Mitigated Rejection

So, a couple weeks ago I had full manuscripts (Finding Frances) out with two agents and one editor. I got a rejection back from one of the agents last week. It was a no. However, she was nice enough to give me a lot of feedback, which is the first time any agent has done this. And she read the whole thing (!). She said she enjoyed the book quite a lot and was very complimentary of my writing ability. She pointed out a few specific weak areas of the book, which was really helpful because some of them are things no one else has noticed before. She also said she was sure I have a future as a writer and didn’t even recommend craft books or classes—instead she reminded me that it’s a subjective business and pointed me to the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents Blog. This is all nice, because a month or so ago, I was feeling like giving up. It’s a hard business and you need pretty thick skin. The weird thing is that I’m not thick skinned at all, but I have sort of developed it in the writing world. Critique groups are good training for this. Sharing something you’ve written is a really personal thing.

The Art of Character book coverAnother nice thing that happened that same day is that one of my former writing instructors offered to do a critique of a chapter or story of mine, all because I recommended a book on character that he ended up using in his summer writing class. It’s really popular with his students and he felt like he owed me a favor. I’m not sure he does, but I’ll probably take him up on that. I’ve got a short story I’m working on, which I may post here eventually. If you’re curious, the book is The Art of Character: Creating Memorable Characters for Fiction, Film, and TV by David Corbett.

Then, I emailed the original agent back to thank her, and she responded that she’d be willing to take another look if I address the issues she raised. So that is very awesome.

At this point, I still have my fingers crossed because Finding Frances is also still out with another agent and an editor, so there’s plenty of hope. And of course, even more promising is having the list of recommended changes from the original agent to work on. I was planning to only address them when I’ve heard back from the others, but now I’m thinking I should go ahead and make the changes. Either way, I should be hearing from the editor soon, but don’t know about the other agent.