I am a bit frustrated with some of the writers out there whom I compete with for an agent’s eye. I hear so much complaining about how their manuscript is amazing and the agent just didn’t read it for whatever reason. Then there are those who actually say that they own a ‘grammar license’, which they claim allows them to transform grammar at their leisure including missing words, periods to end interrogative sentences, and run-on sentences done ‘on purpose’. These kind of writers remind me of that one dude years ago on American Idol who sounds like a cat in heat when he sings, but he looks straight into the camera and says, “I can sang! Paula and Simon don’t know sh*t!”
Just a note…
A rejection happens for many reasons: a similar book has already been purchased, the author has not perfected his/her craft to be competitive, the agent has read seventeen YA Vampire Love Stories already that day and are annoyed by the time your YA Vamp crosses their desk…who knows what the many reasons are. But, the fact is that they make money by buying books. I do not think any agent receives a query and doesn’t give it their full attention. They are professionals. They know what they are looking for when they see it. They know what sells.
What can we do as writers? In this day and age, you had better be reading the blogs of those agents you hope to work with. You need to be hooked into their Twitter accounts and you need to be friends or liking them on Facebook, if possible. This is a business. Millions of people write books. Few publish them. It takes years of hard work to get your manuscript to that level of professional competitiveness. Who walks into a job and expects to be the CEO just because they studied that subject in college and hold a degree? It’s kinda the same mentality when you finish writing a manuscript and expect agents to stand in line fighting over who gets the rights to it.
I hope this encourages everyone to keep plugging away. It may not be that your book isn’t polished enough. It may be the wrong timing. But, be willing to consider that your book isn’t polished enough. Does it read like one you can buy in the bookstore? One that a professional edited and published? If it’s not close, it’s not ready for submission, no matter how awesome the story may be.
Good luck to all of us on this bumpy journey!