I left the SCBWI conference full of vigor and ideas and imagery and just a whole lot of shit I needed to get on paper ASAP because I was suddenly aware that I was soon to become the world’s next great recognized writer. (Notice the use of the word recognized in the previous sentence.) I was sure that my ideas were well honed and edited and ready for the big-time world of agents and editors and publishers. In fact, as soon as I hit the send button on my trusty MacBook, I sat back with a sigh and waited for the bidding war on my manuscript to begin.
It only took three weeks for the first rejection to come in. Pretty fast, really, when you consider how long things tend to take in our world.
Maybe my high school guidance counselor was right and I really was meant to focus on underwater landscaping. (Not that there’s anything AT ALL wrong with that, lest I offend an underwater landscaper somewhere. I just never really saw myself doing that.) Ok, so I don’t really remember what my high school guidance counselor told me I should be, but I do remember learning at an early age that writing was not a career. Pffft! I’ll prove them all wrong.
I have only received one rejection this time around, which is a really good sign, but just in case, I have decided to come up with a list of helpful things I WILL do in order to gain an agent’s favor. I’m still debating whether or not to place any or all of these items in my next query letters.
Dear prospective agent, if you consider my book, I promise to do the following:
- Shave my legs. IN THE WINTER! Because I know how important it is NOT to look fuzzy at all those public appearances I’ll be making.
- Wear something other than flannel pants. I mean, that IS my standard writing attire, but I promise that when I go in public, I will wear respectable clothing. I even pinky promise.
- Walk your dog and clean your house. I know how busy you will be helping to manage my blossoming career, so I am more than willing to help you out in any way possible.
- Use my big words. I have kids, so occasionally I slip and say things like ‘potty,’ ‘poo poo,’ and even ‘dawg.’ (I have a teenager. Don’t judge.) But when working as a big-girl-writer-person, I vow to only use big, intelligent-sounding words.
- Remember to wear a bra. It’s the first thing to go when I get home, so mostly I write without it, but I SO promise that I will ALWAYS wear one and be all professional-like if you just give my little book a chance.
- Never talk to myself in public. I realize this looks a little like something a crazy person might do, so I promise to only do this in the privacy of my own office when I’m working on character development. A lot of peeps don’t understand the process. Also, I don’t think I would like to be committed to a mental hospital.
- Help you help me. This sounds a little 12-steppy, but what I’m trying to say is I won’t sit on my butt and expect someone else to do all the work. I’m more than happy to get out there and pimp my stuff.
- Oh, and I’ll for sure scrub your toilets.
Thank you for your consideration.
So yeah, I’m cheap. And rejection sucks. But I guess what I’m saying is that one rejection isn’t the end of the world. And if that agent wasn’t right for me, then maybe the right agent is just around the corner. And gawd, I hope he or she doesn’t have a dirty toilet, because I’m pretty sure I just promised to scrub it.