And then, when you’re confident your material is the best it can be, you finally send out those queries.
Only to have rejection land in your inbox soon after (or maybe not so soon, but rejection still).
It is tempting to feel devastated over these, especially if they’re from an agent who you think (in theory) might be a good match for your book. And yes, if you get rejection after rejection, it is wise to revisit your material and really think things through. Is it really the best it can be?
But also keep in mind it might not be the material.
It might be that it’s not the right time for your story.
It might be that it’s simply not right for that agent (no matter how much you researched). It might even be too similar to something one of the agent's clients is writing at that moments—something the outside world might know nothing about.
And so, I urge you to not beat yourself up over rejected queries.
You can't change things you can't control. As tempting as it is to feel down over every rejection, it's not going to change anything. That rejection will still be there. And if you keep looking at your rejections, you're standing with your back to the future--to that request, to that offer of representation that might just follow, if only you focus on it. *
So keep going.
For every rejection you get, send out a new one. Or maybe more than one.
And secretly whisper to yourself, that you wouldn’t want an agent who’s not 100% in love with your work. (Yes, I realise we all want an agent to love our work. Badly. But I'd rather have no agent than one whose heart isn't in it. My opinion.)
Don’t give up on your story. You only need one agent who falls madly in love with your book. One, that’s all it takes. So pick yourself off the floor, dust yourself off, and find a new agent to query.
You can do it. I have faith in you.
* = I had a really rough week—I found out last Wednesday that I’m going to lose my job. So as much as this post is about dealing with rejections, it might also be about life in general. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. I’ll find my opportunity. I will. And so will you.