I got home from work this evening to find two identical-looking envelopes having been delivered for me in the post. They were very recognisable as they were both SAEs which I had included in submissions sent off to agents scant days ago, at the end of last week.
Perhaps an optimistic sort of person might have hoped that said agents had regarded the submitted material – a synopsis and sample chapters for The Wicket in the Rec, the novel I am currently hawking around to people – to be so brilliant that they just had to see more, right away. Sadly, however, I was fairly sure that were this to be the case then they would have phoned or e-mailed me, rather than sticking a letter into the enclosed envelope.
They were, of course, two rejections. And not even good rejections. One was a very brief form letter of the usual kind – “...isn’t quite the right book for our list... having to be very selective...” The other wasn’t even a letter in and of itself, or even a compliments slip, or even a post-it note – it was simply my own submission letter with a line of rejection scrawled in biro at the bottom.
“Very sorry, this is not one for us. Good Luck.”
These are always the worst kind. I mean, I know agents and publishers are busy people with large slush piles to get through, but it somehow feels all the more dismissive when you just get your own letter back.
I’ve had about a dozen rejections for Wicket now, and I’m wondering for how long to keep persevering with it before filing it away with all the other failures from down the years and concentrating on whatever the next novel might be. (I do have one or two ideas brewing away, but haven’t yet started any serious work, just a few brief notes).
None of the rejections I have so far received for Wicket came after a request for either the full manuscript or even further sample chapters. I’ve had one single personalised response, and that’s it. This feels like a backward step. I’ve had agents ask to see more before.
But not this time.
So there we are. You get used to his kind of thing, of course you do. I expect it. I don’t think I have some divine right to be published, and I don’t think I am an unrecognised genius. I just live in the hope of one day writing something good enough to make it past the level of hasty, scribbled rejections.