By Nichole Giles
In case you ever thought otherwise, in all my experience with rejection, I’ve discovered that the majority of agents and editors are kind people who absolutely detest having to reject authors. Really.
The problem is that there are so many more authors in the world than agents, editors, and publishers, combined. So yes, more often than not, the professionals of publishing are forced to say no or reject good work. Probably way more often than they like. They have to be selective and pick only the manuscripts that rise above the rest, and that won’t be lost in the sea of other great published works.
But mostly, they have to pick the manuscripts that resonate the most within them. Which may or may not be my manuscript or yours, or his or hers or theirs. Depending on the day, and the agent or editor’s circumstances, mood, current life path, and whatever emotional turmoil from which they’re suffering. It’s about striking an emotional chord. And timing. And very often, luck.
Regardless of whether you end up with a yes or a no, though, the agent or editor is a person, and for the most part, these people are genuinely nice. They might teach classes or give speeches at conferences. Some have blogs with writing and querying tips. Some even host twitter chats and other online opportunities from which you can participate and learn.
Even so, they might reject your manuscript because it just wasn’t right for them. That doesn’t make them any less of a nice person, or less encouraging or inspiring. It doesn’t, in fact, make them evil. (Well, you know, unless they tell you to quit writing because you’re terrible, terrible at the craft. That’s pretty evil.) It makes them human, with individual tastes and thoughts and preferences. They’ve been hired for those qualities as much as their skill sets. And the world of literacy applauds them for those choices.
So here’s the thing. Query them. Learn from them. Interact with them online and at conferences. You may not end up working with them, but you could have one more friend in the world. Everyone needs more friends. And who knows. Maybe someday that connection will lead you to another connection, one that will hook you up with an agent or editor who absolutely falls in love with your work.
It’s kind of a win-win. Right? Right. Okay.