Moving on. . .

Attribution: Salvatore Di Giovanna

Attribution: Salvatore Di Giovanna

You query a novel, chances are you’re going to get rejections. That’s pretty much a no-brainer and last night, in my inbox, there it was. The novel is CHERRY. The agent had requested the full, read the manuscript, and decided it was a no. What did she say? To paraphrase: there was much to admire, including the dynamics of the relationship between David Brandt and Cherry, the parallels of their private anguish (I remember that one, very eloquent). She admired the ‘excellent pacing.’


She never fully empathized with my main character, David Brandt. She was never fully invested in the bond between Brandt and Cherry. She apologized for not connecting, wished me all the best in finding the perfect agent for my work. Actually, she was really nice.


Rejection. From an agent I thought was perfect. I had high hopes, I mentioned that in a previous blog post. Quite recently, in fact.

It bears repeating.

For some reason, I read that brief, very kind n-o and I felt myself sinking into that mire again, that dark hole again. It’s getting kind of old. Not sure if it’s lack of sleep or lack of hormones or what but this rejection hit me hard. And all day today, I’ve been trying to move past it. I posted some on AbsoluteWrite, emailed my buddies, talked to mr kk. Read some inspirational stuff. Tried to query ALBERT, make myself active instead of wallowing but man, it’s tough today.

I don’t know why sometimes rejection is so hard for us writers to swallow. I guess it depends on a lot of things, and maybe the why isn’t important. Maybe what’s important is that one assimilates it, however one does that on any particular day. Assimilate it, let it roll around for a while. Feel bad, sad, mad if you need to and then accept it, and move on. Because not everybody is going to love our work. Not everyone will love our novels, our characters, our writing. So much of it is based on subjectivity, of which we have no control.

But if we feel strongly about our work, if we believe it has value, we can’t wallow for too long. We have to keep at it, keep querying, until we find that one agent, that one publisher. We gave our characters voice and now we have to find a venue for that voice. We owe it to them, to ourselves, not to give up. To keep moving forward, pushing on, believing that if we keep at it, eventually we’re going to get somewhere. . .

snail lady




16 thoughts on “Moving on. . .

  1. A hug, kk. Not of sympathy, but of support. Sympathy is reserved for when there is no longer hope. Yes, rejection stings, but someone outside of your cozy circle read CHERRY and found much to admire. That is a validation, and maybe even a harbinger.


  2. Ah, I was keeping my mental fingers crossed for that full, right along with you.

    I had a full that took the agent several months to get back to me on. My only full to date. She liked my characters and plot details (it’s a thriller), but lost the narrative suspense and couldn’t emotionally connect with the ending. I sat on that for 9 months because I had no idea how to fix it. I wasn’t sure I *wanted* to fix it, even if I’d known how to tackle such a comment.

    I feel your wobbly, and validate it. For me, taking time off worked. I didn’t just tell myself I’d take a few weeks. I just walked away. I didn’t write for almost a year. I had another idea I’d been kicking around and over Christmas break decided to start that one. But after 4 chapters, the need to finish my original MS and do it justice made me unable to concentrate on the new work. So, I let it stew in my brain for about a week, and jotted notes as they occurred to me. Then it hit me how to fix it. I deleted the last 100 pages and completely re-wrote the last 1/3 of the MS in less than a week.

    I have been querying it again, but I know my query sucks and am batting 100 for form R’s. I hate it too, because I know HOW GOOD my MS is now. I’m ready to try something radically different wrt my query letter. Am brainstorming now. My new battlecry: NO MS LEFT BEHIND!


    • Courtney, I remember your query on QLH. As a matter of fact, I just hopped over there to see if I’d missed a rework of it, but it looks like nothing new’s been posted since February. Kudos to you for giving it another go, and not giving up on it. You need that damn query to get an agent’s attention, so said agent can read your awesome thriller.

      I didn’t know you went through that process in writing your novel. I know what that’s like, kind of–revamping CHERRY, although not to the extent you’ve reworked yours. But you’ve tempered it now: trail by fire and it’s stronger than ever and you KNOW that, so that’s going to be the driving force for you.

      Same here. Thanks for writing today, Courtney. Means a lot. Good luck, kiddo. I’ll be looking for that query.

      xo kk


      • Ah, I have to admit I didn’t re-post my query. My tender dangly bits were warped and mangled by the experience. I get that folks there do this all the time, but I didn’t always understand the shorthand they employed (i.e., “this reads like a synopsis”) and I rewrote in reaction to some comments (i.e., HOW did she get the rings? WHAT kind of experiments?) only to get contradictory comments (i.e., there’s too much setup, more story/less setting). I never felt I got a grasp on how to fix what’s wrong. In the end, it only felt like a public flogging, to tell you the truth.


        • I know what you mean. BUT, I still think QLH is worth the torture. Swear to god.

          I went through hell with my CHERRY query. For real. I cringe, I really do, when I go through that thread and read some of the queries I posted, some of the responses I posted. I remember crying. . .

          But I kept at it and I think my skin got thicker–no, I know it did. And when I was able to remove my own self from the job I had to do, it got easier. That was the key, taking my self out of the equation, focusing on writing the best damn query I could write. I gained confidence, Courtney. And that, coupled with my newfound ability to view my query not as an extension of myself, but as a tool I was going to forge for one purpose–entice an agent–resulted in a query I am proud of. One that has gotten requests for partials and fulls.

          I couldn’t have done that by myself. Maybe you can. But if you have something now that you’re kicking around, I would suggest you slap it up there. Hey, you can say to critters, I am feeling uncertain about this, so be gentle. They will ’cause if they don’t, I’ll kick their ass.



  3. This is a shitty thing and I’m sorry that it’s dampened your faith in your excessively and insultingly brilliant writing. I have no doubt that CHERRY will find the right place, and that team of people will love the shit out of it, because that’s the kind of writer you are.


  4. Well damn, Anna stole all my words. 😉
    Except this. Rejections suck. They do. Even the nice ones that give just enough hope to keep trying. Trust me, I’m expert at being rejected. And wallowing. Pretty sure I have an honorary doctorate in that one.
    Keep querying, I (and many others) continue to have faith in you and your work ❤


  5. That’s rough. You know all the facts and numbers about querying, so I’m not going to try to remind you of them trying to perk you up.

    Sometimes it’s good to just be bummed, pissed, sad, angry, scared, frustrated, and all the rest of it for a while. Because no matter how you look at it, this just sucks. We all know (first hand). That doesn’t make it suck less, either.

    So, screw it. Let yourself be sad and pissed. I’m sad and pissed for you. Just don’t wallow in it too long.


    • Your comments are apropos, coming on the heels of your painfully funny recent blog post about querying ( ).

      Yeah, it sucks but today I say screw it. Done wallowing. Time to get back to woik, Michael–NOT MookyMcD, in deference to the slightly irritating unpleasantness you recently described. I, too, have experienced The Wrath of Mod. Publically admonished, which pissed me right off. You’re right, there are some great people over there, really good info at your fingertips but you have to tread lightly sometimes. I don’t care for that. . .

      Thanks for the comments, Michael, and thanks for visiting my little blog.

      🙂 kk


  6. (((( big bear hug )))) I just wanted to tell you that a month after we finished the first round of edits for my first book—with a small publisher, I got two notes in quick succession. One was a request for the full from an agent I had queried over a year earlier … interesting. And then I got the only truly rude rejection of my career. I wanted to write that agent back and tell him that two small publishers had actually given me contracts on the book, the one he suggested that I put in a drawer. Not worth my time.

    You’ve got the right attitude. Keep focused on the positive. Get mad or sad if you need to, but move on. Try to look ahead. Put the rejections in a drawer, but do learn from them.

    We’re rooting for you!


    • You are very kind, luciesmoker, and I appreciate the hell out of it. I’m sorry that agent was rude, no reason for that. I guess there are dicks all over the place. Which is a very weird thing to write, because I just now had a vision. . .


      Anyhoo, I have my trusty yellow query folder here, and my trusty little pen, and in a minute (maybe two), I plan to get to work again, trying to sell my stuff to somebody amazingly amazing.

      Thank you again, lucie. Good luck to you, too, for sure.

      xo kk


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