Thursday, February 15, 2007

I'm on a roll.

A good rejection likes company. Apparently. Last night I made two electronic submissions to agents, and both got rejected. The first was rejected by Nathan Bransford last night, and at least I got a personal reply from him:

Dear Christopher,

Thanks very much for the note, and for being a regular commenter on my blog, I really appreciate your very smart comments. I’m afraid, as you allude to, that I don’t represent very much fantasy and thus I don’t feel that I would be the most appropriate agent for your work. However, I wish you all the best in your search for representation, and I wish you every success.


That's the sort of rejection that doesn't hurt too much, thankfully. I see THE GUARDIAN as being comfortably sci-fi-like, but he didn't and I'm not about to hold it against him. Nathan is a relatively new agent, but he's with a major house and is so knowledgeable and personable that I had to send him a query even though mainstream fantasy isn't his thing. At least it's not like he read any substantial portion of my work and just didn't like it.

The second rejection that I got was in my inbox this morning, and was just a form letter from Nadia Cornier over at (her own) Firebrand literary agency. I don't have any idea what didn't rub her the right way about my query letter, but something obviously didn't. I guess I can't really argue with that, but I always hate not getting more of a chance than just the query and partial. But I understand that agents can't go reading everything that comes their way, so when I don't come off right in the query, that's just my own fault. Or just plain incompatibility with what the agent is looking for. (Hey, if this was easy, everyone would be published.)

At any rate, that brings me up to 13 rejections total. I can't pretend that it's not severely demoralizing to get so many rejections, but at the same time I have gotten enough that were personal or otherwise "near misses" that I can't complain too much. (Unless all I ever get are near misses, I suppose.)

This morning I sent off the last of my third round of queries. I'm very hopeful that one of these will be the one that's the right fit, but it will probably be a while before I hear anything. USPS Priority Mail should get the queries in NY by Monday, so it will probably be a few weeks yet on those. I do have one other query that was electronic, so perhaps I'll hear something on that sooner. As always, when I know something, you'll know something!

(Miss the start of this story? Start with: My agent story so far.)
UPDATE 2/20/07: Another pass


Annalisa said...

Congratulations might sound silly to you right now, but I really have to commend you for your attitude in this situation. Not only are you continuing to work on your writing (despite being disappointed), but you have given considerable thought to what sort of writing would be most appropriate to work on at this time. You're also taking the rejections very philosophically yet with with realistic reasoning. You're so practical minded! Bravo! It's a very important trait that many people seem to lack.

I don't think I would be half as calm myself. When I'm facing my own round of rejections, I'm going to come back to your site to bask in your sense of inner peace. I probably won't be hopping mad, but I think I'll be in need of some serious comforting.

Good luck with the rest of your submissions!

Christopher M. Park said...

Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement. My mood has definitely been fluctuating the last couple of days. It really helps that my wife, and Beverly, and everyone here is so supportive.

In some senses it would be easier to just hang it up and quit, and trust me I've had dark thoughts along those lines, but in general I've tried to cast things in as positive a light as I can. Eventually I think I'll find some manner of success, and the more obstacles that I encounter along the way only make it a more memorable, more impressive story. And a certain amount of rejection is definitely good for one's writing, too (THE GUARDIAN definitely wouldn't be what it now was if two rounds of agents hadn't rejected it.).

But don't think I don't have my crazy moments! I'm only human, like anyone else. Having some sort of support network is absolutely critical to a writer’s success, I’m learning.


Rachel V. Olivier said...

Something in the air, or water, or nanobots or something. It is much easier to take the rejection when it is worded graciously. It might not seem like much, but it helps, doesn't it?

Christopher M. Park said...

Quite so...

Cellophane Queen said...

Don't fret. I got passes from both Nathan and Firebrand, too. I'm inclined to give up on agents for now. What an agent doesn't like, why would a publisher? May as well get rejected right from the source.