June 21, 2011

My First Personal Rejection

Well, I've done it. I've received a request off the most amazing query letter I've written for LET ME OUT. I've sent that version of the query to three agents and I got one request. Before you say, "Yay!" listen to this story.

The request came through last Wednesday. So I spent all day perfecting my first five pages to send to the agent. I had them perfect. I was ready to send. But I was doing this on my work computer, which I can't get my email on, and so I needed to take the file and transfer it to my computer. Hello, flash drive. The file transferred effortlessly, but when I plugged the flash drive into my laptop...something was wrong.

I've seen it before and I almost started to cry. ".docx" format LOVES to corrupt itself. And yes, the file was corrupted. I couldn't open it on my laptop or on my computer, and my IT Dept. couldn't do anything for me.

Those perfect 5 pages were gone.

So I started again, writing down everything I could remember about the changes I'd made. Two days went by and I still hadn't replied to the agent request. On Friday, I had done as much as I could. The pages didn't have that perfection they'd had before, but they worked and I needed to get them to the agent.

I sent them off.

And I heard back today.

I received my first personal rejection. The pages didn't pull her in as much as she hoped they would.

What that means: my query does it's job, but my pages don't. What I'm going to do about it: find a critique group.

I've already run the MS through BETA readers, but now I'm looking for that group dynamic.

Do you use a critique group? What are some of your pros and cons to using one?


  1. I love my critique group; they really help me find the true story under all the fluff. Sometimes its hard to take their comments, but they are just trying to tell me where my writing needs clarification and simplification. The thing about selecting a critique group is you must find people who tell you where they're having trouble with the story, not where you're wrong. They're supposed to help you, not cut you down. Also you need to find folks who are willing to critique quickly and get it back to you, esp. if you have deadlines. Timeliness is important. Hope that helps. :)

  2. I have a really great critique group and they have made such a huge difference in my writing. However, I would like to say that just because your five pages didn't float this particular agent's boat doesn't mean they aren't good. It just means they didn't do it for her. I'd wait until you get similar feedback from at least a couple other agents before revamping your manuscript. Best of luck finding a critique group if that's the way you decide to go.

  3. I agree with what Angie said. There's no need to tie yourself up in knots over one agent. And sometimes a group is more hindrance than help. Too many opinions can make your eyes bleed. Perhaps you should limit yourself to two partners. One for grammar punctuation spelling typo's, etc. One for content, plot, POV's. See how that works out for you. And yes, Siobhan also has a point about timliness. You don't want to wait a month for something to come back.

  4. Thank you for the great advice, guys. And now that you've brought a great point (one agent's tastes), I completely agree. I'm going to submit a little more and see what happens.

  5. I definitely support the idea of a critique group. Or just a couple really great critique partners. I love mine to death. And like Anne said, it's just one agent's opinion. Good luck!

  6. Congrats on your request! I don't have a group per se, but I have critique partners here and there and they are wonderful.


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