Dealing with the Bean Burrito

I did it. I sent my first query.

Manuscript Rejected.

Here are some excerpts from the rejection letter and my responses (which I didn’t email back or anything – I wasn’t feeling that indignant):

Agency: Your manuscript isn’t right for us at this time.

Me: But you only saw the first 50 pages! Are sure? Are you really sure?

Agency: There are numerous agents that might be the right fit for your manuscript.

Me: Well? Who are they? Do you have a list?

Agency: “Don’t give up!”

Me: That’s nice. I can’t dislike you as easily now.

So, what am I doing? Am I jumping in with both feet, composing query letters like a madwoman? Nope. I’m reediting the editedly overedited, edited-again version of Dragonfly Prince. It must need sprucing up, including the 350 pages the agency never set eyes on. And I know this is wrong. I know I need to let it go and concentrate on researching literary agents’ backgrounds to find that perfect fit. But… it… has… to… be… perfect!

Obsessed. I’m completely obsessed at this stage. I want to present the story, but I can’t present the story because it might be rejected if I present it with its current flaws. So I don’t present the story to anyone, and it haunts me like a bean burrito. This stinks.

Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I'm genuine. My topics of interest are: this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come. Oh, and cups of tea. Yes, I write about my cups of tea.

7 thoughts on “Dealing with the Bean Burrito”

  1. At least you were brave enough to send it in the first place. And just because it “isn’t right for (them) at this time” doesn’t mean it isn’t right at all. They just don’t have the good taste to realize what they are missing. Hang in there and keep trying to find the folks it will be right for.


  2. Yes, it is a good thing that you mustered the courage to send a copy out. I hope you can continue to rally, because persistence really is a writer’s best friend. I’m sure you’ve heard about all the truly amazing, well-known books and authors that were rejected dozens, if not hundreds of times. I’m also presuming that you’re aware that getting an agent to ask for even a peek at an unknown author’s manuscript is a success of sorts, and that when they are kind enough to reply to you with something more than a form letter rejection, especially to offer you any words of encouragement or to say something positive, your writing is actually deemed worth reading. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that agent or agency always has a space to fill, and even so, spaces are limited. They look for a book that they are truly passionate about, but I think you also know that there are books you LOVE that your friends may find downright distasteful. It is a matter of taste…and don’t you want an agent who loves your novel premise and writing and will fight for it, even if they will likely suggest changes to make it the best it can be? When I read your blog, I truly see someone who has what it takes. Publishing is a long, hard process. It can be discouraging, but cling to those words: “Don’t give up.” The wording in not, in all actuality, some cheesy consolation prize. Edit if you must, of course, but there is no shame in querying at the same time, unless you truly feel that your novel needs more polishing first.


    1. It was a kind rejection, and I would like to think I have a lovely tale that’s just waiting for the right agent. It’s still disappointing. I’m too new at this to be calloused yet.

      The good news is: I think I just made a big improvement on the beginning of my story with this last edit! I like it more and more.

      Your comment made my day! You have a knack for that already. Thank you.


  3. Have you heard of “The Night Circus”? I noticed it on the shelves about a month ago, thought of buying it but I’d already spent all of my fun money. Then I saw the author on Nanowrimo as one of the writers who wrote a pep talk letter, clicked over to her blog and read the whole publishing journey. My point is that her first query came back to her, rejected, in less than twenty-four hours, but by the end of her journey, she had five agents interested in the book. Sure, it took a year or two of edits before the book actually hit the shelves, but her first book turned out to be wildly successful. So, don’t give up hope. Even ten rejections doesn’t mean that your book or writing in general isn’t worth publishing. In all honesty, if they didn’t reject it flat out the day of and you got past the query letter, you very likely have something. For some reason, your blog reminds me of those authors whose publishing journey can actually be seen online as they went from hopeful to making their dreams a reality. Yes, even the stumbling blocks. You’re only getting started, and it might be a long, occasionally painful road. There is absolutely nothing wrong with improving your novel, though. Just save the old drafts just in case.


  4. Congrats on your first rejection! 🙂 I will be sending out my first query to agents in the next month or so after my beta finishes shredding . . . er. . . going over my ms.


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