Monday, June 23, 2008

Taking Things Personally!

**pssssttttt...all you lovely visitors from're writers, right? Come on over to my comments confessional and tell me some fun stories about things you did as a teenager that your parents STILL don't know about! I return you now to your regularly scheduled programming...

This seems like a weird thing to get excited about, but today I got a personal rejection from an agent that I queried on my novel! Meaning, not a form letter. Sure, I've had rejections that were addressed "Dear Author," and I've had rejections addressed "Dear Elissa ..." and I've even had one that said something to the effect of, "Your story was intriguing, but..." which at first made me feel good until I found out it was really a form letter, too. A good one, though.

Today's rejection, though, didn't seem like a form letter, and contained the following compliment: "You have a lively literary voice." Which was unfortunately followed by a sad little sentence starting with the word "Alas." If that is a form letter, though, what a nice one!

I did manage to query five more agents today, via email. Sometime soon I've got to spend an evening getting together a batch of snail mail letters, synopses, sample chapters, etc. I'm ready for another mailing. It's a little cumbersome with my lack of a printer for my laptop, so I've got to save to the flash drive, bring it upstairs to the aging (but beautiful and still powerful...just no longer up to date on her soft and hardware!) Mac for printing duty.

The email queries are nice, but of course they, too, have their clumsy points, such as the fact that I feel I must save each letter as simple text and paste into my email, hoping the formatting comes out somewhat close to normal after it is broken up into a bazillion tiny bits of code and shuttled across the world (well, the country anyway) to some poor, overworked agent's assistant's cluttered email box.

I have a little bit of trouble with the agents who have an online submission form instead of taking query letters. These can be a little troublesome to me, since I spend all this time fussing and tinkering with each word, each comma, each snappy little compound adjective in my query letter, and then I am asked to break it all up into bits and paste it into little electronic boxes.

It's been a long time, though, since I have felt this good about getting rejected. My very first writing group, Doreen and Shaedra, used to celebrate each rejection notice with a little party. Doreen would break out a bottle of sparkling something or other, and maybe we would finger paint or make a collage or just go swing really high on the swingset under the freeway. We celebrated because a rejection letter means you really put it out there--you braved the publishing world and came back with a little bit of proof of your journey. That's why I still save all the letters, even the "Dear Author" ones. And why it feels so unfinished to type "no response" into my spreadsheet instead of "rejected."

Best of all, I've still got four more queries out there for today--four more chances for success. Tomorrow, maybe I'll get to five more. Even better, while I was sweating along on the elliptical this evening, out of nowhere came the whisper of a first sentence of my next short story. Now all I have to do is wait and listen, and the rest of the story will come. Hang on, world, my lively literary voice is getting primed for action!


CDP said...

They must be interested if they took the time to write a personal note, so congratulations!

Mary's List said...

I am proud of you for pursuing this. Keep it up!

cowpops said...

knock 'em dead, E. I'm still honored to be one of the first few to read your novel! (you're my personal writing hero, by the way)