Okay, that is a fairly graphic title–but yes, I guess my balls have dropped–and there is simply no other way to say it. I’m getting ballsy.
This morning I received a rejection letter. The agent said…and I quote…”I hope you plan to write another novel, because I do think you have talent. However, both your query and your opening pages need some editing, and the story could use some revision.”
Normally, I’m a “no means no” sorta gal. My mother raised me that way. I don’t back talk, and I’d never ever go against an adult. But hey…this is a grown up world, I’m an adult too and I’m trying (really hard) to find my place.
The fact is, I like this agent. I like that not only did she take the time to tell me–point-blank–my manuscript needs work, but that she saw something in my work that could be a launch pad for bigger things–things that I want long-term. It’s not the standard “I’m not right” or “thank you, but we’re not interested”…she communicated with me. She told me where my problems lie and gave me some real solutions…she just didn’t know I already knew that, that I was already working towards coming correct.
So…back to my balls…
I read, reread and reread again the e-mail. I thought it over, and in my mind I reasoned–nothing ventured, nothing gained. My book is going to an editor in 8 days. It will be revamped and polished and sorted out. My clumsy first-timer mistakes will be corrected and what remains will be a better, rounder story.
I figured–let’s see how serious that “talent” comment was…I e-mailed back. This is where I’m dropping the “no means no” pretense of my entire life. I asked her for a second chance. I said that yes, I know this MS needs work–but I’ll do it, and I’ll put everything I have into making it right.
Make no mistake about that, I’m as serious as a heart attack when it comes to this in general–this book means everything to me, and it will be perfect, whether I’m an Indie or Traditional, it makes no difference to me…my accountability will be to my readers and they deserve nothing less.
So, I took the gamble. I rolled the second chance for that first impression dice. She may say “no way, girl”…but she may not. Had I not tried…done at least that much…I’d never know. And that right there, that’s exactly what I can’t live with. I can take rejection, I can take silence and unanswered queries because I know what they mean…but not trying, that’s not my personal style. I’ll try and try and try until I run out of road.
I understand what I did was unconventional–I told her as much. I understand what I’m trying for may be a total literary faux pas. And this is nothing I’d recommend someone doing–because it might be a really, really bad thing. But–what do I really, really have to lose? She already rejected me once…twice can’t be much worse, right?
***I’ll be updating this post if or when I receive a reply…good, bad or ugly***
Edited For THE UPDATE
I heard back…she said the particular story didn’t interest her, but she’d be willing to entertain other books in the future. I quickly added her to my address book–Dear Agent Lady, you’ll be hearing from me again someday, unless I get a believer from jump street.
So…I guess I stay true to the course–we’re off to the editor in 8 days (so thrilled) and then, if nothing else, self publishing (super thrilled)…and of course, book two which is already in the worlds (extremely thrilled about that one).
The lesson here is simple and one that, I suppose, we all have to learn by trial and error…
Rejections aren’t always as simple as they may seem. I’ve, personally, been told so many different things on my journey with THE MILESTONE TAPES–but the base line is this…different agents really do want different things. That’s not stock font, people. That’s really, really true–it’s the grass-roots of reading at large.
I’ve always believed–even before I wrote, just when I was an average, everyday reader: One persons beautiful book is another’s wasted space. And now that I’m on the other side of the coin, I’m realizing, this whole author/agent/query thing…it’s not that much different from being a reader–you turn a book over, you read the back and decide if this novel is right for you. If it’s not–that doesn’t mean in five minutes another reader won’t come along, swoop it up and devour it in a solitary afternoon because it’s so them and it’s exactly what they needed. You can be a great author with great talent, and if the book isn’t an agent’s cup of tea or personal flavor, they’ll pass…same thing with any reader, really. But that’s not a reflection on you as the writer–it’s on them, as the reader. And there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. We’ve all done it, we’ll all do it for the rest of our lives in a million different ways. It boils down to choice.
I love what I do…I want others to love it as well. If you don’t, I’d rather skip the melodrama of trying too hard. I’ve hated the query process and all its baggage. But, what I can appreciate is the lessons I’ve learned…the growing I’ve done because I put myself through querying. I’m not going to say querying is something everyone should do, many won’t for personal reasons, and that I can respect. But for me, as someone green, new and fumbling I needed too–not because it’s fun, but because it’s simply educational. It prepared me for everything else that will come my way in bucketful doses; rejection, adoration, the highs and lows.
My balls and I are happy we e-mailed back.
AMP, over and out!