I got my first rejection email today. The note was in response to the queries I sent to four agents back in August. The first literary agent wrote:
“Dear Pamela, Thank you for sharing your work with me. Unfortunately, I feel that in today’s market, I cannot take on projects unless I feel strongly about them. I’m sorry to say that it didn’t happen with this one. This, of course, is just my opinion and others may feel differently. I wish you the best of luck with all your publishing endeavors.
1) I’m glad you don’t want me. Surprisingly, my immediate reaction to the rejection note was relief. Sure, it would have been great to walk around town finding ways to interject the phrase, “my agent this and my agent that,” into unrelated conversation. But I’m sure friends would have quickly disowned me.
To accompany the relief, my subconscious soundtrack revved up to play the 1973 tune by Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross: “Don’t Knock My Love.” It’s an upbeat empowering song. In my head I heard, “Don’t Knock my Book.” The lyrics are: “…If you don’t like it, don’t knock it, somebody else might want to rock it. If you don’t need it, don’t waste it. Somebody else might want to taste it. Hey hey hey!…”
Regardless, I’m proud of my forthcoming novel. It’s a good story and I’m positive there’s an audience who will relate to it. Obviously, Kate is not among the Pamela Hart Vines fans, but there are billions of other people out there will potentially “feel strongly” about my book.
2) I don’t need you anyway. The next thought I had after reading the note was, “How many rejections did Stephen King get?” I don’t remember, but it was a high number. Remembering he was rejected gives me comfort. If agents rejected Stephen King—well, hey. We all know how his career turned out.
3) I’ll show you! The last emotions that hit me were determination and resolve. I’m proud of my novel. It’s a good story and I know it will appeal to people worldwide. Granted, it didn’t appeal to Kate, but Lord willing, other people will like it.
The bottom line is, I’m excited to self-publish. Self-publishing gives a writer control of his or her work. As I embark on this publishing journey, I’ll be able to decide my story line, choose my cover design, set my own prices, and avoid agents and publishers’ fees. Win or lose, my name is on the line. This is an exciting time and I’m embracing it.
One down, three to go. Bring on the next letter!
Pamela Hart Vines