Rejected again, drank a beer, went to bed, and then the sun rose

image“Of course, I won’t give up,” I replied to the New York agent who dropped me a note saying she had read The Murder Plague manuscript, found it wanting, and took a pass.

“I would encourage you to submit elsewhere,” she had concluded.

What else can we do?

I mean, after drinking the beer, enduring the troubled sleep and witnessing that universal sign of hope, another sunrise, it feels like a time to get over it.

Every rejection letter from an agent hurts a little bit. But most of those rejections are based on a query letter, maybe a synopsis and maybe a few pages. When they ask for the full manuscript, and you send it off, and you enter that oh-my-God-oh-my-God anticipation, and you don’t get the phone call, but rather an e-mail, the hurt goes deep. Doesn’t it?

“Unfortunately…” Any sentence that starts with that word might as well have brass knuckles on it. “Despite my initial interest, I will be passing … ” she continued.

Here’s where her e-mail really got troubling: she offered constructive criticism. She told me WHY she felt the need to write the word “unfortunately.” Her observations were gracious, thoughtful, unnecessarily honest and potentially enormously helpful.

But what do I do? That’s where the dilemma begins.

Do I tear into the manuscript and make changes that address her observations? She is, after all, the first agent who requested (and presumably read) the entire manuscript. She should know what she’s talking about.

But something nags at me, telling me that to do so would be to pander, to abandon my instincts for the first pretty agent who says something like, “I’d go out with you if only you weren’t in need of a nose job.”

Really? I kind of liked my nose.

I’m leaning toward trying to address her concerns. But I think I’ll give myself another day to think it over.

And maybe another beer.

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