Getting rejected can make you feel like a failure. Writers send dozens of queries and get as many "No"s in return. You have to remember, if you are querying, you wrote a book! That is a success! And it only takes one yes (optimistically) to continue the process.
So how do we overcome the rejections? How do we get to that all important "Yes" for success?!
- Research. As you might have found out, agents are too swamped to give much feedback. It's a fact you have to accept and deal with. So research, find out more about the agents you're querying, join writing sites, go to conferences and get opinions from folks who can give you worthwhile advice.
- Don't take it personally. They don't know you! The reasons they didn't choose you are most likely because they A) don't do that genre, or have too many similar; B) think you might be too green and they'd have to edit too much; or C) just didn't click with the story/characters. You can't please everyone! And agents/publishers have raised the bar for taking on a project to print - the market is changing and we have to go with the flow...
- Make improvements. Everyone has room to improve. You won't please everyone so don't try to. Do listen to advice and comments and use them as you see fit. It is your work after all.
- Don't give up! If you've done all of the above and still get discouraged from too many "not at this time"s, that doesn't mean you should give up. But! You might want to put it on the back burner and work on something else. Enter a contest, accept a challenge or just take a break! When you come back to it again, you'll be surprised by the amount of improvements you can make.
My next goal is to beef it up and edit it. Then I'll write a query letter and start that process again - but I'm wiser now and think I can write a good one. I am also taking critiques, watching the market and trying to build up my "image." Every little bit helps!
Even published writers have to keep working hard to get the next one out. There aren't any guarantees.
Watch American Idol? Notice how many contestants they start out with? Tens of thousands! Just making it to Hollywood is quite an accomplishement! If they don't get any further, some can take that and choose to improve. Others will give up and scorn the judges. Who would you rather be?