On Rejection

I’ve just received my 57th form rejection email for my novel. I like to print them out and keep them in a file. It hasn’t slowed me too much because there are a lot of agents out there.

In the mean time I keep writing short stories and flash fiction and have started another novel, so I stay busy. If you’re going to write, you need a thick skin.

The only thing that bugs me are the agents that ask you to send pages and don’t read them. I understand agents are busy people and all that, but if they’re so busy don’t ask for pages in the first place. (By the way, I’m not just talking queries with attached pages, I’m talking requested pages here.)

How do I know they don’t bother to read? I’ve started to place a tiny, almost invisible pencil mark under the paper clip holding my pages on snail mail submissions, and the pages have come back pristine, the clip in it’s same position. (On e-mail submissions, who knows?)

I don’t care if an agent reads my stuff and writes back, “This is crap.” At least I know the agent took the time, and I didn’t waste the postage. But don’t ask for pages you don’t intend to read. Writers pay postage. It shows a lack of class to ignore work that you requested. Don’t do it.

It won’t stop me from sending out queries, and you know, it’s not that hard to act like a human being.

Got to go. More queries to mail.

High Notes

Image Lately I’ve been going through the grind of querying agents only to get the standard rejection letter, when the agent bothers to reply at all. In an effort to divert myself I’ve turned to flash fiction, just to try a new genre and return to the short story form I studied in college long ago. It’s been hard to boil my stories down to the bones, yet leave enough meat to make them resound meaning, if only to me. But it’s also an excellent way to hone your writing. I’ve also begun working on a novel in a totally new genre for me: fantasy. It involves building a totally new world, and because I am a visual person I have to draw the characters and map out the world before I even begin. Still, there have been many times I’ve felt Iike Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill. Yet, I have also been very fortunate to have a teenage daughter who also wants to write (and is more than halfway through her first novel). She is relentless, pushy, and and the worst taskmaster I’ve ever met. I adore her. Last night after receiving a spate of rejections she wrote me a letter (Mary has always written me little handwritten notes usually to get herself out of trouble). It wasn’t epic. It was tough love. In essence she said, “Don’t give up. You’d tell me to fight for what I want. So you have to set the example. Don’t wimp out. I love you.” Today I sent out ten more letters. What else can a writer do?