Without a doubt this is the most whined about topic in writing forums. When I receive a rejection letter there are two thoughts that automatically come to my mind. 1) My query didn’t induce enough enthusiasm in the agent for them to request a sample of my work. 2) The first five pages (my brief sample included in the submission) contained faults or weaknesses that lead the agent to conclude the novel is unmarketable (or worse. LOL). There are many reasons why an agent may not want to see your work; not currently looking for that genre, already has too many writers, etc. I prefer to be hard on myself and take the blame.
My attitude: my work or presentation could have been better. We as writers need to be honest with ourselves when it comes to the rejection. Taking on this attitude can only make us better writers and marketeers. Blaming the literary agents may be easier, but that doesn’t force us to view our own work with a critical eye. Were your first five pages as tight as they can be? Is your hook strong enough to attract interest? Are you presenting this manuscript in the right way?
For me, the most difficult and frustrating part of this process is not receiving any feedback. Not knowing what part of your presentation query, sample pages, or synopsis lacked appeal makes it so challenging. The process as it currently stands, leaves you trapped in the twilight zone (or in a lonely literary hell like a car caught in a ditch of mud and unable to escape). It is a shame agents don’t use a response form letter with a list of options they could check off to inform you what they didn’t like. For example; weak query, synopsis vague, writing not up to par, too many typos or errors,or even a simple I don’t like you. (I’ll accept any kind of criticism at this point). As crude as this may seem, it would provide invaluable information.
Any kind of input would be great as long as it isn’t destructive criticism (see photo).
What do you think?