The Long Journey to Publication, Part III

If you missed last week’s installment, you can find it at this link.

Okay, by now, it was December 2008, and I was beginning to get a wee bit discouraged. This writing thing wasn’t as easy as it looked. Still I had the urge to write, so I continued to churn out manuscripts. My next series was five books set in New Orleans. There followed two books set in South Carolina and a four book series set in Arkansas. Yes, there is a pattern. I can’t let go of my characters. I have to write more so I can find out what happens to them next.

Meanwhile, I hadn’t given up on the Colorado series. What I needed was an agent. Yeah, that would get me in the door of a major publisher. Right? I edited my manuscripts, fine-tuned my query letter, and received rejection after rejection without explanation. No, the agents didn’t have plenty to say. Rejection can be so…polite.

Lesson #4. Rejections do not vary considerably among agents. There is a standard format for politely rejecting your baby.

The two that follow are NOT the norm:

The best rejection I’ve ever gotten from an agent: Thank you for your query. While your project certainly has merit, I'm just not wild enough about the concept to ask to see more. As I'm sure you know, it's important that your agent be totally excited by/committed to /passionate about your material, and I'm sorry to say that didn't happen here. But, opinions vary considerably in this business, and mine is just one. I'm sure you'll find others who feel differently. I hope so!

The worst rejection I’ve ever gotten from an agent: Pass but may God bless.

I love that last one. Her reply came not even an hour after I e-mailed my query.

Publication with a major house requires going through a very small agent representation funnel. Your story might have the potential to be a best seller and then be made into a major motion picture, but if you can’t get an agent excited about the premise, well…enough said.

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