Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My RWA Experience-Dream Comes Crashing Down

If you read my tweets and my blog, you know I had a fantastic time at this year's Romance Writer's of America. I met an agent who actually invited me to attend a get-together at her offices. You'll know that I met some very successful writers, some with over 100 books under their belt, some whose books were soon to be movies.

She told me to submit my manuscript to her, and allowed me to bypass the usual routine. No query letter, no synopsis, no writing pages within an e-mail. The full manuscript. A once in a lifetime opportunity.

I hoped for a phone call and dreaded an e-mail. I knew an e-mail would not be good news, and I was right.

In a nutshell, she said she did not feel a connection to the book. She said some good things, but it still amounted to the same thing: Thanks, but no thanks. I was devastated. How could I not have had my hopes sky high after our meeting in New York?

This does have a semi-happy ending though. If you've received rejection letters, you know most do not tell you why the query letter and/or pages are being rejected. Usually you get a letter you just know they send to everyone.

After the rejection letter, I wrote back and asked her if she could give it to me straight? I told her this was my first book and if nobody tells me where I'm messing up, how can I change it.

I think she likes me, and really wanted to like the book, but at the end of the day is a business woman. She could have ignored my request for feedback, but she didn't. This great woman sent me two paragraphs detailing what was wrong with the manuscript, and gave her blessing for me to re-submit in 6 months.

I will take her feedback and I will make this book fantastic. I will re-submit, she will sign me, and I will get published. At least this is how I hope it all ultimately plays out.

Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted.


  1. You just keep on believing lady!

    First, consider the process - no one is polished with their initial manuscript right out of the gate and even the most experienced writers face rewrite after rewrite.

    I am a Twitterpal of yours and I have faith that you (and I) will progress and succeed. I am working on my first novel and the only feedback I have gotten is from an author I met and value her work. After sending my first chapter she had corrective and suggestive comments but told me to keep writing!

    So, I #AMWRITING!! So should you!


  2. I think it was very determined of you to write and ask her what she didn't like...I would most likely have just thought 'what the hell' and opened another beer:)

    Clearly, you are very motivated in your publishing pursuit, and not afraid to ask the professionals for help. So I totally commend you, and wish you the very best of luck when you re-submit.

  3. This may sound strange, but this to me translates as insanely good news.

    Rejections aren't fun, but she encouraged you to re-submit in six months. That's fantastic! Don't let the rejection discourage you, the agent clearly still liked you (and your story) if she left the door open for a re-submission.

    Use the next six months to make your WIP as good as you possibly can, then send it out again. I wish you the best! :)

  4. Rejections suck - but they are part of the business and an agent that encourages you and gives you feedback really is a fabulous thing. Most agents would not give that kind of feedback - not because they don't like you, but because it opens them up for a dialogue that might become uncomfortable and difficult to manage. (Sorry to say that I've heard way too many stories of authors who get testy with feedback from agents, which is why they tend to favor form letters.) This is awesome news.

    And remember that if this manuscript isn't the one - the next one will be. My 5th manuscript landed me my agent. It sold weeks after I signed with her and the things I learned about writing during those 5 manuscripts was invaluable. Just keep working and you'll rock it out!!

  5. This is great news! You've got an agent interested in your work. AND she's willing to give you advice and read your reworked book. That's amazing! I haven't started submitting queries to agents yet, but I KNOW I will get rejected a lot. So I'm hoping that at least one of them will give me feedback. :)

  6. that is fantastic! to get actual feedback and to be told to resubmit in 6 months is not something to be taken lightly! I know the feeling about rejections letters, though fortunately I was very lucky wiht the ones I recieved, not that they gave me feedback, but they were also not letters they just send out to everyone for the most part. Good luck with working through the feedback and resubmitting! It is not often that someone likes it enough to give you feedback AND tell you it's ok to resbumitt!

  7. To me that sounds like postive news!! Looks like its just around the corner for you!!


  8. Good for you! Make sure you do it within the six months, though, and don't let it slide for a year or more. You want her to see you took her advice to heart and did the work.

    Also, remember that you can personally get along with an agent very well, but if the book doesn't hit at the right time, for whatever reason -- glut in the genre, slots & balance in lists -- you might not get signed. It's like dating -- you don't generally find your soulmate the first time out. Sometimes you need to date around a bit.

    Do the work, hope for the best, but don't be crushed if it goes a different way. A solid start to a relationship is never wasted. This is merely your FIRST book, not your ONLY book.

    Go for it!

  9. Best wishes on that! From another wannabe.

  10. I sent you a tweet about this, MaryAnn--I would not recommend that you rewrite your manuscript based on the feedback from one agent. These people are not gods--their opinions are highly subjective. How are you going to feel when you put in all that time and effort and she rejects it again, which i can tell you from experience, is likely. In Hollywood, they have phrase for this situation, it's called "The fast yes and the slow no." This is a case of the latter. What you will find, if this woman says no, is that you have customized a manuscript for one person's tastes, and when you start sending it out to other agents, you will get all these other opinions about how it should be changed.

    The best way to proceed from here is to send out the SAME manuscript to many more agents (query them first) and then, if you see a PATTERN in the suggestion for changes, make them. but not before.

    While you are submitting, you should be working on another book.

  11. I'm a fellow tweep and I'm just getting around to catching up on blogs. I wish I would have known you went to National, I sat at that same bar many times :) Even though she ultimately rejected you I think you still had a fabulous and unforgettable experience. Good for you!

    Chin up and keep writing!!!