So this morning I received another rejection. Que the sad music…again. This one was fast, I only submitted last night, talk about an efficient agent! I can’t help but express my frustration today however.
I’ve written several queries, in fact I’ve spent months on the query writing process. I’ve revised, and completely rewrote multiple versions of my query. I’ve posted them on some fantastic critique sites and gotten great feedback but still, more rejections.
Now to be honest, I’m quite aware that I’m in the early stages of querying and this is to be expected but, I can’t help but wonder if there is something wrong with my query itself, or is the problem in my book. Is it unmarketable? Have they seen this idea so many times it disgusts them to see yet another query of it? Are they really interested in the idea, they like the writing style but, they just don’t think they can sell it? Or perhaps they see the writing and it’s just really bad…
I’ve written a young adult Fantasy. Brought in two strong main characters, one male and one female, although the story is through the eyes of the male. I’ve brought in a few supporting characters to add humor to the story and they contribute in a great way to the plot. I’ve incorporated demons and monsters both from myth and a few I’ve created on my own and put my own spin on them. What they look like, what they’re capable of, and even why they are on earth. I’ve also plotted it well so that there are no plot holes. There isn’t any part of the book that doesn’t relate to another part and the overall storyline. I know the writing market is extremely tired of werewolves, vampires, etc, etc. But with the exception of having them appear in a few spots as bad guys and a single supporting character who happens to be a vampire, the focus of my novel is not on either of those two creatures so I don’t forsee it being an instant rejection.
As far as the agents I’ve submitted to, many of they have well-kept blogs throughout the internet, so by that alone they have a huge increase in queries received each day, this I know. This also could contribute to the reason for the rejections I’ve received. Maybe my story doesn’t stand out enough out of the 500 queries a week some of these agents are receiving. Some agents I’ve queried need only a query to be submitted while others request the query and sample pages, usually 5 – 10. So I know that if my query isn’t all there maybe I have a shot at catching them with my pages but again, more rejections.
So I’m left to wonder, is it my writing that’s the problem. Is it bad writing? Or perhaps just not a voice that stands out among the thousands of other writers trying to get published. Granted as I said before, I’m quite aware that I’m in the early stages of querying and that it really only takes one “yes” to make things happen but I can still be frustrated can’t I? I’m also aware that this is the frustration of many of us hope-to-be published authors, but again I must voice my frustration.
Now don’t mistake my frustration for anger, that is not it at all. I just wish I could narrow down the problem, however, agents are busy and I realize they don’t have the time to be critiquing my work if they’re not interested in it, but now I am left questioning my writing.
One of the main reasons I’m questioning this so much is that I’ve just begun writing book 2 in my hope-to-be published series and I’m wondering if it’s a waste of my time. If the problem isn’t the query, it’s the writing, the voice, and/or the story, then perhaps I’m not ready to be a published author. Each story you write perfects your craft a little more right? Each time I revise something I get a bit better. Every time I have a problem with a plot point, or a character, or anything throughout a story I learn something, and the more research I do on agents leads me to more knowledge I don’t yet possess. But do I continue writing a story that my not be marketable or is over done, or do I start a new story and try to come up with a new grand idea that will stir the pot and catch the agents attention. This my friends is where the frustration lies.
It’s not so much that I keep getting rejected. That is a part of the process. After all, some of the most well-known authors of all time received dozens of rejections, maybe more, before they were taken on and offered a chance at publication. My problem is how to continue. It’s not to say that the series I’m writing isn’t going to work ever, but what if my query is fine and the story is the issue, then why continue and elaborate on that story when there is another one – maybe a much better one – somewhere under this frustration, in the back of my mind just waiting to explode onto the page.
Alas, I do not have the answers, as I’m sure neither do you. But, I do feel better having written it out. One of the things I love most about writing is how therapeutic I find it. When I began writing this I was overly frustrated, now, I’m calm, collected and all better. That doesn’t mean I’m any less confused about everything I’ve just ranted about, it does however, mean I can sit back and hopefully make a subjective decision. I’m not going to stop querying this story by any means, but I do need to decide if I should continue writing this series now, or put it aside and start something new until I either have exhausted the query process on this novel, or someone has decided it’s a great idea, great writing and they want to take me on as a client. I could always pick the series back up then couldn’t I?
Decisions, decisions, oh how I love to hate you…sometimes.