Personalized Rejections Rock

I must be nuts for saying any kind of rejection rocks, but when you’re used to the cookie-cutter ones that don’t offer any insight into why the agent isn’t interested in your manuscript, it can almost make you downright giddy to receive a personalized rejection–even better if the agent tells you exactly what turned her off to your submission.

Sarah Lapolla of Curtis Brown, Ltd. was the first agent to request my full manuscript. I waited on pins and needles for just shy of two months (not far off of her estimated response time, and well ahead of many agents’ wait of three months or much longer). By the time her response came, I had talked myself through the inevitable rejection. Chocolate was consumed, but for once tears were not shed. Exactly the opposite of what I’d expected of myself from something so awesome as a full submission. I spent the rest of the day slightly bummed, but optimistic for future queries. Her very kind and insightful rejection gave me the feeling I might be one or two rewrites away from another agent’s yes:

I was able to read it last night and thought Nissa was a really wonderful character. You did a really great job with her voice and making her someone readers will want to follow. As you know, I also am a huge fan of this premise; however, I felt that as I kept reading, I was less taken with the writing than I was with your opening. To me, it seemed that the narrative voice changed to a more descriptive voice, rather than one of action, after Nissa entered Aronaur and lost some of its initial intrigue.
With that said, I am going to pass on this project. I hope you continue to search for an agent who will have a better connection to your work, and I wish you success in your writing career. Thank you again for the chance to read this novel.
Yeah, it was a little discouraging at first, and overwhelming when I realized I was facing the daunting prospect of another rewrite. I brought her letter to my writers’ group last night, and received some helpful feedback from my awesome writing friends. Matt Bayan, a bestselling author and excellent editor, had already slogged through my first draft a couple of years ago, and last month re-read The Moongate‘s latest version, so I was anxious to hear his opinion. I hoped he didn’t think I really needed to change the narrative voice, because in my mind that’s a huge undertaking. To my dismay, he more or less agreed with Sarah, but gave me some helpful tips on how to improve the narrative without slamming my head repeatedly into my desk.
So it’s back to rewrite city. But it’s okay, I know I can do it, yet again. To Sarah, thank you for the chance to send my first full. I’m closer to publication than ever before!
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One thought on “Personalized Rejections Rock

  1. You're absolutely right Kristen, you are close. I think every writer on the planet feels your pain, some feelin' a whole lot of envy, just wishing for that, 'wow, someone actually read my stuff!' feeling. And those writers who say they never felt the sting of rejection? I think they fib. If you're going to play ball, you're going to get bruised. Best of luck. Remember me when you hit the NY Times list!

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