Rejections from Literary Agents and Editors | Middle Grade Ninja: Literary Agent Molly O'Neill

Rejections from Literary Agents and Editors | Middle Grade Ninja: Literary Agent Molly O'Neill



that this idea that that if it's meant to happen it happens because you're the person that should be the guide for that book and if you're not feeling that then you're not the person and it's cool that it finds somebody else and they find the success for the book right yeah and you know I sometimes have done a workshop at writers conferences about rejection which you don't know one hand I'm surprised anyone actually willingly shows up of that session I'm like sure talk to me for an hour and a half about rejection but I also think it's really important because we talk a lot in writers conferences and blogs and podcasts all of these things about like the things to do in like the whole place and in the actively trying place we don't talk as much as an industry it's sort of like we were saying earlier about tech and failure in that they have a different understanding of of that phenomenon was I having that conversation with you yes okay I think I also had that conversation with someone else earlier today and Indianapolis is actually a huge Texan air that core number three in the country right now my wife works in tech and so we go to the mirror Awards every year which is like nerd Oscars where they go and they they give awards saw the startups and sometimes we see them get stand up and give a speech and they go on to become the Great Khan company and sometimes that's good that they guys to get that speech because they come yeah so so anyways sometimes we don't talk enough about what to do when you get rejections and what what it means and and how to move forward from that and I think it's important for authors and illustrators and people who are out querying their projects to know that it's it's not personal if you get rejections sometimes it's exactly what I was just describing it's me saying I can't do right by this I shouldn't be the one that takes it on you know sometimes I don't have the bandwidth to take it on but that it's not a personal there's not the emotion in it I think from the side of the editor an agent that there is for the author and of course it's for the author the illustrator to separate the thing they created of course there's a motion around it but I think it's important to know that it's it's not a rejection of you as a creator it's literally an agent saying I don't have a vision for this I don't see a place for this there is a market that exists created by forcers much larger than me and I don't know how to bend them to make this book work so I think sometimes this is much an admission of our own limitations as it is a commentary on others strengths or abilities and I think sometimes writers submit wanting to hear an affirmation that this is where they should be putting their time instead of spending out on another hobby or with their family with their loved ones or they they they want a signal you know we we all go through school or used to having someone tell us if we're doing a good job and I think sometimes that's what people looking for when they go on to me of course they're looking for a guess and looking for you here's the road to to success but I think emotionally sometimes they're looking for affirmation confirmation and unfortunately that's not what the submission process is built for because it's never our job to say whether or not we think you should be spending your time on this but that's something that can only come from you it's never our job to tell you if you're talented or not you know like those are the submission which is literally you asking the question do you see a way to successfully publish this book in the market is and an agent or an editor saying yes or no and it's it's that simple but I think sometimes people put a lot more meaning into it or take away rejection of like on an intrinsic level as human as a creative person that is not intended by people in publishing and it's an unfortunate by-product I don't know how we change that but I think it's good just to remember that like this is a this is a business letter you're sending it's a business question do you see this product working in the market and the answer that comes back is a business response sure but I'm not writing saying hey can I sell you four clock radios I don't think I've ever been rejected by you I've certainly received rejections previously and I remember days when I come home I'm old enough that we were still doing all those self-addressed stamped envelopes and I get four or five of them with my handwriting on him in a night and I come home but oh it's gonna be a rough night and you go through them like Charlie opening up the chocolate bar is hoping to find a gold ticket like do you lord pleased with your rejections I are you using I assumed just by sheer volume you'd have to use form responses for a lot of them correct our agency primarily uses form responses and as with many agencies there is not the time in the day and there is no one to pay us for giving deeply thoughtful responses and we might steer you wrong because if we had the vision for what you needed to do we'd be having a different conversation so so our you know we we do some agencies or no response means no and we do that your try very hard to at least send the response we have you know for anyone who queries us we have an autoresponder right when you send it in you get a ping back that tells you it was received this is our current turnaround time the turnaround time isn't always accurate you know we can always gauge where our focus is going to need to be for our clients and that comes first but it lets you know it got there and you know similarly we we try hard to get an answer to people eventually and so when you do write rejections that are personal and do you include feedback what should authors be taking away from a rejection that's anything other than dear author not for us yeah I think if you can tell that the the agent or the editor has really engaged with the story and is trying to to understand what your goals are and how they could help you better achieve it because that's really what the editorial process is and it's taken me and there's certain things that have taken me most of my career to be able to articulate and I think this is one of them is that the pictorial process is really all about you have a vision of this story in your head man but like it's alive in your head when you're transcribing it onto paper inevitably there's a gap between the version that's alive in your head and what you get on to the paper an editor's role is to come and to see what you got onto the paper without having access to the version that's in your head and to ask you the questions and point out things that help you close the gap even more between the two so they are ultimately trying to help you better tell the story that you were initially trying to tell all along they just have a different tool set to do it and they don't have as much closeness you know they don't they they have a bit of distance which can be very valuable and so that's that's really part of what the editors brain or the agents brain is thinking about is when they're reading something is do I know the right questions to ask to strengthen this to to make it more itself it's not and I think this is a fear of a lot of authors or illustrators particularly ones that haven't gone through at a publishing houses editorial process before it's not editor saying well here's what I do with your characters you know I make them like go to the dance like like I'd actually have these two get together instead it's it's not it's not an editor trying to write fanfiction in their mind about your story it's comprehend what your goals are and see what they can do to help you get even closer you

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