One of the writing groups I'm in had their annual conference this past Saturday. At last years conference, I pitched my book to an editor with Avalon books. First time I've done anything like that. She asked for the first three chapters and synopsis. After I sent it, she asked for the whole manuscript. To say I was on cloud nine would be an understatement. And of course, I had to tell everyone I knew. Then the bottom fell out. After waiting for about seven months for an answer, the editor quit and Avalon was acquired by Amazon and my manuscript came back to me with a form rejection letter on top. Okay, okay, not the end of the world, right? It was good enough this time, it will be good enough the next time. Oh how naive I am.
I pitched to an agent this time. First words out of her mouth were that my word count was too small. My head started swirling - she's going to reject it - oh no! But, she said it sounded interesting - go ahead and send it. Okay, I thought, but what good is that when you've already said the word count is wrong?
Next came a critique session with four other wannabes and a very successful published author. I'd worked all morning the day before polishing my piece. It was ten pages. First thing she said was we could only read five pages. Okay . . . I frantically picked what section I wanted to have critiqued and waited my turn. The only feedback - I can't use derogatory words. Or if you do, you have to qualify them. That was it. No encouragement at all. Excuse me, Miss Famous Author, those words are totally in context with what the characters would say.
The final blow was later in the afternoon. Some of us submitted query letters for a query letter gong show. The agents lined up at their table and our letters were read. They were supposed to gong when they lost interest. I'd followed all the sage advice of experts when I composed my letter and I had imagined them saying something like "This is great. Who wrote this. Please send me the manuscript." Naive again. Instead I got the worst review of them all.
I left the conference before it ended and cried most of the night away. The next day, I was still wallowing in self pity. But something changed Monday. I started to get mad. How dare they try to dash my dream (granted they probably had no intention of doing that) but, I had to blame somebody. Because, obviously, it's not me or my writing that's at fault. Right? Right?
Today, I have moved from mad to determined. What am I going to do? I'm still weighing my options. I know for sure I'm not quitting. Stay tuned for Part 2.