A couple of weeks ago, in the midst of a very busy week, I got a rejection letter for my Regency romance To Woo a Wicked Widow. Now, this is not an unusual occurrence as this is the third book I’ve queried and I have yet to get “the call.” But as hope springs eternal, I continue to query.
I do, however, tend to expect rejections now. I open the emails marked RE: REQUESTED MATERIALS reciting the mantra of, “Dear Ms. Jaxon, I was intrigued by your premise but this book is simply not for us at this time.” Although many of the rejections I get these days are not form rejections, I steel myself for the inevitable ahead of time. It helps toughen the skin and make the hurt smart less.
The rejection I got on Wednesday, was no different from others I had gotten from this agent, but that was the good thing. I always query this agent, and a handful of others, because with all the queries I’ve ever sent them, they have requested partials or fulls and even though their ultimate answer was “no,” they always gave me a personal rejection that I can tell was tailored for my book. These agents are on my “dream list,” agents I would love to have represent me. Because they took the time to give me a reason for rejecting my work.
Now, I know that each agency is different with different policies, and all agents are super busy, but these particular agents take the time to make one of the hardest letters to read at least softened with the knowledge that the agent did read and consider the book. Form rejections or personalized form rejections, while necessary I’m sure, don’t make a bad situation any better on the author’s part.
And this is why these agents are on my “dream list.” Because if they take the time to write something personal to me, an author they are not taking on as a client, what on earth must they do for their clients? I’m reminded of the movie Jerry Maguire, about an agent who got fired for wanting to personalize the sports management industry. Tom Cruise bent over backwards for his client, and I believe these agents who take the time to give encouragement and even feedback to writers they are not taking on, must treat their authors like royalty.
The rejection I received that Wednesday gave me just such feedback about why the agent wasn’t taking the project on. Advice that I can use to revise my work should I choose to do so. One of my cardinal rules is to send a thank you email as soon as possible to thank them for their time and consideration. And this time, I even told the agent that one reason I kept querying her was because she always sent such helpful rejections with feedback and told her I could use her advice to revise the book and I hoped her assessment that it would only take a little more for the characters to work was true. She emailed me back immediately, saying that if I did indeed decide to revise in the areas she had pointed out, she would want to take another look at the book. And if I didn’t, she would love to look at anything else I had to send her.
This rejection kept me smiling all day. And thinking about how I might revise the book to entice this agent to take a chance on me.
Pretty good for a rejection, don’t you think?