My face-to-face agent rejection or How I almost went homicidal and murdered my dream.

It’s slow, she told me. Something in me went numb. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. Maybe it was the lack of coffee. Maybe it was the fact that I had to share the parking lot with tailgaters because the conference probably didn’t consider to check the football schedule of the university it was associated with and raised my anxiety about how much traffic I might have to deal with when the day was over. I can’t say which it was, but I was numb. I wanted to go home and hide under my blanket, like a child afraid of the dark.

I wanted to scream. Not at her. She didn’t know. She didn’t know the several dozen queries I had already sent out. She didn’t know when she told me, it’s just her opinion and I should ask someone else if I didn’t agree with her opinion. I have asked someone else. They all said no.

I said little because I was defeated. I could hardly look her in the eye when she explained it wasn’t a page-turner, she had no idea who the main character was, but there seemed to be a lot of meat on the bone beyond the first chapters. The same chapters she held in her hand.

My head pounded.

I was a weird amalgam of emotions. I knew the first chapter needed help, but I couldn’t put my finger on what. No one told me what was wrong with it. It just was wrong. I suspected it was slow when I handed the story to about ten different people, and only two read it start to finish.

I knew, but I didn’t want the work anymore.

When I start this next edit, it will be the eighth. I wanted a quick fix this time. Your query really doesn’t sell your story right. You need to cover all the major plot points in the synopsis. Something soft.

Nope. I don’t do soft. Ever.

When the headache finally took over and I saw I had no medicine, I left the conference, dejected and pained. I argued with myself the entire way home. I thought about the story. Do I love this enough? I could publish it as is, right now, and I’d be a published author. Screw the industry. Screw them all. I could have a book in hand within a week. Ignore all of their rejections. Make my proclamation as an author without any of them!

Or I could just scrap it all. I’ve been questioning a great deal lately. Questioning if I am even a talent, or am I hack? Considering the volume of rejection letters I have received, I’m starting to think I don’t’ even rate as a hack. Maybe I’ve been fooling myself all these years. Maybe my story really does suck. Maybe I should just give up on writing, give up on the book, give up on my characters.

But…

Would that be selling my story short? Don’t my characters deserve more than just half-assing editing or this homicidal literary sacrifice? Can I really walk away from writing? Can I walk away from this story that I’ve spent two years on already?

When I reached my house, I reached my decision.

The first two chapters would need to go. They slow the introduction. Everything picks up in Chapter Three, so I need to start there. Twenty-one pages just gone. Like that.

All because she told me it was slow.

I didn’t want to agree with her. I didn’t want to believe all the agents were right. But they were. So now start the eighth revision and the last examination of my sanity. After this, I don’t think I can give anymore. If they don’t love it this time, then I’m self-publishing, because my characters deserve better than all of this.

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