The Rejection Dance

I received my first rejection and decided to channel the twinge in my chest into a swivel on the heel and a sway of the hips. Dance with me. Make it a country-western line dance. Maybe a neoclassical ballet. Or my personal favorite, the Humpty Dance.

This will not bring me down.

I began my hunt for a literary agent–one who would love my story as much as I do–expecting hundred rejections and years of No, No, No. This is a difficult hunt, full of refusal and heartache. But even after my mental preparedness, the twinge of the first No still hurts. Each rejection adds to the million reasons NOT to write. Won’t stop me, though. I’ll never be able to ignore that goddamn whisper in my head. The one that says, You’ve got stories in the attic, Godwin. Write them!

So, stand up and point your slippers, cowboy boots and Air Force 1’s. Here’s to my first rejection.

Hi Pam,

It was so nice meeting you at Thrillerfest, and I want to thank you so much for letting me review HALLOWED EVE. Unfortunately, after careful consideration, I think it is best at this time for me to step aside.  

There is no doubt that you are a talented writer, and your abilities show through in your strong and clear voice. The story is certainly action-packed and kept me engaged. But in the end, I just didn’t connect with the story as I had hoped I would be able to. I believe you are definitely on to something here, Pam, and I encourage you to continue writing. That being said, I just didn’t feel confident enough about my ability to sell your work in order to offer you representation.  I sincerely wish you the best of luck with it, and I thank you, once again, both for being in touch with me and allowing me to review it.  

All best,


8 Replies to “The Rejection Dance”

  • Ugh. I’m sorry, Pam. But if you’ll take out your shovel and scoop the rejection aside, she said “you are definitely on to something here.” Yay! That means you’ve got the ideas and the talent, but that she’s not the agent for you. Someone else will be, though.

    I’ll dance with you. 🙂

  • What on earth is a Humpty Dance?:P Teach me and I’ll dance!

    Aw, sucks about the refusal, but hey, it was sincere and polite, and she still thought there was hope, so why shouldn’t you think the same?:) Besides, this is just one person’s opinion. Even Rowling was rejected many times, and look at her works now:P
    Keep writing!

  • Yay! It’s my chance to do the hump!

    At least it was a personal letter and not a form rejection. It sounds like she actually put some time into reading it and deciding, as opposed to reading the first page and chucking it.

    Is there ever a point that you will self-publish? I am thinking that once I start querying, Imma give it 18 months before I just do it myself.

    Congratz on taking the journey. I’m sure it will happen. Meanwhile, I need to dig out my Digital Underground so I can move along with ya’


  • She’ll be sorry. I’ve often wondered what does connect with agents. I hear of stories that go through numerous agents rejections until one represents them and the book becomes a best seller. Did the agent connect with the story then?

    Don’t let this one get you down. My motto is I’m better off the ones that reject me have, because that agent probably wouldn’t have given me the representation I deserve. You’ll find one, and that will be grateful she found you, and we readers will be too.

    Hang in there.


  • Hey Pam, welcome to the club. I notched up *$@! rejections in my first round of querying, which is why I stopped to revise and put the whole thing through the critique mill again.

    Look on the bright side, your rejection was personalised, and gave you clues about what was working. That’s a fair accomplishment for a first rejection!

  • Hey guys! Thanks for dancing with me. I suppose my post sounded negative, but I assure you, I did dance.
    @Joe: Yay! Digital Underground! Go Humpty Hump!

  • I collect these. Bullets to shoot down the lies that I can’t write. Why am I so confident (or seemingly arrogant)? I have a quote in my office at home that is a quote of some agent many years ago telling Steven Spielberg he will amount to nothing. LOL

Leave a Reply