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Handling rejection

I received my first rejection letter from a book agent last month. It was a simple copy-paste: Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, your manuscript doesn't sound like something that’s right for us. We wish you the best of success in placing your work elsewhere. My first reaction wasn't disappointment; it was elation. Just having a novel to submit to a potential agent was – in my mind – a win. A small part of me hoped the agent would bite, but I certainly didn't expect it. The best part about the rejection, though, is it gives me fresh eyes on my manuscript. I know that the work is publishable. So what is it about my query letter and my first chapter that undersells my work? How can...

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