The Art of Rejection

I have gotten the BEST rejections lately!

Nope. Not being facetious.

My latest manuscript Behind Cellar Doors was a finalist in Pitch Wars 2017 – and it was such a great experience and opportunity. I worked with writer Laura Brown to hone in on the story, making it so much better.

But I soon discovered: It just wasn’t (quite) there.

I started getting rejections. And they were REALLY GREAT rejections. The feedback I was getting from agents was amazing—I was so grateful they took the time to send really insightful information. So, though I was disappointed that I didn’t get a wow-I-can’t-wait-to-sign-you message, their feedback pinpointed exactly what was missing in the MS.

So, I could, like, FIX IT! 

Here are some of my favorite lines that helped push me to the next revision:

“I love this premise, and you really made your setting come alive for the reader. I almost felt like I was working in a vineyard myself. I thought Taylor was well-drawn as your MC, and I really got a sense of her motivation and personality. I also felt like the novel had a strong and original voice which felt consistent throughout. For me, I just didn’t feel enough tension throughout the novel, especially to build up to what is a pretty dark twist at the end.”

“…I see this as a strength to your writing and to her character. Very well done! Unfortunately, I was very much on the fence with this project. A part of me wasn’t as enamored with the romance as I’d hoped, but most of all I believe it was the pacing that kept me at a distance and prevented me from jumping up and down. You’re a great writer with an excellent story here, so I have no doubt you’ll find the perfect agent match soon to champion the project.”

“You’ve got a great voice here, and I really liked the concept, but in the end, I just didn’t fall enough in love to be able to offer representation. But of course, these things are a matter of personal taste, and another agent might feel differently. “

The best news is: one of my Pitch Wars responses was a Revise & Resubmit. And that agent sent fantastic feedback, too, which I was able to combine with the feedback above to get through a kick-ass revision of the story. (Thank you again to the amazing, talented and funny-as-hell Katie Golding, for your A-MAZ-ING edit notes.) The R&R is off in the mail, and I also got to send the new-and-improved version to two other agents who asked for fulls while I was revising.

It’s all a circle, right? Rejection feeds the process.

I’m so thankful for the insight these agents sent. It’s like they took a spotlight and focused it exactly on the parts I needed to improve.

For those of you out there dealing with rejections, make them a part of your process. When a professional takes the time to send valuable insight, think of it as a gift.