Back in January, freshly querying Blackout Odyssey, I got a manuscript request and wrote about how it would take years to get a rejection. Slight exaggeration for comedic effect; it only took five-six months. I’ve put together a timeline in case you suspect more comedic effect at play.
Jan 7, 2019: query sent.
Jan 23: request for the full manuscript came in! Sent reply immediately. Asked agent for a rough guideline of when I should follow up; she said give her 6-8 weeks to read & review.
6-8 weeks later, or March 25, 2019: sent brief, cheerful email checking in.
March 26: Agent replied in similar, brief & cheerful fashion saying she will get back to me “soon”.
May 2, 2019: Sent second check-in email.
May 2: Agent still needs more time! But soon! Soooon! Thanks so much for being patient 🙂
June 5, 2019: Agent sends brief and cheerful rejection.
Thank you again for your patience while I reviewed BLACKOUT ODYSSEY, which I’ve had a chance to finish reading! I was immediately hooked by the premise—what a fantastic concept, with an equally fantastic and relatable central character in Mallory to guide us through her modern-day, one-night Odyssey. I also enjoyed glimpses into Dylan’s story (and how cleverly you wove him throughout as the Penelope character), and I was more and more drawn in the closer they came to reuniting. However, I did feel the first half lacked focus at times, and I wasn’t as invested as I hoped to be throughout the beginning. This deserves a champion with a strong vision, and for that reason I’m afraid it’s not right for me at this time.
I do wish you and BLACKOUT ODYSSEY the best of luck—and thank you, again, for letting me review.
So there it is.
And might I say, what a lovely rejection; she lists what she likes, she lists what she didn’t, and in the end it was a It’s Not You, It’s Me break-up. Couldn’t ask for a better rejection, 10/10 would let her reject me again.
When people say publishing moves slowly, they are being kind; publishing moves at a pace that rivals ice ages. I had a few people in my writing group be like “does it usually take SIX MONTHS” and the more seasoned of us cackled about the fire, slapping knees and shaking our heads, only to start staring with vacant, hollow eyes.
Space Crazies is officially off to its new editor. Blackout Odyssey is… I don’t know. I know it could benefit from at least minor revisions buuuuut I still like it the way that it is. Do I keep searching for an agent that also likes it as it is (and/or with minor revisions)? Or is it really not query-ready and I have been wasting my time? I’m hoping that after I level up my XP on Space Crazies that I’ll be able to take BOO apart and put it back together so that it’s stronger while remaining true to the story I want to tell, but who knows.
I’ve talked about how queries are like job applications before, and I think the analogy applies to rejections as well: unless your confidence level was through the roof to start, it’s hard not to look at the pile of rejections representing months of work and wonder if the problem is… that you’re not good enough. Even if obviously dud people get hired and terrible writing gets published, what if there is something lacking? Something you can’t see but everyone else can? What if it’s just… luck of the draw?
That almost seems worse, since I can learn to edit better, write better, market better, but I can’t improve on dumb luck.
I have some time this summer before Space Crazies comes back to me, so I’m trying to get back into writing for myself, the stories I want to read. I might take July’s Camp NaNo to dive back into Fletcher & Cooper and see if I can finish it off.
I’ve also decided to submit BOO to Pitch Wars in August.
So I am inching forward, even if it does feel, at times, glacial. At least I am still moving.