After five years of outlining, writing, editing, editing, writing and more editing, my next novel is to the point I wanted it to be before I began the hunt for an agent. I've gone the self-publishing route, and published my second and third novels with an independent publisher. I am at a point in my career, however, where I know that if I want to get into the major publishing houses, I need a literary agent to do so.
So, this month I have sent out a bevy of query letters to literary agents I have researched and sought out for the genres they represent that match my writing, as well as their client lists, targeting the agents of writers with similar styles to my own. I have also invested in the 2014 Guide to Literary Agents, which is a more valuable resource than I ever knew.
Within the last several weeks, I have gotten many rejections from those I've queried.
You will hear writers who bemoan such rejections, while admitting they are a part of the process. Some may print them out and hang them on their walls, trophies in their hunt for the perfect agent. Others will slam their laptops closed and forget their dream for the moment, if not longer, their egos bruised.
For me, I relish those rejections.
The rejections are a learning opportunity. A rejection tells me that this particular agent is not the right fit for my work; he or she will not be the best advocate and is not the partner I need in this next chapter of my writing career.
Of course some may argue that my query letter is not up to snuff, or the work itself still needs work. Fair points, to be sure. At the end of the day, however, fiction is a very subjective beast -- one person may not like your work while the next may fall in love with it at first page. There are writers who send out hundreds of queries over the course of their careers only to have just one agent accept.
But one may be all you need.
I try not to take the rejections personally whatsoever. They let me know that I have yet to find the best agent for me and help push me through to the next query.
Writers out there, relish those rejections. There will be many on the path to representation, but it means you're on your way to finding the best agent for you and your writing -- and isn't that what it's all about?