Yes, you read the title of this blog entry correctly. I got a rejection letter from an agent yesterday and I was happy to get it! Now, before you start thinking I've gone off my rocker--which, by the way, happened a loooong time ago--allow me to explain.
Since the beginning of my ebook author odyssey, I've felt at home with the vision and voice of the ebook community. Naturally drawn to alternative forms of expression, I embraced the rich variety available through epublishers. One year into my dalliance with writing, I made a five-year career plan. It included expanding my skills, tackling the task of full length novels, and working my way up the epublishing food chain. I stuck to this plan for another year...and then I was seduced by the darkside.
Author friends of mine, being supportive and fabulous as ever, began to encourage me to sub my work to agents. Ugh. An agent? Really? Don't get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for agents as professionals and human beings, but I don't feel that print publishing as a whole is the future of the industry, so why buy into it? Because I'm as human as the next author and the prospect of a print contract conjured up reveries of six-figure advances and my name plastered all over Barnes and Noble. So I started the painful process query letters. Queeeeeery letters. Note: in my head, the term 'query letters' is accompanied by Darth Vader's Theme. Dun, dun, dunnnn, dun, da, dunnnn, dun, da, dunnnnn.
Anyhoo, after months of battling constant rejection for reasons as far flung as my some of my heriones' panties, a dark cloud descended over the entire process of writing. I'd just about decided to swear off agents for good when a friend passed along an intriguing contest--sum up my book in 140 characters or less. Not 140 words. Characters. I thought it sounded fun so I entered. Unfortunately, I was one of the winners. Stars in my eyes again, I forked over my complete manuscript. I received an email confirmation that the agency received my manuscript and that it would take 6-8 weeks for them to respond. Cool.
And I waited.
And I waited. During this waiting period, the excitement of the unknown mixed with the dread of another rejection letter weighed on me. My daily 1000 words started to feel an awful lot like work. Perhaps the energy it took to keep hope alive for all those weeks sapped the creative impulse I pour into my stories. Who knows? The exhaustion was compounded by the fact that even if the agent decided to represent the manuscript, the waiting had just begun. There's the wait to see if any publisher would read it and then another wait while it sat at the bottom of an editor's TBR pile. Crap.
Finally the 8th week passed, but I'd still received--say it with me all you writers out there--no response!
Another week passed. And another. And another. Sixteen weeks later I received a polite, well-crafted, and thoughtful rejection. The agent pointed out the many strengths of my work, citing the pacing of the novel as her only problem. I appreciated the professional feedback. And instead of feeling down in the dumps about another rejection, I felt FREE. Free of the desire that had consumed me for so much time! And I felt overjoyed to return to my original path--exploring the future of this industry instead of hopping on to the tail end of a dinosaur. Sparkles and dollar signs cleared from my eyes, I saw with my own vision again: bringing tales of strong and sexually empowered heroines to the women of the ebook community. I write women's erotica because I feel it's an important excerise of my freedom of expression. Go girl power! That's all I've ever truly wanted. And it's good to be back.
So when I say, a rejection letter...what a relief, I absolutely mean it. And not with a smidge of irony.