It arrived at the weekend, but I wasn’t around to get it. I picked up the post when I got back into the house and recognised my own handwriting on an envelope. Then I was glad that we left someone behind in the house, because I made the envelope recorded delivery, meaning it had to be signed for. o.O
I looked at it and even said; ‘Hey… my first rejection!’
I didn’t mean it in a defeatist or negative sense, only in a realistic one. You may feel that’s pessimistic in itself, but to be honest, I know that’s not the sort of luck I have. I’ll never get run over by a bus or struck by lightening, but I’ll also never win the lottery, or be one of those few authors who picks up an agent from their very first submission. That is the sort of luck I have and, frankly put, I’m fine with that. I’d much rather have that, than win the lottery and get struck by lightening before I could enjoy the winnings. That would be rubbish!
Anyway… I knew it was from the first submission, because that was the only one I’ve made recorded delivery back to me. So I popped open the envelope and had a look at the work inside and I’ll tell you what… there are only a few things that make me certain they even opened the original envelope:
1) The return envelope came from inside it
2) The amusing postcard came back (remember I talked about it coming back here)
3) My cover letter wasn’t there
In the place of the cover letter, however, was a new letter from the agency in a nice neat format (though the edging was so rough that I’m sure it was run off the photocopier than morning – along with about thirty others), with my name and the date hand-written into the appropriate slots. The letter started with the standard ‘thank you for allowing us to consider your work,’ before going straight into ‘unfortunately this is not for us.’
Bizarre… I expected to feel more upset. Or at least a little miffed that its so easy for a stranger to dismiss my brain child. But that’s not the way it works, is it? Of course not. They’re in this business AS a business. They can’t afford to spend time and money on something that’s not going to offer a return for them. Part of me is pleased that they were so quick to respond, because it means that its one name I can tick off my list as ‘don’t need to worry about these any more.’ The other part of me is more like ‘blimey, did they actually read beyond one page?’ And the answer actually is… perhaps not.
I have to prepare myself for that fact. These people have to know within two or three paragraphs, maybe less, whether something is worth reading. They have to know that its worth getting to the end of the chunk of paper they hold, or if they should put it down and move onto the next thing. Really, what I need to be sure of is that I do everything in my power to tempt them into reading. And reading. And reading some more.
So… I’ll never know for sure if they got to the end of the sample, but its one tick off my list and on with the next one.
One of the lines towards the bottom of the letter said ‘don’t be disheartened.’ Its this line on the letter I’m putting the most stock in. Because I can’t alone myself to be disheartened. I have to keep going, keep pushing; maintain the drive to continue sending out these packs on the understanding that more letters like these are going to come – for sure! – but somewhere down the line, sooner or later, someone is going to want to read the rest of it. And who knows… after that, they may even want to take it further.