I’ve had a result since my last blog – the SCBWI Agents Party. The agent I didn’t think I’d made much of an impression on that night, replied quite quickly to my submission. Her response was that she very much liked the stories I’d sent her, and that she and her assistant spent quite a long time considering them. But in the end it came down to the size of her already considerable list, and she therefore decided not to offer representation.
Gahhhgh! Knife through the heart! But yet, the first thing I noticed about this agent when I preparing for the agents party, was that she already had a very big list of clients. So why bother going if you don’t actually have room for more? I think this is the case with the majority of agents – they don’t actually need more clients, but they keep themselves open just in case they happen to come across the next JK Rowling. Which, for most of us, is not a very hopeful outlook….
Yet I had to see the positive side of this – and it is a very big positive. This is a big deal agent from an amazing agency, who represents many of my most favourite authors. And she just told me I was a close call! That’s amazing! I must be doing something right!
This is not the first near miss I’ve had. The first one was almost exactly a year ago, with an agent who has been top of my list from the very beginning. Last November I saw she was now working for herself, and so thought I might as well try submitting to her again. To my surprise she came back almost straight away with detailed feedback on the stories I had sent – which she didn’t think were quite there yet – and a comment that it had been a near miss, and I should submit again. Unfortunately I resubmitted straight away – with texts that in retrospect weren’t up to scratch, and that I have since edited heavily! I blew it! But again, I can see the positive in this -now two agents, both from the top of my wish-list, have replied to me with personal feedback and a comment that it was a near miss. And I know that’s a big deal!
Recently a friend who has been in correspondence with an agent for the past six months, editing texts to her suggestions and then resubmitting, was finally turned down. Obviously this was a very disappointing response after such a long time, but yet this agent must have seen something in her work that she thought was worth pursuing enough to spend time in correspondence going back and forth with her. And that is a really positive sign that she’s on the right track.
So in conclusion, there are two ways you can look at having a near miss –
- The negative way – arrggggh, so close but yet so far! Why wasn’t I good enough? What else do I need to do? Why do they say they are looking for new clients if they really aren’t? It’s not fair! etc etc
- The positive way – most people only ever get the standard rejection email, with no personal feedback whatsoever. Any personal feedback, any encouragement to submit again – these things MUST be taken as an extremely positive sign! So chin up and keep going!