Rejection is one of the hardest things for humans to contend with, I think. (I added I think because the rule is to never end a sentence with a preposition. Obviously I think whatever I’m writing here – it’s my blog!)
Oh, can you tell I’m a bit testy today? I’ve received a rejection from a potential agent. She seemed quite interested in my book: the plot, the characters, my writing style, the ‘suspense’ genre, and even in me, the author. I tried not to stand on tiptoes while I waited for her yay or nay, but my toes were quite sore by the time I received her rejection the end of week 2 (an impressive turnaround from delivery of my 300 page manuscript and response – usually writers must wait months to hear back. That’s a lot of sore toes…).
The agent wrote an encouraging letter, ‘don’t give up,’ and ‘try someone else, maybe I’m wrong.’ Well, I’m paraphrasing since I can’t find the letter she sent. Not that I’m a sore loser or anything; it must be stuffed in the pile by my writing notebooks.
But what hurt was her handwritten addition at the top. “Sorry, I just didn’t care enough to turn the pages.”
OUCH. Tell me I used horrible grammar. Chastise me for using 1.8 instead of double spaced lines. Question me on the choice of the Caribbean for one of the book’s settings. But please, please don’t tell me my book wasn’t compelling. Over the best year, 8 different reviewers have sung praises about my Meredith, and Gregory, and Parker, and all of them complained that they stayed up all night because they couldn’t put the book down.
So who’s right? Everyone. We read what we love, most of us, and we love different genres, points of views, and tones. One of my friends reads only edgy books, the kind where a character lets off a swear word every other line, and at the end of the book, no one comes out happier, or wiser, or better off. Another friend can only stomach romances (the sexier the better); a colleague only reads books of action, action, action. Please, no character development or metaphor or universal theme!
So I picked the wrong agent. I need one who likes the idea of action and theme, of characters who contemplate midst the kidnappings, killings, and chaos. Sweet kisses and lonely lust. And, a happy ending.
For me, a happy ending is a necessity. Otherwise, we’d all be standing on sore toes for a long, long time.