from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Random #18: Rejections to Come

with 4 comments

I’ve just sent out my first query since April. Writing query letters is a chore and an art in itself. I’m sitting here with a copy of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye by Katharine Sands, but I can’t get myself to open it. The whole thing is just so daunting that it has drained any shred of motivation I had before I sat down. You’re supposed to write a personalized letter to each agent you query, but if it takes me 60 queries before I find an agent, it means that I’ll have to write 60 individual letters. I can barely get myself to write e-mail.

It’s sad that you can’t “let the writing speak for itself.” You can’t, because writing is a business. There are countless aspiring writers out there and so agents get countless queries every day. The problem is catching their eye with a letter. Fuck.

One good thing is that the “Rejections” category of this blog has only one entry to date, and the more queries I send out, the more rejections I’ll be able to post. It’s probably not very professional to post them on this blog, but I’ve never set up the pretense of being “professional.”

* I’ve long since given up on posting entries on a regular basis (twice-weekly). When there’s a lull in my schedule (such as right now: I’m on vacation and have finished the translation I was working on) or when I have something to share, I’ll update. If not, I’ll try to force something constipated out about every week or so.

To those of you who have continued to visit despite the frequent downtimes, thank you. My deep thanks also to the five people who have bothered to subscribe.


4 Responses

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  1. It’s probably not very professional to post them on this blog, but I’ve never set up the pretense of being “professional.”

    I used to hang mine on the wall, years ago. I eventually amassed enough rejections to wallpaper one side of my room.

    Good luck, man.

    Kevin Kim

    October 28, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    • Thanks, Kevin.

      I’m just curious, but how many rejections did you have to go through? If the question is too private, don’t feel like you have to answer.

      I was just reading some tips for querying from the agent I just queried and this is what she wrote: “Do not blog/Twitter/Facebook about your search for an agent/publisher.” I guess this one is another “fail.”


      October 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm

      • More than 50. Most of them were form-letter rejections– the type where they check a little box alongside a list of possible reasons for rejection.

        After all that nonsense, I gave up, reformatted the book into something else entirely, and self-published, which was far more gratifying than receiving rejections. Alas, Scary Spasms in Hairy Chasms was done at a vanity publisher, not a pub-on-demand service, so I retain nothing but hard copies of my first-run print. Am thinking of transferring the book to POD at CafePress or Lulu. (More likely CafePress, which is better about what PDFs it accepts.)

        More later, perhaps. Lunch break is over.

        Kevin Kim

        November 2, 2010 at 2:22 am

      • Damn. I’ve only sent out three queries and I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted.

        I was thinking along the same lines. If, in the end, I can’t find an agent who’ll take me on, I was thinking about self-publishing or looking into e-books and then going through the process again once I’ve written something that I want to write (a novel).


        November 2, 2010 at 10:10 am

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