Friday, January 22, 2010

Good News, Bad News

I completely forgot that Wednesday was Wednesday. Must've been because we had a holiday on Monday. All my days got mixed up. I totally forgot to write my WIP Wednesday update, even though I had news to share.

Or maybe I subconsciously chose to forget Wednesday because the news I had to share needed to sink in a little bit. I had to mull it over. Twirl it on my tongue like a piece of hard candy.

So, here it is Friday and I have good news. I also have bad news. I'll start with the bad news because then I can end on a positive note rather than a negative one. Also, the good news won't make much sense until you know the bad news.

Here goes:

I got an email from the agent who had requested my full manuscript.

When I saw it in the inbox, my spirits sank because I knew it was going to be a rejection. (If someone has your full and they want to represent you, they use the phone, not email.)

So, I went and checked to see if I had any phone messages -- just in case.

Nothing. (Well, technically, there was something, but it was my contractor telling me when he was going to come to seal my backsplash tile. Not an agent offering representation. Poop.)

Back to the computer I went, dragging my feet a little bit. I didn't even want to open the email. Too sad.

But open it I finally did. And ... it was a rejection. Of course. But it didn't feel as bad as I was expecting.

For one, I appreciated her getting back to me so quickly. Some people have to wait months going on years for agents to get back to them about their full submissions. So, this agent gets kudos for quickness.

For another, she had nice things to say about my book. She liked the characterizations. If anything, she felt like it had too much going on, seemed to be heading in too many directions, which, as a critique is totally fair. (There are a lot of threads. Maybe something I have to work on is simplifying.... But, I digress.) That's why she said she was passing. Too much going on.

But then there was a good news at the end. She said she'd be happy to look at other manuscripts of mine.

Now, maybe I'm reading into this too much, but I'm choosing to take that invitation as meaning she likes my writing. This one wasn't good for her, but maybe the next one will be and she'd like to read it.

I don't think that's failure. It means that when I finish Back I can include in my query to this agent something like, "You requested the full for my last project, V-Day, and in your response mentioned that I could submit future projects to you." And hopefully she'll remember, "Oh yeah, I liked that girl's writing ... I think I'd like to see more."

You'd better believe after I closed that email, I opened up Word and hammered away at my WIP, Back, for at least an hour. (An hour I really couldn't afford because it made me late starting on the lasagna I was making for dinner. That's okay, though. Writing was therapy at that point.)

Not that I'm giving up on V-Day. Not yet. I haven't even reached my goal of half of the agents I want to query, so I'm not considering it a lost cause (though I have to admit, some days I'm tempted). I'm sure there's an agent out there who likes complicated stories with lots of story threads and a big twist at the end ... Maybe?

But even if there isn't an agent out there who goes ga-ga over V-Day, I know I'm making progress. Honestly, even getting a full request is progress as far as I'm concerned. And, as I've said lots of times before, progress has to be my goal in this business.

Otherwise, I won't stay sane.


  1. It sounds like the agent definitely liked your writing style, or else they wouldn't have bothered asking to see more someday. I think that's a great encouragement right there. I've yet to start querying... nervous about it.

    Beautiful family!

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  2. I think that was a great rejection plus to be invited to send something else is wonderful and rare!!!
    An agent might not like the first submission a writer sends because it may need a lot of editing or isn't right for them, but he/she likes the writer's style and is hoping there is something else the writer has done that might be the perfect match.
    I think you should be congratulated! Good luck sending it out again.

  3. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I love what you've done with the blog!

    Anyway, Amy, that's a completely fair critique, and it's something to bounce off of when you continue writing. I guess in context of everything that could happen it's bad news, but really, the fact that this agent got to it so soon meant that she was excited about it (seriously, I should know!).

    Keep at it!

  4. I loved that the first thing you did when you closed the e-mail was to "hammer away" at your WIP. Congratulations on the good news . . . I'd say that as far as "rejections" go, that there sure was a lot to be encouraged by! (I'm guessing it was the "encouraging" bit vs the "rejection" bit that sent you to hammering away.) Can't wait for the next WIP Wednesday!