Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Tale of Publishing, Part II

This was supposed to be a short, straightforward entry about the query process, and then something very important, and interesting for bad reasons, came to my attention.

The query process can be frustrating. It is sort of universally acknowledged as awful, terrible, degrading, deflating, and discouraging. It can be all those things. But it doesn't have to be. 

I found the query process to be exciting and encouraging. It took me years to find my agent, but along the way I had enough requests and interest to let me know that I had solid ideas, and writing that could be polished into something publishable, if I just kept working. Of course, I got many more nos than yeses. Way, way more. But every request for a full or a partial, every "please send more" was enough of a boost to keep me going through all the polite declines. 

EVERYONE gets nos. 
In fact, I wore my first No as a badge of honor. I printed it out and tacked it over my desk. Every writer in the bookshop has been rejected. Even the published hear nos. The nos never end. 

It's just part of the business. 

How you respond to the nos is entirely up to you. 

Be a little peeved, consider it part of the process, and shake it off. 
Or, take a moment to be understandably disappointed, have a cookie, or a glass of wine, or a stiff shot of whiskey, fire up the laptop and find another agent to query. 

But what any querying writer definitely doesn't want to do is create a blog and then write extensive, snarky dissections of each agent that rejects the work. Last week, it came to the attention of the Twitterverse that someone was doing just this thing. I'm sure there are others.
Just - don't do this. 

Maybe the best advice for writers just setting out on their journey is to plan their response to rejection. Have a comforting ritual all lined up for when the inevitable happens.  Because there's no use getting angry and mean. It does no good. It can't help the process, or the writing, or the eventual career of the writer in question. 

Agents aren't in the business to be big 'ol meanies. They are not the dentist from Little Shop of Horrors. They're in the business because they love books, and writers, and are willing to help you with your career for free for possibly years before you might sell a book. They are on our side, fellow writers. We're all in this together. 


Leandra Wallace said...

I didn't see this, but I heard about it and yikes! Yeah, no, bad idea. I definitely don't take no's personally. (tho chocolate is wonderful!) They are what they are, and one day, I'm going to get my yes.

Lily Cate said...

Yes you are!
I can't believe it needs to be said, but apparently some people don't quite connect that they shouldn't badmouth an industry they are trying to become part of, right??