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The Five Stages of Rejection

STEP 1: Denial

Something's wrong.

My email must be malfunctioning. Maybe it's replacing punctuation with wingdings. And that last rejection? The timestamp's three hours after I sent my query letter—no freaking way any agent could have read it in that time.

I know it's not my query. That thing's so shiny I could pick my teeth in it. Mom and Aunt Caroline both loved it.

I mean, there aren't any good books published nowadays—mine's a special snowflake! And any agent worth a smooshed goldfish would recognize genius in my sample pages. They must not be reading them. They must be on vacation. It must be the Intern's fault.

At least I'm not getting form rejections. "I encourage you to submit elsewhere"—that's pretty much like a referral, right?

STEP 2: Anger

Re: Re: Query letta: KISS MY ICE

Hey Agent XY/Michelle/Suzie/Ethan/Joanna/etc…

U WOULDN’T KNOW A GOOD BOOK IF IT BIT YOU IN THE PECHANGA!!* You didn't even have time to read my query, let alone the 232 pages I attached as an ODT file. If U cant handle the heat, get outta the fireplace.

p.s. if your still interested, ignore the above

STEP 3: Bargaining

*ring ring*

"XYlit agency?"

"'Sup? I sent you a query for my book, Kiss My Ice, last week, but I'm pretty sure it like, got lost in cyberspace or something, and I thought this was a more intimate way of contacting you."

"Kiss My Ice? Aren't you the one who twittered all those nasty things about—"

"Anyways, I just know there must have been some kind of mistake, because if you read my query, you'd be sharting your pants to read my novel. It'll probably get scooped up super-soon, so this is kind of like the chance of your career. I can send you a full or a partial right away. If you want a partial, though, I'd rather send you pages 266 through 387, since that's when the book really picks up. Whaddya say?"



STEP 4: Depression


What I mean is, I'll be like Herman Melville—my true genius only appreciated after I die.

STEP 5: Acceptance REVENGE

Sorry, guppy, but you've got a higher calling. Hope there's enough water in this plastic bag to get you through the US Postal Service…

Next week: writing tips for instant representation!

*you know -- from dirty dancing!! .... no?
Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten is the author of Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, and the middle grade novel Watch the Sky.

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  1. LOL sharting your pants.

    I hope this doesn't happen to agents, but I'm sure it does.

  2. Hahahahaha! And a Dirty Dancing reference. Still a great movie after all these years.

    I esp. love the anager stage. I know agents get loads of those replies. One agent even says at the bottom of her response that THERE IS NO NEED TO REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL!


  3. ROFL. Has an intern every compiled conversations such as these (which we're well aware they receive) into an actual book? It'd be a bestseller.

  4. I must work "sharting" into a conversation at least once a day.

    This is awesome, and true. I especially love the part about everything that's published nowadays is crap. Lots of people say that...they also, coincidentally, seem to be the people that don't read all that often.

  5. I spat hot tea on myself when I got to the part about the referral. Gold!

  6. You should do a post about how to get an agent/editor at a conference. I could really use some tips on that!

  7. OMG, Step 2 is so on-point. I get those types of responses at least five times a week.

    LOVE IT!


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Item Reviewed: The Five Stages of Rejection Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kirsten Hubbard