Here’s an analogy sure to brighten the mood of the unpublished: writing a book is kind of like spending a year creating a lottery ticket. Sunny days, people! Sunny days!
Basically, what I’m trying to emphasize in this post is that the odds are against you. Wait. That also sounds depressing. Um…
The importance of chance
A while back I posted the query points system, in which one needs to score 10 points out of a 30 points system (Professionalism/Book Idea/Credentials) in order to get a manuscript requested. But what Conduit pointed out in the comments section is that the whole “resonance with agent” factor is extremely important and that there’s an undefinable X Factor at play in queries.
This is completely true. And I think people need to take it into account when querying and reacting to rejections.
There’s tons of advice on how to write a query letter, and authors spend hours and hours crafting the perfect query letter. But because of that resonance factor, which is hugely important… they might just not “get” your project.
It’s not their fault, it’s not your fault, no one can’t control it, it’s just part of the process. I think it kind of drives people nuts to think that there’s so much they can’t control when it comes to queries. So I have a recommendation: try not to think about it.
All you can do is query widely
This is the entire driving force behind the idea that one should query widely. You just never know who your idea is going to resonate with.
But I did want to end this post on a happy note, which is that you shouldn’t take rejections too hard. Like I say in the blog title, it’s not you, it’s the odds.
Literary agents can’t take on very many people at all, and when they do take someone on they have to both really love their work (so they can be the right advocate) and think it can sell (so they can have a job).
That translates to a mere handful out the thousands of people who query a year becoming clients. Um. Wait. That wasn’t very reassuring.
RAINBOWS AND PUPPIES.
There. That’s better!
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Art: The Dice by Simó Gómez Polo