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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rejection Letters, Editors, and Agents, Oh My!

Hey, if you want to give a writing exercise a try, visit my other blog. As I think you all know, I also run a writer's group, The Hunterdon County Children's Writer's Group.

Weekly, I am inspired by a fellow blogger I think most of you are very familiar with; Christine Elden. So, I decided to inspire the writers in my group by providing them with a writing exercise.

You don't have to be a children's writer to participate and it can be for whatever audience you want. No pressure. Just have fun. If you want to give it a try, the deadline in May 1, but I would be thrilled to read your entry after that date as well, so it's not completely black and white.

Now onto other news... I heard back from the editor who has had my first four chapters of my MG novel. She wrote the nicest rejection letter I've ever received. It was long and filled with encouragement and constructive feedback and basically said she loves my "lyrical writing style," but the reality-based fantasy doesn't work for her. So, it was more a personal taste thing than an issue of talent and that feels great believe it or not. She did say she would welcome any other material I have for consideration. So, again, I think it was the nicest rejection letter I have ever received.

Lately, two thoughts have been motivating me... FINISH MY NOVEL and find an agent; in this order. I feel very driven that I must stop flitting about perfecting my early chapters and just get to that elusive last word of the last sentence on the last page! Then, I want an agent. I know. I know. Who doesn't. But what do you all feel? Agent? Or no agent? that is the question for today's posting. Do you think novelists MUST have an agent in order to land that oh-so-wanted book deal? Let's hear what you think...

Sheri

7 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

So awesome to view such a great rejection as a positive thing - because it is! To get that kind of feedback is excellent. Honestly, I got a couple sentences of feedback in a rejection once that really helped me see the light.

Agent - Yes!
Necessary - No, but extremely helpful . And nice to have a cheerleader on your side.
But definitely try for an agent first.

Dawn Buthorn said...

I would agree with PJ. An agent isn't necessary, but if you can get one, it's a huge help. The problem is getting one, of course!
Congrats on your rejection-I know that sounds strange, but each positive rejection lets you learn more about your work and how to make it better.
Good luck with your novel-keep writing!
Dawn

Sheri said...

Thanks PJ and Dawn - I agree about rejection letters... there are those that are just a form letter and offer no insight at all. Those you just toss up to "Oh well..." And then there are those you hold on to and read over and over a few times, taking from it every ounce of positive help there is in it. In an industry filled with so much rejection, it is so vital to be able to see the good, even in a rejection letter.

And yes! Agents. I want one! I am not ready - must first finish my book - I think... And then the hunt begins.

Thanks ladies!

Sarah Hina said...

Awesome rejection, Sheri! Sometimes those two words together really aren't an oxymoron. ;) It sounds like you're really getting close to success.

Yes, and yes, on the agent! Even if it is an incredibly long, and soul-sucking, process. And as I have found out, getting that agent is no guarantee of a sell. But you're infinitely more likely to get that good deal with one.

Good luck on finishing! I remember being so antsy to start the querying process that I could hardly bear it. But make sure you're happy with the book first (even if that means laying it aside for awhile to gain a fresh perspective on it). You'll be soooo glad you did. :)

Oh, and use agentquery.com when the time comes. There. That's all. ;)

Sheri said...

Thanks Sarah! I couldn't agree with you more on all accounts. I am chomping at the agent bit, but I know it is not the right time.

Now I may be returning to work in September - so I REALLY have to finish my book!!!

I will have to remember the agentquery.com site...

Thanks again!

Rachel said...

Congratulations on your positive rejection letter, Sheri, those are nice to get. Not as nice as contracts, but still, it lets you know you're on the right track.

In answer to your question, I have decided not to search for an agent at this point. But I'm working primarily on PB's right now. I think if I was working on novels I would go the agent route.

I have tagged you on my blog if you want to play a fun game. Come by and check it out.

Sheri said...

Hey Rachel, Great new pic of you! Love it. Who knew you were a blonde! It's like on the phone, you picture how someone looks and then you see them and you're like, I thought they would be taller... I don't know what I pictured, but glad to put a face with the name/blog.

tag, aye? OK, I'll play...

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous