I got another rejection the other day. This is number…seven? Seven out of the eleven queries I’ve sent. What sucks about all these rejections is there’s been no encouragement. At all. Just, thanks, but no thanks.(And yes, I know, seven rejections is nothing in the grand scheme of things. It’s my blog. I’m allowed to whine if I want to.) It’s not really in an agent’s job description to provide feedback and encouragement, although I’ve been told some do on occasion. They’re busy, it’s an extremely competitive industry, and more than likely I’m the one to blame. My writing itself doesn’t suck. I’ve had enough positive feedback (from people other than my friends) to know I’m at least on the right path. So what that tells me is there’s something wrong with my query.
My high school choir teacher, after I failed to make it into jazz choir the year after I’d been named an alternate, told me I have trouble selling myself. She was referring to my stage presence, or lack thereof, but I think the same applies here. Up on stage, I lose all confidence and you can’t hear me from ten feet away, let alone the back of the room. On paper (or in an email) I’ve yet to figure out the best words to string together that shout, Hey! Read me! I’m totally, completely, and absolutely a badass!
At least, that’s what I’m assuming is the problem. Because the moment I start thinking my writing is the problem, I’m letting in the poison.
Doubts are like buzzards. They pick away at you until there’s nothing left but a rancid carcass burning in the desert sun. Doubt is what makes you think, ya know, I should take a break. Step away from the keyboard for a little while. Recharge. Maybe then my muse will poke its head out of the ground and be rarin’ to go.
Or maybe not. Maybe that step turns into feet. Feet into weeks, months, years, and then before you know it, those stories get deleted from your hard drive because you think back and remember that it never really went anywhere so what’s the point in trying?
I’m just thankful I’ve got someone like the BF to pull me out of funks like these.
I’ve got a little ways to go before I try a different tactic. If I can’t find an agent willing to sift through the drivel that is my query letter to find the fabulous story behind it, I can always try submitting directly to the publisher. There are still some out there that haven’t gotten all 9/11 paranoid and accept unagented submissions. And if that doesn’t work, maybe it’s time to put the manuscript away and try a different one. After all, it’s not like I’m lacking for projects to submit. Although I do wonder, how does one go about querying an agent with a different project when you’ve already been turned away? Just pretend it didn’t happen? Mention it and keep your fingers crossed that they won’t do the same with this one? Bribe them with cupcakes? (I make supremely delicious pumpkin cupcakes, by the way, agents. Seriously. Gone within the hour whenever I bring them in to work. Of course, my coworkers will eat anything. Even beet dip.)
Sigh. I’ll figure it out, I promise. In the mean time, I’ve signed up for this class, in hopes someone will be able to point out what’s missing from my query. Need help? There’s still time to sign up!