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 I stand out? Those are questions I’m working on answering.
In the meantime, I’ve saved my rejection letter in a special Gmail folder, and I hope to look at it again someday with a smile. In the meantime, I plan to send my manuscript out weekly until I find an agent who’s willing to take a chance on my book.
Some writers suggest sending your manuscript to 80 or 100 agents before you consider giving up. And they don’t even suggest giving up. They suggest hiring a professional editor who can help you rework your book and your query letter.
I’m not sure there’s ever been a writer who didn’t receive a rejection letter. Now, that I have one under my belt, that means I’m just one step closer to becoming a published author.