I recently received one of the nicest rejections I’ve ever gotten...which is saying a lot because I’ve received quite a few rejections over the past few years of querying my adult science fiction novel (RIP CRIER/LIAR), my adult contemporary artist/mercenary book (it was fun writing you, MAKING & KILLING), and now my young adult contemporary, ROADKILL KIDS (third time’s the charm?).
This particular rejection was for ROADKILL KIDS and goes like this:
I hope you had a great weekend. Thank you so much for sending me the full of Roadkill Kids. I really enjoyed the read and it’s absolutely what I’d pick up in a bookshop, but I’m afraid I didn’t love it enough to take this further. You’re a huge talent and I know you’ll find a brilliant champion for you and your work, and I really look forward to seeing where that is. Best of luck and apologies for the disappointing news.
It’s absolutely what I’d pick up in a bookshop.
HOW LOVELY IS THAT? Can you tell this agent is British? This agent is British. And they also rejected me. But somehow the blow didn’t sting quite as badly as some of the others I’ve received over the literal years I’ve been doing this.
And let’s go ahead and look at my current numbers, shall we? The following is a graph showing the number of outright rejections (55), non-responses-that-mean-rejections (26), requests for pages or a full copy of my manuscript (!) that are in turn rejected (like the above lovely quote - 10), agents who still have pages or the full manuscript and are still considering it (4), and other agents who I’m still waiting to hear from (29).
I’ve attempted the math (always dangerous) and I have a roughly 9% request rate. That's...not terrible!
Which, coincidentally, is often the tone of the note I get from agents who ultimately reject my story. It’s not terrible, but I don’t feel particularly inspired/compelled/etc, so I’m going to have to pass.
And this has gotten me thinking about the nature of inspiration, particularly when it comes to tracing that inspiration to its source. I recently stumbled across this travel grant opportunity for speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, etc), and decided to go for it. Now, I don’t know what will happen, but if I’m awarded the grant, I’ll use the opportunity to travel to Hungary and flesh out a book I recently finished the first draft of, James and Bronte’s Summer Solace.
But for now we wait.