The Kindness of “No”

I want to share a query response I received a few days ago…the one I touched briefly on in “My First Ben Franklin”…the query that kind of changed things for me…

Dear Ms. Mackler-Paternostro

Thank you for your e-mail query.  I appreciate the opportunity to consider THE MILESTONE TAPES for possible representation, but I’m afraid I’m not the right agent for it.  The concept just didn’t grab me, and you deserve an enthusiastic agent who can champion your work.  Of course this only one response, and tastes vary widely among agents.  I wish you the best of luck finding the right home for your work.



When I started writing The Milestone Tapes, I thought “damn, this book is butter, who wouldn’t want to read this?”  Of course I felt this way, it was my story and I believed in it so hard it hurt.  I gave up a huge chunk of my every day life to tell the story of Jenna and Mia; I worried it and felt guilty over it, and I cried when I typed “The Beginning” which is my code word for “The End”– but not the end–you know what I mean?  Okay, maybe that wasn’t clear…read the book one day and you’ll understand better … promise :).

Anyway….The Milestone Tapes became so much a part of me and my life, that naturally I assumed it would inspire the same in others…similar to the way a mother views her child as the end all-be all-best thing to even happen-best child alive.  The way I felt was unshakable, I was certain.  I knew going in, there would rejection and that would either be what made me or what broke me.   

While that response was an affirmative “no”…it was also a cornerstone for me.  That place where I could say “the worst they can say no–and some are saying that…and the best I can do is keep going–so I will.”  She explained that to me, one “no” isn’t the end of life as I know it nor is it the close of my dream.  Tastes vary.  You don’t just give up or quit because that will get you nowhere.  So, with that in my back pocket, I’ll keep working.  Onward and up.

**I want to take a moment and thank the agent who, not only took the time to pull my query from the slush pile and read it, but took that moment to send me an e-mail and explain why it wasn’t for her.  I sincerely appreciate the kindness–and I do consider it kindness of the best sort.  Whatever the reasons she didn’t want to take the book on, she still took me seriously–and as a newcomer, that’s pretty freaking amazing.**


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