Today I'm going to talk about rejection, because I recently got my first one! This will also double as a bit of a confession (it's been a while since my last confession...). Today, I confess that I'm not ready to query! I shouldn't enter contests where the prize is a chance to send pages, or to have a partial or full manuscript considered, or anything like that. Why? Because I'm not ready. I know this. So from here on in, I'm going to remember it!
Anyway...my rejection story. A while back I entered one of those pitch contests with my MG project. I didn't win, but my 140-character pitch still got some attention. I received an email from pretty big deal agent, requesting that I send in my query and pages. Because I knew I wasn't ready for that, I wasn't expecting much to come of the whole affair. It was still flattering, and exciting. Still, I had to wonder if I should email back saying, "Sorry! I'm not ready! Entering that contest was a mistake!" Then I thought, how stupid - no way could I do that! So I did some last minute frantic revision, ending with a totally new query and a half-new first chapter (and no time to get either critiqued). I was happy with the changes, but still sensed I wasn't ready. Particularly as my word count remains just a little too high.
Turns out I was right - and rejected. However, it was one of those "nice" rejections. I was told I'm "a terrifically strong writer". My project got a lovely compliment too. It just wasn't suited to the agent in question. Maybe not to MG in general, either. This is something I've worried about, but I also think my introductory pages don't completely reflect the overall silliness of the story. Something I need to think about when I get to revisions.
Anyway, that's it - my first rejection! And all in all, I was pretty pleased with it. I've seen other writers blog lately about how they can't wait for their first rejection, because at least it means they're out there making a go of this writing thing! I know how they feel...and I now know the healing power of a good, kind rejection, too. :)
In other news, this is what happens when I don't pay attention. My former first chapter of SUNDOWN was an entrant in this contest, and I only found out after the voting week was over. D'oh! I got one comment, which came in today, and it was nice: "Good writing style! I'm not big on first person reads but this was done very well. Story pulled me in!" I'm pretty sure that's the only attention anyone paid to it (including me, the damn writer!) but I'm okay with that. That chapter is gone now anyway...