Making the most of rejection
oday Jessica Faust of Bookends blogged about a letter she received from a frustrated writer. It was almost painful to read the letter. You could feel the frustration bordering on anger from this writer. There have been a lot of comments about the letter. Some expressing sympathy for the frustrated writer and some not. Jessica was saddened by the letter and mentioned that it's really the author's job to figure out what's wrong, what is or isn't working.
Sadly, I have to agree with her. I say sadly, because it is so very very frustrating. I've queried a lot of agents with several different projects (yes, Jessica was queried on every single one). My last project was especially frustrating. I received a lot of interest so at least my query letters are getting better. But in the end, no takers. And I can't blame them. There is something wrong with the book. I just have no clue what it is.
The comments from agents were all over the place. I got everything from "great characters, good dialog, strong plot, good writing, but I just didn't love it enough" to hand written notes telling me they usually don't go into so much detail but my character was so good that she deserved to have her game raised. One agent even returned the full manuscript (at her own expense) with a two page letter of comments and notes on the manuscript. From the comments she made I doubt we'd ever be a good fit, but you better believe I wrote her an effusive thank you letter. Another agent wrote "
Still, there's something wrong with the book. I love the premise, I love the characters, I think the plot works, I think my writing is strong. But somehow it just isn't coming together in a pleasing way. So, for the first time in years, a manuscript is going under the bed with the dust bunnies. Well, mostly. First I'll cannibalize a few scenes that will work in another book. I just hate to waste anything.