I just got another request today from an amazing literary agent – that’s over a dozen requests so far with this query alone, and loads more with pitches.
But the odds? It will probably end in a rejection. However, all it takes is one yes, and you have to be brave enough to put your stories out there.
I don’t know if I’m a good enough writer yet to be professionally published – that’s up for agents to decide – but I’m a hell of a lot better than I was last year, and the year before that, and the year before that…
The difference between me and others who are afraid of failure? I’m not afraid to get rejections. I have loads of them. I’ve been querying shitty novels, then less shitty novels, then maybe-okay novels, since 2015. That’s two years with a steep learning curve.
Most agents will reject you, it’s just part of the process: loved the concept but the writing was off, writing was lush and evocative but they wanted something contemporary – more exposition, less exposition, more background, a faster pace – all this conflicting advice, but at least with those rejections comes invaluable ADVICE.
Personalized rejections are a godsend. Feedback on fulls and partials even better. You never know when an agent might fall in love with your manuscript.
After all, all you can do is persevere.
Repeat after me:
That’s all right. I can try again. I can get better.
But you have to give yourself the chance to try again.
You don’t get better by just chucking manuscripts in a drawer.
You need the agitation.
You need that fear, that uncertainty, that courage.
You need input from other human beings. Which means:
Fuck your pre-rejection.
You want to get rejected? Do it the old-fashioned way.
Let someone else reject you. Take your shot. Worst you can do is fail. And failure fucking rocks.
Sure, maybe you’ll get rejected. But maybe, just maybe, the opposite will happen.
How else do stories reach their audiences, you think?
Chuck Wendig puts it brilliantly – on why you should put your work out there, and cherish rejections.