My 20th Rejection E-Mail And Other News

Regular readers will know that I’ve written an urban fantasy novel which I’m currently querying with literary agents and publishing houses. I went into this process with my eyes wide open. I knew it was an incredibly competitive environment and very, very few authors are successful in securing representation. The majority of authors receive nothing in return for their efforts other than bland, generic rejection e-mails.

Today I received my 20th such e-mail. It hasn’t been all doom and gloom, of course. A handful of agents have sugared the pill by adding positive comments about the story and standard of my writing. Others have been more blunt. Some are so dry you wonder if the agent has even bothered reading the submission you have slaved over all these months. I’ve received six such e-mails this week and I must admit they have knocked my confidence.

As a result, I haven’t felt much like writing. Fionnuala has done a fantastic job keeping the blog ticking along. In fact, her posts this week have been so popular I’m tempted to offer her the job on a permanent basis. I’ve much appreciated those of you who noticed my absence and posted kind comments as to my welfare. I’m fine, honest. A little battered and bruised but still standing.

I never expected to become the next Stephen King overnight but I’m going to persevere with the querying process for now. One agent did ask for the full manuscript so there is a glimmer of hope amidst all the ‘thanks but no thanks.’ And if all else fails, I will lick my wounds and scrimp together the pennies to self publish. Thanks again to those of you who have posted support and encouragement these last few days.

Stephen

87 thoughts on “My 20th Rejection E-Mail And Other News

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  1. Stephen, some of the vreatest authors received LOADS of rejections before finally making it. Keep going. That one who at least wants to read the manuscript sounds hopeful. It’s a long long road. I believe you can do it in the end. Sending honeycomb ice cream 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I keep pisting that smiley thinking it is a smiling face but I don’t think it is. God knows what I have sent you lol

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  3. My friend, The Bible tells us to knock and it will be opened. Don’t worry about the one’s who rejected you. Look for the one that says yes. And then when you become bigger than Stephen King, James Patterson, Dan Brown, and all those other guys put together they can kick themselves and say, “I could have been making that money!”

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  4. I’m so sorry, Stephen. I totally get having the wind knocked out of you. It took me a while to get back into writing. You’re doing really great though, keeping positive thoughts. And having self-publishing as your back up plan is great. It doesn’t have to be hugely expensive either. Are you on Facebook? Get on to some self-publishing author groups as you can learn a ton from others. Indie Author Support is my favourite as they’re super friendly and, as the name suggests, supportive 🙂 Never give up on your dreams.

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  5. Do not worry, keep on writing. Sylvia Plath got rejected forty five times. Rachel Platten played for ten years in bars before she made it. The key is not to quit. Learn, adapt, strategize, evolve and do it again.

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  6. Remind me – how many rejections did J K Rowling get?
    Not that this is any consolation when you still have the other hundred or so query letters to send out 😦
    Tomorrow is another day

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  7. Darn. Your full was rejected? Did they give you anything to work with or just a “not for me”? My stats are near identical BTW. 22 rejections and a full that was ejected by my dream agent. I stopped with her because of her advice about backstory and deep POV. Which is where I’m at now. Stay strong and keep going. You got at least another 80 agents before self publishing.

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      1. Oh good. Glad that’s still a possibility. 🤞👍 My revision is is one page done lol. I guess I’m being too negative when I say it was rejected. It’s not a yes in the state it’s in. For randr

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          1. I just might take you up on that. Really. Thank you. I’m committed to figuring out this deep POV thing. I think that removing the narrator voice but staying in 3rd will improve my flow. But I’m just an artist man! I just really don’t know how to write without “her” and pronouns and crap you know? What tense and POV are you using?

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  8. I’m really glad that you are not giving up! As I have not been through this process myself, just reading it from your view sounds brutal. I cannot wait to hear the day that you are published in whatever way. Definitely looking forward to reading it! You can do it 🤗

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  9. I’m sorry for the rejection, but I’m fascinated by the process – so thanks for continuing to post about it. You’re clearly a superior writer, so keep the faith! Do you know how much it takes to self-publish? With thousands of followers it shouldn’t be too difficult to run a go-fund-me campaign and raise a little cash. I understand you’re waiting on feedback from your full review but sometimes I find that setting out on another path is the catalyst to success. Best wishes!

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      1. Please disregard if you’ve already thought of this. But… here’s how I think about it. £750 is no small amount. But, you have over 9,000 followers. Not all would give, but if everyone gave you £0.09, you’d have enough to self publish. There are a couple of websites that facilitate such events: gofundme.com and kickstarter are two that I know of. It is how Jedidiah Jenkins (now an American author) got the funds he needed to ride a bicycle from Oregon to Patagonia in South America and then to write his book. Just an idea, but I know I’d be happy to donate to such a worthy cause!

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  10. Writing a book is a tremendous, monumental accomplishment. Regardless what others may say (or not say), nobody can take that away from you. You have persevered. You have completed something so few even attempt. Yes, it is nice to be accepted. But your work stands as validation. Keep doing what you do so well.

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  11. Please hang in there! I enjoy reading your posts and keeping up with you all. Writing (at least the getting paid for it part) is a brutal process. I think that simply the nature of anything that involves profit…

    You’re a strong writer. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to the traditional publishing route. My wife always reminds me that when God closes one door He often opens a window. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So sorry to hear…Rejections are never fun. It is getting ever harder to get publisher’s stamp of approval in today’s world but don’t let that discourage you. I am so in awe of where you are now…I don’t think I have the courage to even try. You’ve got many reasons to be proud of where you are. Hang in there.

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  13. Hubby is still in hospital and the little notebook I’ve been using is being a pain in the butt. Consequently I have not been able to read posts or write on my own blog. I am grateful to hubby for lending me his tablet. Sorry to hear your spirits have been low. No insult to Stephen King intended, but I find your style of writing infinitely more readable. Keep the faith, your time is coming.

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  14. BIG HUGE HUGS from America headed your way. People rejected Stephen King and look how THAT turned out. Just because your book was rejected does not make YOU a reject. Hold your head high. I can’t wait to read this no matter how it comes out. You are a rock star of writing 🙂

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  15. I’m sorry for those difficult letters. It is so hard to find the right fit for our work. Keep looking at the bit of encouragement and know you’ve done something many started but never finished. Hoping that acceptance letter comes soon for you.

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  16. The greatest writer of the century could land on 100 agent’s and publisher’s desks, and it wouldn’t be picked up by a single one. It’s too much about marketing, and not enough about crafting these days. Though, I’m sure a lot of people would be happy to read great poetry, they just don’t get exposed to it because the algorithms used on search engines won’t let them.

    It’s just something where the publishers will have to be caught with their pants down. They have no excuse for doing it, they just do because they’re bad people. And because you’re a Christian. Let’s not forget that.

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      1. Just do me a favor. Look objectively at your work. Compare it with someone who is already published. Don’t be falsely humble and say, “Oh, they’re wonderful.” Because they’re most likely not. Then, decide whether it is right that you publish or not right.

        Do you know why I say this? Because if it is God keeping you from getting published, then you ought to simply wait for the right time—He will not let the work go wasted. If it is Satan keeping you from getting published, then fight to get published.

        You saying “It’s not because of my faith,” is flat out insulting to me because you and I both know it’s entirely your faith. You just have to figure out who it is that’s preventing you, and figure the right course from there.

        And I know that might sound offensive, but if you listen to the voice of God, you’ll listen to me—not that I am God, because I’m not. But, I’ve suffered a lot of persecution, I’ve been humiliated for the Gospel’s sake, I’ve desired the LORD above the world and more than you could possibly imagine.

        I know from experience what you’re going through. It is entirely your faith. And do not backbite me because I say this for your good.

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  17. First novels teach you a lot, and it only continues to teach you the more you write 😉 Your community shows wonderful support so I think if you went the self publishing route, you’d certainly have buyers 🙂

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      1. I did finish 15 and everything is pretty much edited and ready for 11-15 being sent to readers. Started 16 and really hoping to find a schedule for consistency with writing.

        Blogging is figured out but this book is so, there is a lot of weight to it than my past novels in which I had a consistent schedule. These past few weeks have been kinda down the grey clouds aren’t helping, but I’m trying to walk forward and I’ve been working on giving time specifically for God and it seems this has helped me work through that greyness.

        Wow, thanks for asking, did not mean to unload all of this. But thank you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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