As a regular subscriber to the Absolute WriteWater Cooler, I often see posts from aspiring authors who are concerned that months have passed without them hearing anything from the agents they’ve queried.
They wonder if they should re-query or contact the agent to see if their queries were lost. And if they do get a form letter rejection, they wish that they had been provided some feedback instead of an impersonal ‘no thanks.’
But really, querying is no different than sending off a c.v. to apply for a job, or making a cold call, or for that matter, speed-dating.
Imagine speed-dating with 50 men in the room and only one woman. Or 200 women and one man. If you’re not the one s/he wants to see again, do you expect to ever know why? Would you really want to?
But that’s pretty much the ratio of queries to agents in most literary agencies weekly, if not daily.
If an agent isn’t into your writing, taking the time to tell you ‘why’ simply takes time away from the busy search for the unique writer he or she is looking for.
Rejection is part of the experience. You have to kiss a lot of frogs.
What I learned over time was that worrying about the results of my queries just meant I got disappointed twice, first by myself, then by the rejection.
The more active I got in other things, however, the less I noticed the rejections. My life didn’t revolve around them. I looked for nourishment elsewhere: reading, painting, investing in my business and social networks, joining a fitness centre. (And my writing, I think, once I got off the querying treadmill and onto a real one) improved.
My advice, for what it’s worth, is to not to get so hung up on the idea of finding an agent and getting published that your self-worth gets caught up in it.
You are not your writing. Having other interests helps ease the burden of dealing with rejection. Validation comes from other places, too.