Rejected…and it feels so good

Yesterday, I was rejected:

From: Joan @ EM Literary Agency
To: Trisha Slay
Sent: Tue, Jul 5, 2011 5:32 pm
Subject: RE: Requested Query – NOT SO LONG AGO, NOT SO FAR AWAY
Hi Trisha,
Thank you for sending more of this project my way. It’s intriguing and very well written—I certainly enjoyed reading it—but ultimately I’m not sure it’s working for me 100%. Beginning with the present-day letter strengthens it considerably, but the project retains something of an adult feel to me. Despite its young characters, I can’t shake the fact that it reads more like an adult book with a young protagonist than a genuine YA. I’m sorry this isn’t right for me, but it’s very possible others will feel differently. I’d be happy to see other work from you in future.
Very best,

The bad news is…this is not my first rejection.

The good news is…this is not my first “good” rejection.  In fact, most of my rejections would be considered “good” rejections by the topsy-turvy publishing world standards.

For those of you who don’t understand the rejection classification criteria, let me break it down in the most basic form:

  • Bad rejection = form letter/email that says “Thanks for your submission, but not interested.”  Even worse is absolutely no response, ever.
  • Good rejection = personal response with any form of compliment.  The fact that this agent invited me to re-submit another project is pretty much considered a solid “really good” rejection, but I don’t want to brag.

More good news…the fact that I am getting any type of rejection means I’m following my dream, submitting my work, not giving up.

I will consider what she said about this book being better suited as adult/mainstream fiction.  That said, I still think it’s contemporary YA with crossover appeal. And that’s the way I’m going to present it to the next 3 agents I choose to be the lucky recipients of my next 3 queries.

When I went to hear Shannon Hale & Libba Bray speak on their 2007 book tour, I loved the fact that Shannon showed us a roll of laminated rejection letters that she saved from her submission process for PRINCESS ACADEMY.  The letters stretched beyond the entire length of the library (a rather large and airy library in Menlo Park, CA), and yet the book was eventually published.  Not just published, it was selected as a Newbery Honor book and is one of my favorite books of all time.  And I do NOT read princess books.

So, yeah.  Back to submitting.  And hoping.  And wishing.  And praying.

Maybe if I get a longer roll of rejections then Shannon Hale, I will eventually get an award too!


2 thoughts on “Rejected…and it feels so good

  1. Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.
    James Lee Burke

  2. I went to a reading last night where the writer (who was already established and this was her third book) said she was in the middle of writing this book and her current publisher turned it down. So she said she finished writing it, but it was hard because it had already been rejected. She said that part of the measure of a good writer is how fast you can get up after disappointment. That was good, good, good to hear. But I haven’t had a good rejection in awhile, and so I’m sure when I get one I’ll feel crappy again. It’s hard, and it sucks.

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