Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Agents may dole out hundreds (or thousands) of rejections each year, but we experience rejection from the other side too. Each day we receive rejections from publishing houses for authors’ projects we’ve submitted with hopeful hearts. When I receive one of these rejections, I feel it. I’m disappointed and find it hard to tell my clients that a publishing house has turned us down. While these books aren’t really my projects being rejected (I didn’t write them), they’re still my babies in a way. I want to see those books in print. I love them, and I want to share them with other readers.
Agents also experience rejection when we’re negotiating contracts. Sometimes we present a change to the contracts department at a publishing house and we believe the change is mutually beneficial to the author and the publisher, but the contracts negotiator is immovable for one reason or another. When this happens, it’s frustrating and disappointing because we are unable to get what we want for our clients.
We’re also faced with rejection when we work on obtaining the best titles and cover art for our clients’ books. Most of the time covers and titles are presented to us and they are fabulous, but sometimes we would like to see them tweaked in one way or another. This isn’t usually a problem, and the changes are made, but once in a while the sales people (or some other in-house source) demand that a certain title or cover be used. Though we’re pretty sure that another design or title would have a broader appeal, we’re unable to convince the publishing house to make the change. This is disappointing, but it’s also a lesson in trust. We move forward, hoping that the publisher is right and that the final title and cover sell more books.
So next time you receive a rejection letter from an agent, remember that we understand the feelings that you are experiencing. And remember that, while it’s hard to take rejection, past rejections make the excitement of success even greater.
Now that we’ve talked about rejection all week, I think it’s time for a laugh. Check out this video on YouTube. It shows us how easy and fun publishing SHOULD be.
Nice post. It is important for us to remember that everyone deals with rejection at one point or another, no matter where they are in the process. I’m not surprised at all however, at agents getting excited about certain books and taking their success personally. We’re all in a facet of this industry for a reason, and I’d be upset as a writer if you DIDN’T feel at least some personal attachment to some works that come across your desk.
ROTFL! I’d seen that video before. It’s hysterical. I should save that for my “Friday Funnies” some time.
Great post. I can see how an agent would be affected by the novel being rejected, because you wouldn’t have agreed to represent the author and his/her project if you didn’t love it. Thanks for that viewpoint.
Rejection hurts, but doesn’t have to be fatal. Thanks for pointing out that agents feel the loss too.
Thank you for this post! I needed that encouragement.
Too funny! That video reminds me of the one Lara Zelin (sp?) did as a promo for her new book ‘Donut Days’. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a google!
Thanks so much for the smile after a topic we all needed to hear. : ) True, publishing doesn’t always go the way that video shows, but you know, I do believe in a way, it can be similar to that. While it has much more ups and downs, sometimes you just have to hang onto that sort of naive excitement over your book, to make other people really enjoy it as well.
I hadn’t really thought about the agent’s side of rejection. Thank you for sharing! I love how you point out that past rejections make success that much more exciting. 🙂
The editor looks freakishly like Andy Meisenheimer if Andy were to put on some weight, that is.
Oh my GOODNESS. That does look like me. Even the dancing, sad to say.