This post is special to me, because SHERRIE and I were having an email-a-thon in December, about about a couple of jewelry orders she pondered, all while stressing over an agent phone call.
And she didn't even tell me, until the next day! :D Silly girl!
Take it away, Sherrie!
It felt like a little piece of me died when I got the latest rejection. It had been a referral, one of two I’d received for my middle grade novel. I’d hesitated, not sure if this person was really right for my story. But how could I ignore a referral? Wasn’t that a slam dunk, a sure thing? I should have at least gotten a request for a partial from it. Instead, I was staring at a form rejection from an agent I wasn’t even sure I had wanted in the first place. (I've SO been there.)
I sent one of my critique partners an email with just four words: I give up. Seriously. (!!!! My critique partner Kate, and I, had this conversation once.)
But one week later, I got an email from another critique partner who was also depressed over a rejection.
I finished licking my wounds and sent her back this message:
I have to believe that persistence and luck are the only ingredients missing for us right now so we just have to keep trying and not be one of the people who gives up because it WILL happen. Hopefully before we're dead. :D :D
Just to prove that I could follow my own advice, I sent out one more query.
***Can I just say how wrong, how awful, it would have been, if I had given up? Because sending one more query…it changed everything. (sing it, girl)
Less than two weeks later, I had an agent. One who spent the first ten minutes of our conversation telling me everything she loved about my characters and the story I had written. One who was just as excited to hear my “yes” as I was to hear her offer of representation.
Every writer’s path is different, but here’s what worked for me:
1. Join a really good critique group or form one yourself. Not only will they help you make your writing stronger, they’ll support you through all the dark times.
2. Do your research. Make sure the people you approach are the best possible fit for you and your story.
3. Query slowly. I sent out a few queries at a time. If I didn’t get any requests, I would rework the query, make it better. Once I started getting rejections from the requests, I would rework the story based on whatever comments I received. ME TOO!
4. Take advantage of things like the Secret Agent contests at Miss Snark's First Victim
and Red Light, Green Light at Writing for Children and Teens . Both experiences provided me with valuable feedback on my writing. YEP!
5. Find beta readers. As much as your critique group loves you, they can only read your story so many times. Find fresh eyes to look at the story to make sure your changes work.
Beyond that, my best advice is to not give up! Work as hard as you can to make your story as good as you can, but know that you will be rejected. You will get depressed. The key is to pick yourself up and keep going. And someday you too will find your own Agent Wonderful and be ready to start the next leg of this journey to publication.
SO AWESOME, SHERRIE!
**By the way, her agent is Michelle Humphrey at International Creative Management.
The book that caught her agent's interest is, WISH YOU WEREN'T. And here's the logline: Marten’s little brother is a pain. But no wish to get rid of him has ever worked. Until now.
Read the first chapter, here!