Write of Passage

Since August, I’ve approached writing as if it were my job. That’s been a mental shift and has required development of some new habits. The result is a completed manuscript of more than 70,000 words. Some days I like it; some days I think it still needs a lot of work! This seems to happen with all my writing, so I’m not surprised.

Querying agents is new territory for me. There’s a major learning curve involved, and I’ve spent hours researching agents, companies, and the process in general. I labored over the “perfect” tag line, blurb, synopsis, and biography. Each word was evaluated and often found to be inferior. Then the quest for the perfect word would begin again.

Finally, when each portion of the query letter was polished to the best of my ability, I took the plunge and sent out eleven letters. In less than twenty-four hours, I had my first rejection! It was a lovely-worded form letter, and I welcomed it. A rejection letter means I’m in the ranks of “professional” authors.


I send out a few letters each day. Keep in mind, each letter is unique and is only sent after extensive research about the individual agent and his/her wish list for manuscripts, the literary agency, and their specific submission guidelines. So, it surprised me when within a two-week period, one of the agents I identified as a possibility retired. Another one seems to have dropped off the face of the publishing world. And submissions guidelines changed from one day to the next with an agency. Literally, the day I sent the email, that was the only way to submit; the response to my email was along the lines of “Just kidding. Please submit through this form.” I may be paraphrasing, but you get the idea. No wonder this is a full-time job!

Out of twenty-three queries, I have a second rejection letter – another beautifully written, gentle let-down. My understanding is that I may not hear anything, ever, from many of the agents, so a form letter is at least closure.

Rejection is a rite of passage for an author. I tried to mentally prepare myself for it, and I’m doing well. I know that it will just take one agent who is smitten with my story to propel me to the next level.

Gotta run! More letters to send out; more rejections to embrace!

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