Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rejection, schmejection.

Agent Janet Reid has a great story about how getting rejected can be a good thing.


A.S. King said...

There are about 80-100 agents who turned down D100D--but it wasn't in great shape when I sent it to most of them. Janet rejected one of my literary novels, too, but again--while it was not in great shape, which means she was ultimately right. (Of course she was right all along.)

But there was one agent I will never forget, who ripped the entire concept of D100D to pieces for about 30 minutes at a conference banquet, and told me 1000 different reasons why D100D "would never sell." One was that any animals in books "never work." ("Kiss of death," she said.) One was that "no one wants to read about pirates" and another was "reincarnation is pretty dumb." The list was long, and she said all of this without reading one word! After 30 minutes, I excused myself, went to the hotel bar and bummed a cigarette off a complete stranger. I hadn't smoked in 3 months. One day, I will thank that agent for the favor she did me. She taught me that nobody, no matter how much of a so-called expert they claim to be, really knows what's "in" or "out" or what any of us should write.

Brian said...

I think what your story proves, Amy, is that speaking in absolutes--particularly in a business as subjective as publishing/writing--is a huge, HUGE mistake. I guess I'm a little surprised that an agent, of all people, would take that approach.

I'm convinced there's an audience for nearly anything and that's why rejecting has gotten easier for me: I know nobody wants to hear it but I hope it gives them a chance to find the person who WILL fall in love with their work.

Brian said...

Also, I'm curious if the kiss of death/animals agent had ever read WATERSHIP DOWN.

CG said...

Absolutely right, Amy. Thanks for the insight. Exactly what I need as the rejections keep piling up.

I know I told you this already, but D100Ds is one of the best books I've ever read. I'm recommending it to everyone. You should be so proud!

Debby G. said...

Oh, that is so horrible, A.S. King! I would be very tempted to email that agent now with news of your published book. But I probably wouldn't. But I'd be so tempted.

When I was shopping my YA diary novel, which eventually got published, an agent declined on the basis that "diary books are impossible to sell these days." About a week later, the first Princess Diaries book was published.

Susan Fine said...

i loved the agent story, esp the part where she fears that an umbrella might burst her big swollen head! i laughed out loud.

i am also appreciative of the other stories here. this writing work is hard in so many different ways! and one has to be very sturdy. i do find my agent has been an incredible source of support with just the right blend of pragmatism and optimism.