Recently I attended a bookstore event for a debut author. (I'm going to be sketchy on specific details to protect my fragile ego.)
I knew the editor and the book sounded fun, so I figured I'd stop by and show the flag. Sometimes debut author readings can have limited turn out. I was very puffed up at my amazing generosity, so full of myself that I was just lucky a passing umbrella didn't poke a hole in my swelled head.
When I arrived at the event, it was standing room only. Chandelier hanging room only. The author was in his milieu. He was funny, charming, and when he read from the book, I knew I had to read it.
I hung around till the end, snagged the last copy and stood in line for a signature. The author hailed from the West Coast and I wanted to say hey, hurray for the home team.
When I handed him my book and said my name for the signature, he looked up at me.
"I know you," he said.
This is almost never a good sign.
"Really?" I asked, hopeful he was a blog reader, had perhaps read a client's book, or perhaps had me confused with Donna Reed, Lou Reed, Calvin Reid, or any one of the myriad Janets at the recent contest on DogFact9 blog.
but no, oh no.
"You read an early draft of this book," he said.
Ahh..this book. The one I'm holding in my hand. The one I'm getting ready to pay hard earned cash money to take home. The one that didn't have Janet Reid (or Donna Reed, Lou Reed, Calvin Reid, or in fact any Janet at all on the acknowledgements page)
"You rejected it," he said unnecessarily.
"Clearly I was out of my mind," I replied, also unnecessarily.
"Well, it was a much earlier version, not really ready," he replied graciously.
"Go Blazers," I said, hoping for the home team advantage.
Then, I slunk out of the store. With the book of course.
When I returned to my lair, I looked up his name on my list of queries. I had in fact rejected it.
Here's what I said:
"Thanks for sending me (title) which I read with interest. I’m sorry I have to tell you it’s not right for me. In fact I really hate to tell you that cause I think you’re a really good writer and this is funny and charming. I just don’t think I can sell it."
And I was right. I didn't know how to sell it.
But someone else did. To a major publisher. For money. Real money.
To a GREAT editor.
So, when those rejections come in, and they will, keep this in mind: one agent's rejection is not only unimportant, it's really just a chance to find the RIGHT agent. The one who can sell it, and will.
I have the bookstore receipt to prove it.
And my hats seem pretty loose to boot.