Writers Don’t Eat Cake

It’s been around two months since I signed with my wonderful literary agent, Weronika Janczuk of D4EO Literary Agency. In that time, I:

1. Moved away from home

2. Entered my first year at UW

3. Gutted and edited a significant chunk of my manuscript

4. Wrote the full synopses for the following two books

5. Wrote a very short bio in accordance to my semi-short existence

6. Survived midterms (amid #3-5)

7. Got really homesick

8. Got almost over it

9. Received a handful of rejections from agents I had queried over the summer (post signing my AA). Those taught me a lesson I had previously been stubbornly skeptical of.

In my vast amounts of query research—which involved reading blogs of successful writers and fantasying about, one day, claiming that same kind of blissful happiness they seemed to pour into each “How I Got My Agent” post—a single phrase was repeated in nearly every single instance, a phrase that over the months would both haunt me, and, as time went on, drop me deeper and deeper into various pits of disbelief and/or irritation:

The industry is subjective.

I despised those four words.

As the rejections came rolling in, I—in a half-stressed / half-teen angst haze—figured that the phrase was pretty much a literary equivalent of “Let them eat cake.” Because, with almost every inbox ping signifying yet another rejection, it must mean that this whole business actually boiled down to a very simple equation:

Agent A Rejection = Agents B-Z Rejections

Then, another ping.

Weronika’s email sitting on my inbox—would I be available for a chat over the phone?

Months of “I’m not quite the right fit for your project” torn away in a few words.

My agency agreement was the first document I signed as a legal adult.

Another query rejection came a week afterward. And suddenly, every writer online wasn’t some elite, Marie Antoinette-figure, blind to the struggles of the common querier. They’d all gone through it, too.

The industry is subjective.

The phrase offers more comfort now.

Because, really and truly, it’s nothing but a good thing for those querying—you want an agent with your specific brand of taste, because that’s the person who is going to be in your corner. Fight for your work so you can find someone who will fight for it, too.

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