I thought I was totally prepared for rejection.
I’ve been sending out query letters to prospective literary agents, fully planning on receiving at least fifty rejections before finding a single agent excited about taking me under their wing or deciding to go another route. I’ve been holding my head high when I receive “thanks, but no thanks” responses from agents. One more down, thirty seven more to go.
About a month ago, a big-time, well respected, New York City literary agency asked for my 124 page proposal. I nearly took flight. Really? They want to see more? Excitedly, I whisked my proposal off to them, but truly, I was expecting a rejection from this agency. I’ll use their feedback to refine and improve my proposal, I told myself.
Instead, when the big time agency replied last week deciding not to take on my book, I instantly turned into a the-glass-is-half-empty type of person rather than my usual the-glass-is-half-full. Why was I sulking around the house? I had just received a free critique by a professional in the industry.
After analyzing my reaction in my sad state for a few hours, I decided it was because she didn’t get it. Maybe I shouldn’t be sharing this with the world, but I want your input. Really, I do.
First, she told me she wasn’t convinced our experience could be turned into a book. She thought it would better make a travel magazine article. And here’s what really stung. It was the second time I’ve been told that. But I’m fine with it. I know the material is there but if it’s not obvious from the 65 pages of my proposal that summarize the chapters, I need to spend some time going deeper.
Secondly, the agent told me she thought the outcome of our dream wouldn’t translate well into a book. This is what really brought me down. I’ve struggled with ending the book all along. It’s true the dream was ripped from us, but the story is not so much about a dream-come-true-gone-bad as it is about the unexpected wild ride we embarked upon once we got to Petit Byahaut. The idyllic aspects of living on a tropical island beach were so much sweeter than we had imagined, but the challenges were equally mind blowing and never ending. And even though the dream didn’t work out, it’s not like we were completely thrown to the road. Ok, maybe we were. But we’ve recovered, we live in a fabulous city, we’re co-owners of a popular restaurant, we’re healthy, we’re happy, we’re pursuing other dreams.
What do you think?
Do you generally stay away from books that don’t end in happily ever after?
Is the title, A Dream Made Truth, misleading? Maybe I need a completely different take from the beginning. Or a subtitle to clear things up.
And if you agree with the agency’s comments, tell me. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. Really, I’m back to the-glass-is-half-full.