Thursday, June 10, 2010

a rejection in time

i feel i'm about the catch the wave of completion and ride it all the way to the shore.

i'm gearing up to write the last 15k words of my wip, and it's exciting, scary and nerve wracking all at the same time. i am still not exactly sure where my final word count will end up, and i checked my email records to see how many words my last manuscript was (47k, incidentally). 

now, it has been three years since i sent out queries for my last novel, and although my success rate was high for passing through the initial gate, i received rejections on all my partial and full submissions. looking through my past emails, i re-read this rejection:

I would love to see more from you. I thought TITLE REDACTED was a wonderful story. I think where it fell down was you left MAIN CHARACTER's point of view. You have a great voice and obvious talent... 
I really do mean it when I say I'd like to read more from you including MAIN CHARACTER's story if you put it in her pov. Either way I truly wish you great success in your literary career.

"wow." was my first thought. "how the heck did i miss this?"
i wondered if i was so consumed with the fact it was a rejection that i missed the part where the agent offered to give a second look at my manuscript providing i did a rewrite.
i know i'm not so prideful that i would refuse to change my novel if an agent asked. i've done it before (though still with the same result *rejection*) and would certainly do it again if i felt the changes were reasonable. and indeed, in retrospect, this agent's request was.

so why didn't i at least attempt a rewrite? and why did i have no memory of her liking my writing so much?

well, a little visit to the absolute write forums told me exactly why.
although this agent is/was not a scammer, she did not have any real sales to her credit. there were also more than a couple testimonials where writers shared their (not so great) experience with this agent.
and no, she did not manage to help these writers get any steps closer to being published.
it seems this agent no longer does business, and the handful of established writers she represented all ended their contracts with her.

honestly, i'm happy that three years ago i (apparently) did my homework, which is why i never followed up with this agent. i'm also happy that my vision wasn't so clouded by the stormy skies of rejection that i was blinded to a possible redo with an agent.

so now it's back to my wip.
before i start the big finish, i need to go back and read everything i've written thus far. and i guess while i'm there, i will make all those edits and changes i told myself i'd do once i'd finished the novel.
so yeah, there's a chance it will be a few more weeks before i start the conclusion, but at least everything else will be tight and polished, right?



Johnny Rojo said...

Two big thumbs up! Good luck in the home stretch!

Having someone critique or judge your work is hard! I remember a brief stint on my college newspaper. I HATED when the editor changed my stories around.

SkippyMom said...

oooh, this is very exciting. I truly hope it is published because you deserve it and I realllly want to read it [any chance we can have a sneak peek? I know, I know...]

Love ya and happy writing.

mi said...

johnny - thanks! though i just started my revisions this morning and i see i have a lot of work ahead of me. it might take more than a month to finally write the conclusion!

skippymom - you KNOW you will be one of the first to read it once it is completed!

Dawn said...

I WANT TO READ YOUR WIP! And...yay! Good luck pushing through your last 15K, sunshine. xo

mi said...

dawn - don't worry!
you, skippymom and random thinker are the top three on my list to read my wip once it's finished!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Good luck with your book! I think it's definitely smart to do your research on agents like you did; I didn't even realize how important it was to do that until you described your own experience.

Janet Johnson said...

Good for you! Homework is essential in the submission process . . . so easy to swoon over a positive comments, but smart to know.

And good luck with the last bit! Exciting. :)

mi said...

neurotic workaholic - for my first novel i sent out five queries on a monday. monday night there was already a response in my inbox. an agent was very interested in seeing my work. she wanted me to send the manuscript AND a money order for return postage. as new as i was to the literary world, i knew something wasn't quite adding up. so that's when i first found and discovered that agent was a well-known scammer preying on uninformed writers.

i'm glad my lesson was quick and painless because there are plenty of writers out there with horrible tales.

janet johnson - thanks so much!

Lola Sharp said...

Write fast, edit slow...a time worn phrase, but it sums up my process.

Oh, and I agree with your list of pet peeves in a previous post! (I'm truing to catch up on posts I've missed lately)

Happy Weekend! :)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Three cheers for you in the homestretch! Best of luck with the final 15K.

Your instincts always guide you in the right direction. They did three years ago, and they will today. Best of luck with it!

mi said...

lola sharp - thanks! you too!

nicole ducleroir - thanks so much!

Christine Fletcher said...

That gallop to the finish line is always exhilarating! And scary...because that's when we find out if what we've labored so long to set up actually works out the way we envisioned.

Best of luck with the revisions and with that race to the end! Kudos, too, for doing your homework. (A money order?! Wow, that's cheeky. I wonder how many naive writers the "agent" suckered with that one...)

mi said...

christine - it is scary! which is why i'm taking my time revising the parts i've already written.
and apparently that "agent" has done a LOT worse to other writers. like taking them on as clients for a monthly fee and constantly sending them bills for office supplies like ink and paper.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

That is such great advice! It's so easy to get "clouded by the stormy skies of rejection" (awesome phrase, btw),that the temptation is to act on any opportunity, even if it's not ideal.

Good luck with your WIP! Getting into that homestretch!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Congrats on getting down to the nitty gritty with your wip. that's always an exciting time! and props to you for doing your homework on that agent. PS- I love your new blog look!

mi said...

carolina - thanks! and thanks for stopping by!

creepy query girl - thanks for the compliment! i like how blogger changed the design options so we can make them fit our personalities better.

Random Thinker said...

Right!!! Good luck as you sprint for the finish.... or I mean, slowly take your time to polish it and get it tight before you cross the finish line ..... that actually sounds more sensible.