After I finished my last page of edits I got right down to business the next day, so that by July 22nd I had sent out a whole fleet of agent queries (speaking of which, a wonderful to place to check out agents is http://www.writersmarket.com/). On the 23rd, I sent out a whole new batch of queries because I wasn’t excited or anything. Not in the least. At around 5:00pm that very day, I received my very first rejection letter:
Thanks so much for letting us take a look at your materials and please forgive us for responding with a form letter. The volume of submissions we receive, however, makes it impossible to correspond with everyone personally.
Unfortunately, the project you describe does not suit our list at this time. We wish you the best of luck in finding an agent and publisher for your work and we thank you, once again, for letting us consider your materials.
In all honesty, I figured that I wasn’t going to be a break out writing star and that chances were the first agents I wrote to would most likely say “No” in some way, shape, or form. But no one really wants to hear the word “no” or face the fact that not everyone is going to want to bow down to the awesomeness that is your novel, so I half expected to see those two, lonesome little paragraphs with the generic “Dear Author” and burst out into the water works. Like drown-in-my-tears-need-a-raft-SOS sobs. Because face it or not, you are being rejected. You are being told that they don’t want you. That they don’t need you. Basically that you aren’t what they’re looking for. It brings up all those self-conscious, unconfident, apprehensive feeling you pushed down when you decided to take the chance. It makes you question what you’re doing and if it’s worth it. You question if the characters you’ve written are even worth it (and let me tell you, if you care about them, then they most definitely are because they matter to you).
However, there was no need for an arc; I didn’t cry. I glanced down at the email message on my phone, shrugged and went on with my life. Of course, when I got home I might’ve jumped at the chance to tell my mom that I received my first rejection letter. And I was excited to do that. That’s because after all these years of talking about wanting to be an author and dreaming up seemingly far fetched dreams, I was taking the first few steps towards making it all a reality. I was doing rather than talking. That first letter might have been rejecting me, but in my mind it was congratulating me. A concrete reminder that for the first time in my life, I’m taking a leap regardless of that pesky fear of heights.
Let’s just hope the future rejection letters go over just as well…