Today I received a rejection letter in response to one of the manuscripts I submitted. I must say, receiving this agent's kind, "No, thank you," to the project was an easier pill to swallow than the ones I used to get when I was simply mailing out blind queries. On those query letters I would describe my book and offer it to the agent or editor I was targeting. The responses I received on quite a few were simply form rejection letters. However, I will never forget that one agent simply wrote his/her response on my letter and mailed it back saying the story was "too contrived, melodramatic. I'll pass."
A good way to view that rejection is that the agent was already trying to conserve paper and figured he/she wouldn't waste a tree on something she could say in a few words on my recycled letter. That was about 10 years ago. That person was way ahead of his/her time.
With this current rejection and the one from the past, I know that God has a plan for my projects and that He will find the perfect person to represent my work when the time is right.
And, with that said, I will continue to pursue requests and continue to work on new stories.
I also wanted to add, that when I was mailing the queries, I never felt that path was a secure path to offer my work to an agent or editor. Only years later when I joined writer's organizations did I find a more organized way to network in this field and learn more about the craft as well as marketing me and the book. I am still working on all of this, of course, and have no certain answers, but at least, I am making contacts, good contacts, that will certainly last through my career.
If you are still sending out queries by following a Literary guide or gathering names out of Writer's Digest of the agents that are accepting new clients, I would say to continue doing this. Nicholas Sparks says his success started by a query of his getting pulled from the slush pile. If it happened to him, it can happen for you. But I would also recommend joining local writers organizations... finding a group that writes what you like to write... and begin to participate in their activities and volunteer. If you are serious about pursuing publication, this is the best advice I can give you that I have experienced first hand.
Earlier, I mentioned working on a new story. Well, today was another unproductive day. I think my new challenge is helping me be accountable and post my progress, one word at a time.
So, what's new in your writing world?