If you’ve been following my blog since the start, i.e. the simpler time of June 2017, you’ll know one of my early posts was about the first rejection I received.
After Careful Consideration… was the opening line for the rejection and are words that still haunt me to this day.
I’d received said rejection February 2016, and now, three years on, 16 rejections later, and with an MS rewrite that almost cost me my sanity, I received my first acceptance!
This email opened with the words Pleased to let you know… and hit my inbox off the back of rejection 14 (“Unfortunately, the concept and sample pages didn’t connect with me as much as I’d hoped”) and 15, (“I’m sorry, but your project does not sound like a fit for me at this time, and so I will have to pass”).
Rejection 16 came afterward when I contacted agents I had the query with to let them know I was withdrawing it and one expressed interest and asked for the full MS.
My only goal for this querying round was to gain a full submission request after failing to get past the “send your first three chapters” stage last time. Now I had two requests; one from the small press who’d already made a contract offer, and one agent.
A few days later, the agent passed (“Congrats again on the offer of publication! That’s so exciting! Unfortunately, this isn’t quite right for my list, so I’m going to step aside, but I wish you the best.”) which, if I’m honest, was an odd situation to be in.
I’m not going to lie; receiving a rejection after an acceptance made me wonder for a split second if the small press had gotten it wrong and offered me a contract by mistake (thanks, imposter syndrome). Instead, I trusted in the email that said “I find the characters engaging and the story interesting and fast-paced” instead of the 16 telling me nothing more than various versions of “It’s not quite right for me“.
I started my 2019 submission round with the hope of an optimist but the heart of a realist; one that had been hardened by years of rejection and a year of endless edits. I’d promised myself that 2019 would be the year I finally published my YA series and that it would either be with an agent or publisher, or I would do it myself, inspired by the wonderful indie authors I’ve met and whose books I’ve loved reading since joining the writing community.
Now my book will be out in the world too, with thanks and guidance from a small press who saw something in the story. So today, I’m pleased to let you know, my debut novel, Blackbirch, will be released later this year.
— K.M. Allan