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View Full Version : Is this roller-coaster ride the norm?



Richard Paolinelli
10-22-2012, 04:57 AM
First, I am not complaining, but still.....

Sent out queries on 61k mystery/thriller. An agent e-mails back for a 5-page partial, then politely rejects it a week later. Three days after that, a second agent responds and asks for a 20-30 page partial w/detail synopsis. And mixed in the middle of all of that is three more rejections from other agents.

Again, I am thrilled to get interest from two agents, but this up and down and up and down is killing my nerves.

Is this normal? Do I need to take up some serious drinking while I wait to hear from the second agent?

jjdebenedictis
10-22-2012, 05:23 AM
Yes, it's normal, but it gets more comfortable when you start realizing that rejection is no big deal.

Enjoy the highs; refuse to entertain the lows for more than a minute each.

Rhoda Nightingale
10-22-2012, 05:30 AM
You get used to it. I recommend taking up serious writing-your-next-novel while you're waiting to hear from that second agent.

That, or marathon entire seasons of Doctor Who. (I've done both.)

dangerousbill
10-22-2012, 05:57 AM
Is this normal? Do I need to take up some serious drinking while I wait to hear from the second agent?

You need to take up some serious planning for the next novel.

Richard Paolinelli
10-22-2012, 06:05 AM
You need to take up some serious planning for the next novel.

Already started the next novel, just hard to type and hang on for dear life at the same time, lol

buz
10-22-2012, 06:19 AM
Is this normal? Do I need to take up some serious drinking while I wait to hear from the second agent?

One should never drink seriously, only frivolously :D

No, it's normal. You'll get bored of caring after a while. (Well. If you have amazing powers of Being Easily Bored, like I do. Otherwise you'll just get accustomed to it. ;) )

theDolphin
10-22-2012, 06:58 AM
Haha, the answers on this thread so far have been great. :D

Man, I so hear you about the roller coaster and yes, it's entirely normal. To give you some context, I just signed with an agent in late September. The first time I queried with my first novel was 13 letters in May of 2010. Following the feedback I got from some people viewing partials and the novel itself, I took a little over a year to do a rewrite. I then sent out more queries, went to a writing conference, sent more queries, and finally found my agent, who is a gem and seems to really 'get' my work.

The single biggest piece of advice I can give you is, try your best to get used to the ride, and above all: persist. Keep improving your work, keep honing your skills at selling it. You can do it!! And every so often some scotch and a good cigar does do the trick. ;)

Becky Black
10-22-2012, 02:12 PM
Definitely normal, but gets easier with time. Try to keep your mind off it with work on other things. If you have something that goes "ping" or whatever to let you know you have an email, turn it off and check your email at set intervals. Inbox stalking is stress inducing too. With work on submission every email that's not about the submission is a disappointment and a relief.

Rhoda Nightingale
10-22-2012, 05:18 PM
Definitely normal, but gets easier with time. Try to keep your mind off it with work on other things. If you have something that goes "ping" or whatever to let you know you have an email, turn it off and check your email at set intervals. Inbox stalking is stress inducing too. With work on submission every email that's not about the submission is a disappointment and a relief.
Oh god yes, this. That PING-ing will make you insane.

Phaeal
10-22-2012, 05:43 PM
Your reaction is totally normal. There's probably no cure for it but a sufficient number of rejections. To gain equanimity in the face of the process, you have to pay your psychic dues. They may take the form of agent rejections, or editor rejections, or critical rejection, or reader rejection, but eventually they'll come, and you'll feel better.

;)

Rx for the meantime:

Check your email twice a day, no more.

Work on the next novel.

Send out a set number of queries each week.

thothguard51
10-22-2012, 05:53 PM
Yes...

Susan Littlefield
10-22-2012, 06:27 PM
First, I am not complaining, but still.....

Sent out queries on 61k mystery/thriller. An agent e-mails back for a 5-page partial, then politely rejects it a week later. Three days after that, a second agent responds and asks for a 20-30 page partial w/detail synopsis. And mixed in the middle of all of that is three more rejections from other agents.

Again, I am thrilled to get interest from two agents, but this up and down and up and down is killing my nerves.

Is this normal? Do I need to take up some serious drinking while I wait to hear from the second agent?

Richard, what you are talking about is perfectly normal. I suggest some serious writing time on your next project. If you don't have a next project, start one.

You have no control over what happens once you send out a query, so try not to let it all get to you. :)

Shadow_Ferret
10-22-2012, 06:35 PM
Yes, it's normal, but it gets more comfortable when you start realizing that rejection is no big deal.
When does that happen? It's been over 40 years since I got my first rejection. They still hurt now as much as they did then.

Phaeal
10-22-2012, 09:22 PM
I think I got comfy after rejection #50. Everyone's threshold varies.

blacbird
10-22-2012, 10:18 PM
this up and down and up and down is killing my nerves.

There are ups?

caw

Jamesaritchie
10-22-2012, 10:32 PM
Yes, it's normal. And, yes, serious drinking helps, as long as you stay sober often enough to keep working on the next novel.

And don't rule out yelling, stomping your feet, and howling at the moon, either. Whatever works.

Richard Paolinelli
10-23-2012, 12:03 AM
25-page partial submission and three-page detailed synopsis on the way. Was considering having it blessed by any priest, pastor, reverend or rabbi I could get my hands on but I did not come across any on the way to the post office.

Phaeal
10-23-2012, 12:57 AM
I confer, via the aether, the blessings of Nyarlathotep, Soul and Messenger of the Outer Gods, Creeping Chaos, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, and He Who is Not to Be Messed With, upon your submission.

Of course, if you are accepted, He will expect payment....

Richard Paolinelli
10-23-2012, 01:35 AM
I confer, via the aether, the blessings of Nyarlathotep, Soul and Messenger of the Outer Gods, Creeping Chaos, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, and He Who is Not to Be Messed With, upon your submission.

Of course, if you are accepted, He will expect payment....

I thank you for your blessing and with some trepidation ask what form of payment is expected?

:eek:

ARoyce
10-23-2012, 02:38 AM
Totally normal. I say celebrate every request--some writers query a LOT without any requests. So you're doing something right. :) At the same time, try not to pin your hopes on a request. Keep working...and maybe schedule some time away from the Internet so you can't check your email every 5 min. :)

James D. Macdonald
10-23-2012, 04:54 AM
Is this normal? Do I need to take up some serious drinking while I wait to hear from the second agent?

Yes, it's normal.

No, don't start drinking. Write another novel while you're waiting to hear.

Phaeal
10-23-2012, 05:46 PM
I thank you for your blessing and with some trepidation ask what form of payment is expected?

:eek:

One never knows. That's what makes it exciting. :e2teeth:

jaksen
10-23-2012, 05:50 PM
I had 13 agents request partials or fulls of my novel. Thirteen is usually my lucky number, but not in this case. Several loved the book, or said they did, and gave me comments that indicated they indeed had read it. Most said they would have difficulty 'placing it.'

So what you're going through, yeah pretty normal imo.

Fantasmac
10-24-2012, 12:40 AM
The roller coaster is completely normal and it doesn't end with the query stage. The first book I ever queried racked up about 40 rejections before I shelved it and every time a new email pinged into my inbox I about had a panic attack. The best was when an agent requested a full an hour after I sent the query and then took six months to ultimately reject me.

Putputt
10-24-2012, 02:05 AM
From my agent...

"Try not to think about it. If you get too excited/depressed/disappointed/happy every time we receive news from an editor, you're not going to last long! :D"

Grrghh...so you're not alone. And drinking only makes typing that much harder. May I suggest copious amounts of carbs?

Meems
10-24-2012, 03:04 AM
Yes it is.

You eventually have to kind of numb yourself to the rejection because it's always going to hurt and because there's always going to be rejection. That is the nature of the beast.

triceretops
10-24-2012, 04:04 AM
It's all part of the normal process. Every time you get a rejection ding it leaves a little scar. But it heals and eventually disappears. Focus on other writing. Stay busy.

blacbird
10-24-2012, 10:34 AM
Being able to shake off rejections depends considerably on getting an acceptance or two along the line. If you get nothing but rejections for anything you submit, it's damn hard to ignore them.

Trust me on this.

caw

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
10-24-2012, 06:32 PM
I had my Blue Pencil with a published author this past weekend at my first conference, and it meant everything in the world to hear her tell me that I wrote well, I had a great voice, and a great platform for what I wanted to accomplish. I just hadn't found the right agent yet. She was SO encouraging. It meant a lot that my betas liked the work, and that my writers' group likes the work but hearing it from her seemed much more important.

I saw her over the course of the conference and was able to tell her I'd had a full request, and she celebrated with me.

Rejections are hard, but the longer you're at it, the brushoffs seem easier (to me, anyway). Except the one I had where the agent was all excited about the content and e-mailed back and forth with me for a day before I even sent the manuscript. When she rejected me with no feedback other than that she didn't connect with it, that one HURT. I had no way of knowing what to re-examine, and that pissed me off. I had expected a little more after all that.

But one thing I learned at the conference--- meeting agents in person is SO much better than just adding them to your querytracker list based on what they rep.

There was one agent I saw who has this same expression on her face that my mother makes (and those of you who know me, and my history with my mother know that's not a good thing). One of my friends had a Blue Pencil with her previously and said she was like stone face the whole time. I was able to cross her right off the list based on what I saw and experienced. It wouldn't be a good match.

As they say, a bad agent (or I would assume, one you don't get along with or LIKE) is worse than no agent at all. I'll be able to keep that in mind now, and assume the rejection I receive is maybe from someone making that same face who doesn't GET me. And that's OK with me.

Keep your chin up. A little Bailey's on the Rocks or Kahlua and Milk is a wonderful way to relax and keep writing without venturing into John Cheever territory.

Richard Paolinelli
10-26-2012, 08:00 AM
Well, the partial has been delivered to the agent.

Now begins the long wait, sweating buckets and chewing nails to the bone.

Someone tell me why I chose writing over computer programing back in college again?????

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
10-26-2012, 03:54 PM
Because those words have to come out somehow.

Direct that angst into your next work. Agents want to know what else you've got in the pipeline that you can send them.

As Ms. Kearsley pointed out to me this weekend when I sounded somewhat discouraged: Even if it's not this agent, SOMEONE will eventually say yes. They may not even work at that agency yet. They're out there earning some experience reading for someone.

When they get to THE agency and decide to take you on, they'll fall in love with your book, and the next thing they'll say to you is, "Do you have anything else you can show me?" And you should be prepared by having something. If you have three or four, all the better.

Good luck!


Well, the partial has been delivered to the agent.

Now begins the long wait, sweating buckets and chewing nails to the bone.

Someone tell me why I chose writing over computer programing back in college again?????