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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Charlie Brown Syndrome

Rejections make up the majority of all return correspondence with agents. We authors, and the agents we try to interest, play a game called ‘Will This Sell’. The agents hold the key to open up the door leading to an audience of readers we hope will plunk down money for our entertainment endeavor. Because they get so many queries from a growing number of writers, some agents have even resorted to warning us on their submissions page not to expect a reply unless they’re interested. Even the standard form letter rejection seems on its way out. Is it any wonder why when we receive a rejection with a couple of encouraging words we feel like we’ve succeeded in some weird way? An agent wrote me a short rejection reply for HARDCASE – ‘Thanks, but this is not for us. Great voice, though, so keep at it.’ How pathetic is it to feel encouraged? That’s how it is though. Authors are the perpetual Charlie Browns, with agents playing the part of Lucy holding the football, entreating us to take another shot. Our inner voice is howling ‘Don’t be an idiot! You’ll be kicking empty air again!’ But… then… you think… maybe this time… and off you go to another meeting with empty air. I know… pathetic… maybe if I get a dog and an orangutan.  :)


Charles Gramlich said...

You're exactly right, man. I think writer's are the Charlie Browns of the world. Many of us at least. Or the "Butters" of the world if you're into Southpark. Maybe that's why we can write, though. we can still feel. We haven't had all hope and joy and pleasure leached out of us yet. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

raine said...

How pathetic is it to feel encouraged?

There has to be some wiggle room between being an author accustomed to praise and pathetic (I hope!).
I don't see that here at all. It sounds like the agent acknowledged it wasn't something her agency would represent, but it was written in a voice she enjoyed reading. I think that IS encouraging.

But would agree, yes, we are the Charlie Browns of the universe. And maybe that's not so bad. Charlie Brown is the one readers sympathize with, the one who seems to see things that others don't, the one who always hopes for better things.
Congrats on the encouraging words, anyway!

BernardL said...

Exactly right, Charles. It's what keeps us creating and running forward to kick at the empty air no matter how many times we wind up stretched out on the ground. :)

Believe me, Raine, I didn't mean the word pathetic in regard to the agent or her words. Her words inspired me to shoot out another bunch of kicks at the empty air... hence my Charlie Brown reference. It struck me as funny how little it takes to pump me up in this racket. I guess that's the wiggle room. :)

Jordan Summers said...

Actually, that is an encouraging rejection. They don't bother with that much of a note if they don't see something special in your writing.

I agree with Raine. :)

BernardL said...

Hey, I took some comfort in the nice words, Jordan. :) My take on the Charlie Brown comparison was supposed to be a funny but accurate portrayal of writers' querying and rejection circle of frustration. I guess I missed my mark. :)

Jordan Summers said...

No, you didn't miss the mark. I'm just a dork. LOL!

BernardL said...

No, no, no, it's me I tell you. :)