they're not interested in the premise, but I'll post the query and the partial. I mean, it won't do any harm to get the opinions of actual published writers on the query or the opening.

04-30-2009, 05:12 AM
I found Query Tracker to be very helpful when looking for agents. And I agree with others, if you're getting a low response rate, it might be time to reshred your query either here or with your critique group.

Don't be disheartened! It will happen! :-)

04-30-2009, 05:44 AM
Thanks for the reassurance. And for the Emotional Thesaurus. What a treasure trove...