So far I have sent out two* submissions for Oneiromancer and I have had two rejections. At least I’m consistent.
This is not a big deal. Agents – I’ve not gone direct to publishers yet – receive hundreds of unsolicited submissions each week and take on maybe three new clients a year. Even if they love your writing the stars still have to align for them to offer to take you on.
What makes things different this time is that I feel uniquely close to actually breaking through. Rejection one: ‘I admire your writing’. Rejection two: ‘Better than a lot of submissions’. I feel like I am on the cusp; on the cusp of what I am not exactly sure, but something.
I have felt like this before. Night Shift received a lot of full-manuscript requests and ultimately got nowhere. I started this blog because I felt like my writing career was about to take off. Three years later and I’ve barely moved.
Not true, of course. I’ve moved huge distances. It’s just that these distances are very difficult to see from the outside.
Back to rejections. It’s interesting to look at the reasons I was, ultimately, rejected:
- Submission One: ‘I don’t know the Urban Fantasy market.’
Even genre specialists do not know all aspects of every sub-genre. Agency is about having relationships with editors and publishers; having contacts and avenues in a specific field. If they don’t have that then they won’t be the best representative for your work.
- Submission Two: ‘…Don’t currently have room on my list’.
Agenting takes a huge amount of time and effort: first the editing, the licking of the work into publishable shape. Then the hawking of the work around editors, representatives and publishers’ readers. Finally the negotiations, the financial play, the business side of the industry. All this takes time and there’s a limited amount of that for each author. Of course their lists get full. Even agents are allowed a day off every so often.
Of course it could be that these compliments are just sweet words; a sop to their conscience and my ego. They could be lies. But you always hear that agents don’t have time for slushpile critiques and anything they say should be taken at face value. So I choose to be complimented. I choose to believe that I am close.
This doesn’t actually help me at all. I’m still unpublished and unagented. But the world at the moment looks bright and positive. It is an inspiration to push on; to get another batch of submissions out there. And, when they’re on the way, to write more. That’s the way to get better. Maybe a stroke of luck is what it’ll take, but you have to be in a position to take advantage of your fortune.
I am on the cusp. It’s down to me to make the most of any opportunities that come my way.
*Three now. Three rejections. That is fine