Yep, I am going to wear that oxymoron like a badge of honour. I got a really good rejection, folks!
Those of you who have been following my progress on the precarious path to publication may remember the post I wrote before Christmas describing how, at the end of a seven-month-long submission process, I was unfortunately unsuccessful with a publisher in the States.
However, the acquisitions editor with whom I had been dealing offered to pass my work on to a literary agent she knows. I naturally said, “Oh yes, I don’t mind if you do, whenever it’s convenient.” (Read: “YES PLEASE, SEND IT NOW, LIKE RIGHT NOW!!!”)
Not wanting to get my hopes up this time, I resolved to put this agent out of my mind until or unless I heard from her. (Ha ha, did you really believe that…? I was nervous every time I checked my email.)
After two months of pretending not to think about her, I opened my inbox yesterday to see an email from the agent, Amanda, right at the top. I actually stared at it for two full minutes before daring to open it. There may have been some hyperventilating. Finally, I worked up the courage to click on it.
And discovered that it was a no.
But a very encouraging no.
The first comment she made was “I really loved your voice.” This is a big deal for me as I was told by another agent many moons ago (when I was oh-so-naive about the publishing industry) that she wasn’t able to connect with my narrative voice. I’m so pleased that my writing has developed and matured enough in this area as voice is a really important attribute for any writer. So, woo!
Amanda had other praise about the story itself but followed it up with the regret that she couldn’t offer me representation because the historical market is very tight right now. This is a fair point as I know that historical fiction is hugely popular at present and therefore a hard market to break into. It’s disappointing to hear but not unreasonable.
And then she saved the best for last. “I hope you will consider submitting to me directly with your future work.” This has never happened to me before. For once, it’s not a closed door. To know that there is an agent out there who is open to seeing more of my work based on what she has already read is an enormous boost for me. Granted, I don’t have any other projects presentable just yet but at least I know that avenue is there to explore once I do.
So I could have just chalked this down to yet another rejection and closed the email in a huff but I think a positive attitude is the best way to look at it. And if I start to feel down about it, I just have to remember that, at long last, I have a voice!