*Which is not the same thing as Giving Up.
So, on my birthday I got a rejection from an agent I really respect. Not the first, or the last time that will happen, I know. Then the next day, I got a rejection on my full. An AWESOME agent who I 'met' at a conference and who has had my full for months. It was a form rejection, though a kind one.
Unlike the 13 rejections that came before it, this one took the wind out of my sails (and the air from my lungs, the sparkle from my eyes - you get the drift.)
While struggling to recover, I tried to parse why this one affected me differently. Here's what I came up with:
1) Rejections hit in weird ways. It has to do with where you are in your day, what you've accomplished or not accomplished, if your kid drew on the wall with a black sharpie, it all has an affect.
2) This was a rejection on the full ms. Which means that I can't fool myself into thinking that the query just wasn't strong enough. The query was fine - it got a full request. The problem is in the writing. (I can hear you saying, but it's just not right for that agent, doesn't mean it's not right for another agent - I know, I'm getting to that.)
3) This was an agent and an agency that I really wanted. I didn't realize how much until I got the rejection - how much hope I'd pinned on it. It's disheartening to find that an agent that you 'connected with' doesn't connect with your work.
Aside from all the usual disparaging thoughts - I suck as a writer, my book sucks, the agent sucks (strangely, I never really think that) - a new thought emerged, "Maybe it's time to stop."
Stop querying this book. Stop thinking that this book is the one that's going to be published. Is it time to let in the thought that this might be one of (many) books that I write that goes nowhere?
Well, duh, of course that's (very) possible. But while I was blood-sweating-and-tear-ing over it, it seemed like it was THE ONE. And I got so much positive feedback, much more than I expected, from other writers and editors. I believed in the book.
I still believe in it. I wrote the kind of book I want to read. And maybe that's where the problem lies. Maybe, at this time, it's not right for the market, and no agent is going to connect with it.
The other problem is how much of a time suck querying BookEnd has become. NOT because it takes so long to send out a query - but because of the time I spend obsessively checking out new agents, checking in to QT forums and other forums, following agents on twitter, checking agent blogs - looking for crumbs of information that may somehow give me a clue, some idea how to get in. This kind of behavior feels like work, feels like accomplishment, but it's just keeping me from writing.
So, I've decided to stop querying BookEnd. I still have one full out there, and some outstanding queries. But I'm putting the breaks on it, at least until I can pull my gnat-attention span away from it and solidly onto my wip. It's one of my March Madness goals, and one I intend to keep for a long time.
So, what do you think? When is it time to move on?