I mean, there is no easy way around it. Whether it’s from an agent or an editor, it hurts when someone says your submission isn’t good enough, ergo “you” aren’t good enough. But the truth of it is that one person’s opinion is subjective. I know you know this, but repeat it again.
One person’s opinion is SUBJECTIVE.
Do you know what subjective means? According to Merriam-Webster, it means “based on feelings or opinions rather than facts.” Did you read that? It’s based on FEELINGS, which as we all know are the most capricious things. Your book could be the next runaway bestseller, but if the agent/editor who is reading it has had a bad morning, well, your chances of a good reception probably went down about forty percent. Ok, more like sixty percent. Maybe even ninety.
I’m not saying this to discourage you. Au contraire, I’m saying this to set a better expectation. Agents and editors are human. They are going to want to represent/publish a book that resonates with them on professional AND individual levels. And since you can’t influence other people’s individual levels (unless you have awesome secret mind-control abilities), what can you do?
You can do a lot. You can control what is in YOUR power to control.
1) DO find out what that agent/editor wants or is looking for. The Internet is your oyster–RESEARCH.
2) DO make sure you are professional and follow guidelines. Common sense and courtesy go a long way.
3) DO ensure that your submission is polished and pristine. There’s nothing worse than a glaring typo or misspelling on the first page.
4) DO create multiple lists so you can incorporate feedback (if any) and move on. If an agent/editor says no, they weren’t the one for you.
5) DO keep writing. If your first book doesn’t get published, you’ll be well on your way with a new project.
6) DO find critique groups and other like-minded individuals. Social media isn’t just for fun, you can make some terrific contacts (and have an awesome support system at your fingertips) via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
7) DO value yourself and what you have created. No one gets to decide whether you are good enough–that is up to you. Rejection is par for the course (and it’s … subjective). Accept it, learn from it and move on.
Lastly, go read this post: 50-iconic-writers-who-were-repeatedly-rejected;
and this one 30-famous-authors-whose-works-were-rejected-repeatedly;
and this one: 20-brilliant-authors-whose-work-was-initially-rejected.
“I would go to sleep at night feeling that I’d never be published. But I’d wake up in the morning convinced I would be. Each time I sent a story or book off to a publisher, I would sit down and begin something new. I was learning more with each effort. I was determined. Determination and hard work are as important as talent.” ~ Judy Blume
Don’t give up. It will happen. It did for me–3 book deals in the span of 3 weeks nearly a year ago. It’s all about timing, perseverance, faith, and a little bit of luck. Control the things that you can control, and keep going.