Surrey Writer’s Con (rejection and panic)

Joe’s Post #60

Ok, two more pitches down.

saraFirst up, Sara Sargent, an editor and another super nice person. I mean SUPER nice.

I don’t honestly know how they deal with all the writers and their bad pitches and a complete inability to tell a story about their story. Like me.

We had a great talk. At this point, my nerves are down to a nasty eye-twitch, but my voice, arg, my voice, it decided to die. I sounded like Mickey talking to Rocky. Not a bad thing but clearly my plan or talking non-stop for 3 hours has a flaw in it.

The good news about the chat, she had some great advice on my characters, especially Cyndy. Simply put, she cannot be 10. She has to either age up or go bye-bye. Yikes! I love Cyndy. But so be it. After leaving, I went back and rewrote Cyndy as a 15-year-old. It’s not just changing her voice, but her attitude as well. Luckily, I only had one scene to rewrite. More will have to be done, but the idea, the whole story concept, hmmm, it’s not winning people over.

And that’s a problem. A huge problem. It could be that this idea is not an immediate winner, even if I pitch it well (or if not well, then ‘better’).

She did not want me to send her anything. Could just be an editor thing (they do have a no unsolicited manuscript policy, but I think if she loved it, she would have solicited it).

Confidence after I left that meeting dropped like stone in water.

Should I even be here?

Panic set in. Should I even continue pitching this book?

agent_34But off I went to the next interview. An agent. Patricia Ocampo. Another amazingly nice person, still keen and energetic even after hours of sitting there and hoping to find a great story.

My pitch still wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t bad. It told the story that I’d written. Only problem, once again, she told me she wasn’t sure it had a market.


At this point, I channelled Paula. I fought and I fought and I fought to find something truly magical in the story and, when that looked like it was failing, I sold myself. No, not in the dirty way, but in the way that I WAS the right person to write an idea that had been done before, that I knew enough, that I researched the market and my audience enough to make it work, that I was THE geekie guy who could getter done.

I dunno if she just felt sorry for me, especially after I started crying and begging, but she gave me her card and told me to send it to her sample pages. I could be overthinking this, but I was pretty sure she was glad to get rid of me mostly because her card said, Glenn’s Plumbing and listed a number in Alaska (just kidding).

But a good experience. No really. If the story fails or the writing fails, oddly, I’m ok with that. I’ll write another book. What I hated was the fact my pitch would fail so spectacularly that they would never even think of talking to me again, let alone asking me for some sample pages. (However, it could also be that my pitch approach has failed, that I am not hitting what agents need to see.)

Oh well, on to the last one. Panic has subsided. Rejection accepted.

Where’s the bar?

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About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.

2 thoughts on “Surrey Writer’s Con (rejection and panic)

  1. Don’t believe everything you hear. Or maybe anything. Even the good stuff (unfortunately), but especially the bad stuff. Remember these words of rejection when you’re talking to the next agent:

    “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” (to Stephen King on his submission of “Carrie”)

    “You’re welcome to le Carre – he hasn’t got any future.” (regarding John le Carre’s submission of “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold”)

    “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.” (a rejection of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”)

    “Good God, I can’t publish this!” (rejection letter to William Faulkner re: “Sanctuary”)

    So there! Onward and upward Joe.

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