First rejection

As of today I’ve queried 2 literary agencies for my novel Earth Mage. I sent one off to Nelson Literary Agency last night and this morning got a  form rejection letter. Wanna see what one looks like???

Dear Author:

Thank you so much for sending the Nelson Literary Agency your query. We’d like to apologize for the impersonal nature of this standard rejection letter. Rest assured that we do read every query letter carefully and, unfortunately, this project is not right for us.  Because this business is so subjective and opinions vary widely, we recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one “yes” to find the right match.

Good luck with all your publishing endeavors.

Sincerely,

Nelson Literary Agency

Yep, that’s what it looks like. Now, you might think I’m depressed or that this is a huge blow to my self-confidence, but surprisingly it’s not. Yeah, it always makes me doubt myself a little, but in these early stages, I honestly don’t mind the rejections yet.  It would have been  almost unfair and felt like cheating if I’d gotten accepted on the first try.

For those of you who know nothing about the publishing process I’m going through, here’s a little explanation:

If you want to get your novel published, sending it out directly to publishing houses is no longer the best route to take. Most publishing houses get WAY too many manuscripts sent to them to look at stuff sent by first time novelists.  So most new authors get a literary agent to represent them. Literary agents have connections in the publishing industry and publishing houses trust them to bring them quality books. Agents are motivated to choose only the best manuscripts writers send to them because if they can’t sell the manuscript to a publishing company, the agent makes NO money. You pay the agent a percentage AFTER you get your publishing contract.

Here are the steps I’ve taken:

  1. Finish the manuscript (I just finished my 3rd draft) √
  2. Make a list of agents who represent your genres (Young Adult/Science Fiction) √
  3. Pick an agent to start with (mine were Amy Boggs and Jennifer Jackson at Donald Maass Agency) √
  4. Read submission guidelines
  • Donald Maass Agency wanted a query letter, synopsis, and first 5 pages, but all agencies are different.
  • A query letter is like a cover letter to go with your resume. All agencies will want one. It’s one page with a paragraph about your novel’s plot and some bits about your previous writing experience.
  • A synopsis is a 1-3 page plot summary from start to finish.

5. Write all the stuff required to submit (And make it good!)

6. Re-read submission guidelines (nothing ticks off an agent more than if you don’t follow their requests EXACTLY)

7. Send your stuff off (often email)

8. Wait, pray, and keep busy!

As you can see, another reason I’m not depressed about getting rejected is that my novel isn’t what’s getting rejected, it’s my brief presentation of it, which doesn’t nearly sting as much.

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