Usually I keep quiet about my journey as a writer. Continuous rejection can do wonders for your confidence. . .but there are positives about the journey that I should share. . .
Recently I finished a novel for young adults, the third young adult novel I have written. Not thinking too much more about it than other books I had written I submitted my query letters to ten agents. Three of the ten responded quickly, asking to see more (a good sign!). One asked for an exclusive (I said no). After sending additional material, two wanted to see the whole thing. Six weeks pass and being down this road several times I didn't think or worry too much about it. Then one day an agent called me on the phone. Now, this has never happened before. Unfortunately I was mowing the lawn and Melanie took a message. The agent said she would be emailing me, so no message was necessary.
My hands shook as I signed on and checked my email. It was a rejection. . .but nicer in a way. She said she loved the story, loved the writing, but it just wasn't as "dazzling" as other stories she was considering.
Well, the other agent was still out there. . .there's always one more chance on the horizon. Then the email came:
I loved the intensity that you created between Sam and Pete - I feel like you nailed their relationship 100%. I also really enjoyed the premise - a young adult heroine in (sorry don't want to reveal too many story details) who deals with her life and its challenges with maturity and a good sense of humor (most of the time of course).
But then this sentence:
It is with regret that I am going to pass on the offer of representation.
It was the closest I had ever come to a yes. I emailed her back and said thank you for the feedback and then another email from her:
I would read a revision. I really enjoyed reading this story and was hoping my answer would have been yes. If you do end up rewriting, simply email me back and I'll see what's in my queue at the time.
So, not a complete no. . .
Did I revise it? Yes, I did. right away.
Have I sent it? No. I'm not sure why such the hesitation. I have written the email to her on more than one occasion, but decide to wait and delete it before sending it. It could still be better, is one reason I haven't sent it. How can I make it better? Not sure. . .need real time to be able to sit down and focus and concentrate 100% on it. Another reason is that all writers seem to write all summer and then submit at the end of the summer, resulting in agents being bombarded in the fall with queries. Not a good time to try to stand out.
So it sits in its file in my computer, waiting for me to have time to really focus on it and make it the best it can be and then try to send it when I think maybe the agent has had time to catch up and can enjoy my novel.
And I remember when sitting one on one with an agent at the Cape Cod Writer's Conference that she told me I was further along than any other author she had met with lately. That she couldn't blow any holes in my story, that I was a better candidate than many others and not to give up. And she told me women's fiction is dead (all I had ever written at that point) and to consider making the jump to YA. Women aren't buying or reading as much as they used to. Publishers are going out of business, only accepting books from established authors. To break into the biz as an unpublished author is becoming next to impossible. YA is the way to go. . .
So I wait for inspiration. . .I wait for the big idea that will make this story dazzle. . .Or even the big idea that will create a completely different dazzling story. Something that the agent will find among the 50 other queries from that day that will make him or her say, "Wait a minute. . .what's this?" It's there somewhere and I'm getting closer. Keep your fingers crossed - maybe in the haze of anesthesia next week it will find me, or in the drudgery of day to day tasks and cleaning or in the car while driving to work or as for me - where a ton of my story ideas come from - in my dreams. . .waking up with the story that will give me that yes that I've been waiting for. . .