My Manuscript Was Rejected? WTH?

Welcome to my latest blog about my writing journey. If you’d like to catch up on my earlier posts, click the links below.

How It All Began

I Decided to Write a Vampire Book. Now What?

I Decided to Write a Book. Now What?

To Query or Not to Query? That is the Question

The ‘To Query or Not to Query?’ blog left off with me mailing my submission packages to a number of literary agents. That’s when the waiting game began.

Patience isn’t one of my virtues, so the wait was agonizing. To pass the time, I imagined literary agents ripping open my envelope or anxiously clicking my email, devouring my query letter, synopsis and The Descendant’s first chapter, and then standing up at their desk, my manuscript in hand, and declaring they found the next blockbuster book.

Excited Woman Working At Desk In Design Studio

That’s not what happened.

I rushed home every afternoon after work, tires screeching on the pavement as I jammed my car in park, overly excited to see if the postman had delivered a letter stating the good news that a literary agent wanted to represent me. I was disappointed for several weeks that there wasn’t a letter or an email response.

And then it happened.

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I opened the mailbox one fall afternoon, and there was an envelope on top, the return address of one of the agencies I’d queried. I hopped back in my car, pulled it in the garage, flung open the door to my house, dropped all of my work stuff and ripped the envelope open. My eyes flitted over the page looking for the words ‘we’d love to represent you,’ but that’s not what I saw. I cocked my head and read the message again:

Dear Author,

Please forgive this impersonal note regarding your query, which we have considered but must decline. As we receive a tremendous number of queries, we are unable to respond to each submission individually, but we thank you for the opportunity to review your work.

We encourage you to keep writing and to try other agents.

I was rejected! Rejected? Me? Moi? My wonderful story that everyone would soon be clamoring to read was rejected? But how was that possible? I scratched my head and hoped for better news from the other agents I’d queried. But that news never came.

With each subsequent rejection letter (if I received one at all; some agents don’t send any response if they’re not interested in your work), my hope of becoming a published author began to fade. So that’s when I did more Internet searching to see what these rejection letters were all about.

What I didn’t know then, but know now, is that rejections are common; in fact they’re the norm in the publishing industry. I’d even read about how many times some of my favorite, famous authors had been rejected. It was nice knowing I was in good company, but I still wanted to be published, darn it!

One day I decided to review all of the rejection letters I’d received. The letters were nice; the agents never said anything mean, and some agents even wished me luck. But the letters also weren’t constructive. The notes didn’t indicate what specifically the agent didn’t (or did) like about the story. I understand why that’s the way it is; an agent simply wouldn’t have the time to customize each rejection letter given everything else on their plates.

So I sat and stewed and eventually concluded something was wrong. I had a story that I’d written and re-written over three years, self-edited a gazillion times (at this point, I still didn’t know that was a big no-no), I felt I had a new angle on the vampire genre, yet the manuscript wasn’t registering with agents. Something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. So I took matters into my own hands, determined to find out why my book wasn’t hitting the mark with literary agents. I was on a mission!

Stay tuned for my next blog where I’ll discuss what I did to discover what was wrong with my manuscript.

I’d love to hear from you!

Have you queried a literary agent?

What was your experience? Leave a comment below!