Friday, July 11, 2014

The No Connection Rejection

This is a hard one for writers. We feel like we were so close. The agent/editor liked our book enough to keep reading, but then rejects us for a lack of "connection." It used to drive me crazy.

Now I get it.

I think a lot about agents, researching them and deciding who I want to query. I know they receive a ton of queries daily, and I try to put myself in their shoes. I try to imagine reading all of those pitches and selecting what interests me.

That made me think of all the times I've gone to the library or book store, wanting something new to read but not knowing exactly what. I pick up books, reading the back cover or the inside flap. I scan a lot of blurbs, reshelving book after book after book. Later, someone may suggest one of those same books and I may fall in love with it. But, based on the blurb, I'm not hooked, so I put it back. It's really hard to know a book based on a pitch. After a while, even the most unique concept can fade into the sludge of stories.

I think about all the books I read. I might rate a book 5-stars and never think about it again. It was good, but I didn't feel the need to call my friends and tell them to read it. I didn't rave all over Twitter about its amazingness. It was a good book. The end.

That's what an agent means when he or she doesn't connect.

And I'm okay with that. I am, actually, thankful for their honesty. Years ago, I wanted an agent so desperately; I didn't understand this. Now, I know having an agent isn't the answer to all my struggles.

Having the right agent matters.

For my first novel, Tornado Year, the agent I signed with WAS the right agent. He was wonderful, and he loved my book. He loved it as much as I did. That was evident in our conversations. He championed me. And because he loved my book, it was easy to accept his criticism and editorial advice. We were on the same page.

I want that for this book.

I want an agent who reads my book and then calls all their friends. I want them to rave about it on Twitter. I want an agent who loves my book as much as I have loved A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, What Happens Next, The Girl with Glass Feet, and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and so many others.

Don't get me wrong, the No Connection Rejection isn't fun to receive. No rejection ever will be. But I get it now, and that makes things just the tiniest bit easier.

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