Into the Agent Fray!

My poor, unfortunate dream agents now have my query and first chapter (or whatever they required, maybe first 5 or 10 pages versus an entire chapter, etc.) in their inboxes.

Cue the rejections.  ;)

Why would I say that?  Because, let's be honest, rejection happens more often than not in the writing world.  What's "hot" and what people like is incredibly subjective and *nobody* can be faulted for that.

I am certainly not one of those psycho authors who thinks:

A.  My work is totally amazing and

B.  It's so genius, it will change the literary world, or

C.  You're an idiot/you have no taste if you don't like it.

In fact, the idea that anybody could lash out at an agent or editor for rejecting the work is incredibly disheartening to the rest of us who approach the submission process rationally.  It's just as bad as people who get pissy with reviewers who dared give their book a bad or mediocre review!  (I highly recommend Novel Publicity's latest post, reminding people about how reviewers are giving their valuable personal time when they respond to a request to read our books.)

Any rejections I receive are going to be met with a brief, "Thank you very much for your time and consideration.  Best wishes to you and all of your clients.  Happy Holidays, Wendy."

Yes, it is an emotionally-distressing process (you bet I'm watching  my email for insta-rejections!)...

...but I believe in keeping a level head and remembering good manners.  My goodness, these folks receive hundreds of submissions a week!  If they took a moment to peruse my query and those first sample pages, then I sure as hell appreciate that.  After all, maybe *their* dream author is sitting there just after my email.  If they aren't interested in what I write, they are not under any obligation to waste more time on me than absolutely necessary, and I respect that.

So while I am diving into this process of "starting at the top" (I do love, love, love my small publishers - they have been so good to me, and I will be sticking with them for future projects), I am keeping it all in perspective.

I'm reminded of "How I Got Into College" - in the application process, some students focused on the mantra of "Expect the worst, hope for the best."

That is certainly applicable to writing and publishing.  Furthermore, as a Pagan, I have a very spiritual view that what you put out into the universe comes back to you.  So I'm trying to find a middle ground between "I suck; they'll laugh me out of the agency!" and "It's fabulous and snarky and hilarious, and *somebody* out there is going to fall in love with it."

I guess "Visualize requests for partials and fulls" with the underlying thought of "brace for rejection" might do the trick.  Or, rather like spellwork, put it out into the universe and then  just let go of it.

Naturally I am writing away quite furiously.  "Project Muffin Man" (the true title of which I hope to reveal soon) has a sequel, "Project Lemon Cake".  The third book is coming together in my mind.  Meanwhile, I have two forthcoming releases from my beloved small press friends (The Pain Maiden, which is another contemporary fantasy with a Pagan main character, and Heart & Fire, the first book in a Steampunk fantasy trilogy).

Sooo... yes, keeping busy.

Actually, I have been a veritable writing machine since my son went to his dad in August.  It fills the time I would normally spend with him, and I certainly had plenty of projects to give my time and energy to!  My sweet baby boy (I can still call him "Baby", even though he's about to turn 9 in less than a month, right?) is coming home to me in January.  I will have him for 8 months.  If I can have at least two other novels "ready to go" during that time, then I can relax and enjoy motherhood.

And the query dance.


Best of luck to all of you who are in the same boat as me.  Stay positive, stay upbeat, and try not to agent/publisher stalk.  ;)

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan


  1. Good luck! I've had my first round of rejections, and all of them have been very polite and professional. The least I can do is behave likewise. (One told me my style was great, just the story wasn't. I guess that's a compliment...) And keep trying. But why would any author want to be impolite or downright mean to an agent/publisher? There's always a chance they might want to contact them again with another project. ^^

  2. Thanks Diandra. ^.^

    Precisely! I think a little appreciation and etiquette can go a very long way. Perhaps the agent who rejects an author today, is the one who sees another work by them later and absolutely loves it.

    Sure, we might think, "Oh, they won't remember my name", but never burn bridges.

    Even barely-built ones. ;)

  3. Best of luck! I think you've got the right attitude about it. In my own case, I have a tier - Plan A Plan B Plan C. Right now I'm on Plan B, and I'll give Plan A another try after my book comes out. I'm confident you can make it work!

  4. Thank you Diana. That is precisely what I have - a tier/plan along those very same lines. It's all about tackling one thing at a time, staying positive and upbeat, as well as understanding that it's a tough, tough world out there. :)

    *Very* excited to read "Divorcing a Real Witch" when it is released!

  5. good luck, lady! if i hear any leads i'll send 'em your way.

  6. Thanks Joey! And a *HUGE* thanks to you for your incredible beta reading!

  7. Truth. All of it. Something we should say to the mirror every morning: Professionalism. Appreciation. Dignity. Go forth into the world or the query process with all those 3 things!! Lest you get put on someone's list. (I know of editors/publishers publicly admitting they have "lists" of crackpots. You don't want to be on those!!

    And good luck my friend!

  8. I don't blame them for having those lists! LOL Poor agents and editors probably get sh*t on more than anybody else in the industry.

    That is a great mantra, Bettielee.

    Meanwhile, looking forward to meeting that Vampire Baron someday. ;)

  9. I don't believe in getting angry at agents BUT I also don't believe every agent knows what will sell. I think of Amanda Hocking being rejected countless times before she self-published. Also, I'm new to this and am wondering... do agents even consider taking on self-published authors or are they still seen as a no-no? I've only sent my book to one agent and she said she didn't take on sp authors. Is this the norm?
    (Also, is your book specially priced on Amazon as well?)


  10. That is so true, Sonia! And now look at Amanda Hocking (very happy for her).

    I've seen many self-published authors picked up by agents. Not sure if agents will represent a previously self-pubbed book; I think they must be approached with a fresh project (for example, what I've had through small presses could never be shopped out to them).

    But, yes, a couple of the indies I love to read and follow in Twitter do have agents.

    The price of the Kindle version of "Gossamer Gate" on Amazon *should* come down to match the 99 cents at Smashwords soon (they should price match it to other outlets, from what I understand)... Hopefully that will happen no later than the end of the week.