Dear Agents Who Rejected the Full of my Manuscript,
A few years ago, I got an invitation from you to submit the full of my novel after you had scouted me on a critiquing website. You made a revision list, I did the work, and it wasn't what you were looking for. You had a lot of feedback. You invited me to submit one more time on those revisions.
I did the work, and it wasn't what you were looking for.
Thank you for the opportunity. (Even if a few friends of mine had to quietly peel me off of the ceiling afterwards.)
I learned some valuable things from you, and from several other agents who also rejected the full of my manuscript. I learned that the publishing world, whether traditional or otherwise, is a ruthless place. It's a hard place. It's a competitive place.
I learned that it wasn't about me. It was about my books, and they weren't good enough. I learned that an agent could like me without liking my books. My book isn't me.
It took me a few months (or more…) to really understand that, but I needed to learn. The opportunity lost still makes me wonder ‘what might have been' but I am grateful you said no. I think I learned more from facing failure than I would have at outright encountering success.
I hear how you get flack over the whole rejection thing, and that it is the most onerous part of the traditional publication stint. I also hear how rejection helps make people stronger. Helps to grow thick skin. Improves a person.
It doesn't, not unless the person is a little like me, and views it as a challenge. Then it's great. Rejection just means I have to play harder, write better, be better. Some folks don't get that. It's okay. Some people don't work like that, but I certainly do.
So, thank you for that kick in the ass. I needed it.
Without you, I wouldn't have been able to make Storm Without End nearly as strong as it is today. It definitely wouldn't have been strong enough to make one of amazon's bestseller lists in position #10. Sure, I was the one who put in the effort, the sweat, the tears, and the blood to improve myself and my writing, but without you, I never would have realized I needed to put in the hard work. I never would have really and truly tried.
There is no pain quite like getting so close to a goal and failing.
Some people give up and walk away, burned. Others stand back up and try again. I still haven't reached my dream of traditional publication, but I have accomplished things. I had to make my own way in the world, and it meant putting aside one dream for the main course: Becoming an author.
So, thank you for solidifying that traditional or self publishing wasn't my actual goal, but that writing books was. That sharing my stories with anyone I can reach out to is the actual goal.
I still want to become a traditionally published author. It could still happen.
Maybe one day one of my manuscripts will find its way to your door again, and you'll find we might work well together. Or not. We'll have to see. It still twinges sometimes, when I think of ‘what might have been'. I do look at my sales and go, ‘this could have been 10,000 books' instead of 100 books. Then I buckle up, lift my chin, and remember one thing:
100 can become 10,000, if I work hard enough, if I write well enough, and if I keep writing.
Thank you for making me really realize what my dream was, and giving me the strength to chase it down and try for it. Rejections can hurt. They stab the ego. They damage the esteem.
But, I overcame that, and I'm so much better for it, and I have you to thank, Agents. I don't think I could have ever learned to take it to the next step without your rejections.
You may never know who you are. You probably don't care — you have your real clients to work with, and I'm just one drop in the ocean. You probably won't read this.
But, if you are an agent, and you do find this page, thank you.
You work hard so authors like me can shine.