Friday, September 6, 2013

The Power of Rejection

This week, I did something that I’ve never done before.  I sent a query to an agent.  I’ve sent queries to contests where several agents are involved and slush readers go through and pick the best ones.  In those contests, I’ve just never received a response, meaning that I didn’t make it to the next round.  But this time, an agent provided the opportunity for anyone to send their query and first 5-10 pages and receive either a request for more a very honest response as to why the query is rejected. 

So I summoned up my courage and sent mine.  For a week, I waited, and then I received the response.  It was a rejection, very clear and concise as to why she didn’t want to read the rest of my story.  Her reasoning made sense.  She wasn’t interested in the genre because she’d seen too much.  I know that finding the right fit can be a lot of work.  It’s like going through a bunch of job interviews.  Most of the time, (at least in my experience) rejection is more common than acceptance.

Picture taken by me

But there’s something more that this rejection means.  It means that I’ve tried.  I’ve put my toe in the water and stepped out of my comfort zone.  In a way, I’m proud of this rejection.  There’s a part of me that wants to print out the email and save it for future references.  To remind myself that if I don’t try, there’s no way that I can achieve.  So really, this rejection is my first step towards achieving my dreams.
She also gave me some great advice (maybe inadvertently).  She asked me what was unique about my story.  

I’d always focused on telling the important points in my query, who my characters are, what they’re fighting for.  But I’d never thought to focus on what makes my story unique.  Yes, every story has similarities to another, but it’s the differences that counts.  And now I know what to really bring out in my query. 
And that’s why I’m bragging.  I attempted and I didn’t get pulled down by a rejection.  Though maybe you should ask me after 25-50.  
Created by me

What’s the last thing you did to work toward your goals?