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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2, 2009

I wrote this for Jimsissy's chain blog: The seven stages of Query.

So I thought I would share it here also. Please go to her blog Fire Drill to read the rest.

Happiness can exist only in acceptance. -George Orwell

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I write this another in a long line of form rejections gracefully falls into my printer’s tray, with a soul-shattering thud. Once again an agent that showed so much promise in the beginning has proven that she does not share my dream. This agent seduced me with her web site as she beckoned me with her, “this agent is actively building her clients.” How many times have I fallen for that come-hither mesmerizing “this agent represents middle-grade” hypnotizing stare?
It would seem that lessons would have been learned by now. How do we as writers accept getting knocked on our butts, and keep coming back for more? Is it easy for us to see our dreams be dismissed subjectively? How many of us would stop associating with friends that told us that we just didn’t fit in, or were just not right. It is something we as wanna be authors face on a daily basis, or in some cases we face rejection three or four times a day.

Everyone of us go to our email countless times each day, searching for that solitary positive response to our query, coming back empty handed more times than not. We click our inbox closed with our “new no news is good news attitude”. We read with interest what other writers say about their queries, and how agent X rejected, or requested a partial, nano-seconds after they hit send. We wonder why a particular agent has responded to a particular writer, when the same agent has had your query for months without a response.

Well guess what. Rejection is the cold hard fact of the ruthless publishing business. The sooner we accept that 9 out of 10, and sometimes 99 out of 100 queries will get rejected or ignored is all a part of the game and never personal, the sooner we can move on. It’s hard to accept rejection after rejection, after rejection, but we must accept. Literary Agents do not sit in their offices and choose whose dream to crumble today. Accept that before a flower can grow there needs to be rain, or in my case monsoons.

Each and every one of us is a dreamer. We all chase our own individual rainbow. We all love what we do; writing is a passion for most of us. There is a price we all must pay for our dreams, rainbows are never free. Hope is the price we pay; it’s what gets us through to the next query. There is no doubt we hope our next query is our last query. Without hope there would be no literature.

I have always been a dreamer; I have never given up hope that my dreams will someday be the dreams of the perfect agent.

Give me the patience to accept that which I cannot change, and the courage to hope for my place in the stars.

Never give up. Accept failure with the determination to get it better the next time. Dream the impossible dream, and wish on the evening star.

One day soon, you’ll walk past a reader with their nose in a book and smile and say “that’s me they’re reading”.


  1. Nice column. I don't comment enough since I run blogs through Google Reader. Convenient for reading, but not easy to comment on posts.

  2. Fantastic post, Ray. I totally feel your hurt and aggravation. This is a difficult business. Hang on to those dreams. You are in good company. :) And keep in mind the book that made the biggest impact on both of us when you start to feel down.

  3. "One day soon, you’ll walk past a reader with their nose in a book and smile and say “that’s me they’re reading”."

    That keeps me going through the seemingly endless drafts, the endless queries, the also endless submissions, and the tease of "almost being there" when an agent responds positively, only to turn me down. I continue to be inspired by Frank McCourt,author of Angela's Ashes, now deceased, but who finally hit the publishing jackpot, not when he was 20, but when he was in retirement. Yes, I know the odds are long, but his story still tells me never to lose hope, ever. Judy