Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
I received a rejection for a client’s project on Friday. Interestingly, all of the editors’ responses to this book have been just about the same.
The rejections look something like this: “I really enjoyed reading this project. I can see why you love it. I’m probably making a huge mistake, but I’m going to have to pass. You should have no trouble finding a home for it!”
What do you do with fifteen rejections like that?!
Here’s my response as an agent:
First, I’m encouraged. This book IS good. I’m not the only one who likes it! (Even agents need encouragement at times.)
Second, I’m baffled. Why am I the only one willing to take a chance on this project? It’s a great book! Then I remember that the reward is much greater if you have to work hard for it, so I’m encouraged again.
Third, I take action! There are many things to do in the face of these positive rejections. For this book, I took another look at the proposal and project to see if I noticed something that could be improved. I reviewed my query to see how I presented my client. In this case, I noticed that a possible selling point hadn’t been included. I also went to the subscription-based website, Publisher’s Marketplace, to see which publishing houses are acquiring debut novels in this genre. It’s such at tough market that publishers taking on debut novels are few. Then I wrote to a couple of the editors who had rejected the project to ask what might have helped them to take the chance, and I’m looking forward to the responses.
I bet many of you are in this same place with your projects. You’ve sent out queries, proposals and manuscripts that have received positive feedback from agents and editors, but nobody seems to want to take a chance.
What do you do?
I’d love to hear from you!