Working Through It

Mpepper/ September 26, 2021/ Think Pieces

This is just a story in which I try to make sense of, or come to terms with, yet another disappointment.

Late last year into early this year, I was querying agents with THE GHOSTS OF MARSHLEY PARK. I got such great feedback, and yet… ultimately, no one took it. Most of the feedback boiled down to:

  • This is great, but it doesn’t fit my list
  • This is great, but ghost stories are a tough market right now
  • I love these characters, but [no actual reason for rejecting the manuscript]

In fact, in a lot of cases, I received some form of “great book, but no thanks” without any explanation as to why. Maybe they looked me up online and decided they didn’t want to work with me? Sad, but possibly true.

But the one rejection that sent me into a tailspin said:

You have written a solid manuscript that was a delight to read. Unfortunately, I am reluctantly going to have have to pass… If my workload decreases, I will review your submission again to see if it matches my needs.

The Agent That Caused Me To Give Up

This agent (TATCMTGU) left the agency he was at a few months after that and went to start one of his own. At that point, however, I’d already begun the self-publishing process for GoMP. In fact, I’d hired an indie artist to do some original cover art for the book, and then had a designer use that art to make the gorgeous cover.

GoMP cover

And then… TATCMTGU signed the artist.

And, you know, good for her, I guess. And good for the agent, too. But I can’t help but have complex feelings about the whole thing. My ASD really demands that people be clear about what they say and do, and to be rejected so often without reason—to be told again and again that I’m actually a great writer, but that they don’t want my work (or to work with me)—is very confusing. Deciphering queries is impossible for me; what I’m being told (“great book!”) doesn’t match the agents’ actions (“pass”). It’s like being on a sports team, and the coach says, “You’re a great player!” but then leaves you on the bench. My neurodivergent brain does not understand that behavior, and maybe I never will. But, like a kid never picked for teams in school, I will continue to be hurt by it.

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