Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chantele Sedgwick on Querying & Rejections

Hello Everyone! Chantele Sedgwick is here to do a guest post today. I am so extremely grateful to her for taking the time to share this message with us. It is something we all need to hear and understand. I've learned so much from her already - she was the one who helped me enter into the writing world instead of being a closet writer - and I still continue to learn from her all the time! So here she is!

I'm so happy to be at Leigh's blog today! I'm always so nervous about guest posting, but I need to just relax about it and hope you'll like me... Haha. :)

Leigh wanted me to talk a little bit about querying today. Mostly, how to keep going when all you seem to get are rejections. I've gotten 300+ rejections so far in my writing career. And I know I haven't been rejected as much as some people, but I feel like I can actually share a few things about it with you.

Let me first start out by saying this to those who are querying or who are getting ready to query.

You WILL get rejected. Everyone gets rejected. Whether you're querying your first book to agents, or you already have an agent and he or she is shopping your book to editors. Even if you've sold a book already, your editor or other editors may not like what you write next and reject your next book or proposal. Every author has their story about how they got published. Most people just see the publishers marketplace announcements for huge six figure deals and think the author lucked out. Which, sometimes they do. But most authors have gone through several books, been rejected numerous times and have major setbacks before landing that deal. You never know the full story from those announcements, so don't let those get you down. There's always rejection involved. For every author. At every stage.

Rejection is hard. It messes with your already shaky confidence. It makes you feel like you're writing isn't worth a thing. It's emotionally draining at times. But I've found it also makes you stronger.

Getting all those rejections while I was agent hunting made me realize how bad I wanted to get my book out there. It made me work hard and pushed me to study and hone my craft to make my writing better. Rejections made me reach out to people I never thought I'd be friends with and I've put myself out there by going to writers conferences, online conferences, anything to help my writing grow.

In other words: Rejection has made me the writer I am today.

I'm not saying the road has been easy. It definitely hasn't. There have been so many times I've almost given up. Before I got my first agent, I'd already queried two books and was on my third. I got two full rejections in one day, so it was obviously a rough day. I decided to send out one last query, telling myself it would be the last query I'd send, and I got a call from that agent two days later offering representation.

When my book didn't sell and after my agent and I parted ways a few months later, I told myself I was done. But I sent two queries to small publishers and had two offers within the week. Which led me to my first real book deal.

I still wanted an agent though. Even after signing with my small publisher, I wanted something bigger. So, I wrote more books. Queried two more, and when they didn't get any bites, I told myself I was done. Again. But obviously I'm a very stubborn creature and that didn't happen. I wrote another book. Queried it and got picked up by the fabulous agent I have now. She sold my book last year and I couldn't be happier with where my career is going.

But it's taken 7 years to get to this point. It's been a long time. But I'm so happy with what I've learned along my journey and I know I still have a long way to go.

Publishing is subjective. Agents and editors all want different things. Fifty of them may hate your book, but one might absolutely love it.
Timing is everything. Trends come and go, and sometimes you miss your chance. But most trends come back around, so don't ever think you've written a book for nothing. Hang on to it. It may get picked up later, it may not. But either way, you've worked hard and have grown as a writer because of it.

What I'm trying to say, is this. Don't give up. When rejection gets you down, just think of all the writers who have been in the same place you have. We've all been there. It's hard. It's frustrating, but there are so many other writers out there cheering you on. Be brave. Be strong. Be determined. All of your hard work isn't for nothing. If you love writing and can't imagine your life without it, your time will come. And I'll be cheering for you when it does.

A little more about Chantele:

18 comments:

ilima said...

Awesome post, Chantele. Rejections suck, but you're right, EVERY writer has to go through it. A lot. The ones who make it are the ones who don't give up in spite of them.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Thanks so much for having me, Leigh!! <3 <3

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great post! And so, so true. I took to heart James Dashner's suggestion of taking his wife out to dinner for every ten rejections. Having something to look forward to helped take some of the sting out. Some. lol

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Excellent advice. Rejection is hard. No one likes it, but we all have it. I loved your first book and I still have the second in my stack. I need a week to just read all the books I want to read!

Michelle Merrill said...

Great advice as always, Chantele :) Publishing is totally subjective and you're absolutely right about timing. It's everything!

Rosalyn said...

I'm so glad you kept going! I enjoyed your first fairy godmother book and need to read the second! This post is very timely as I'm hoping to finish revisions and query again this summer.

Cortney Pearson said...

I'm the same way--rejections were so fueling for me. Sure, they crushed me and I was totally sad, but at the same time they made me want to try harder to prove them all wrong! :D

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome post. It's an inspiring reminder of the importance of persistence if you want to get published.

Crystal Collier said...

My take on it: if you can't handle rejection behind the scenes, how are you going to deal with public reviews from haters? Every part of the journey is necessary.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Rejection will help make you a better writer. Thanks for coming by and sharing your story.

Tammy Theriault said...

Wow. It's amazing the journey of 7 years of querying has taken you. Especially in your strengthening as a writer. Can't believe how persistent you were everytime you said I give up, and totally didn't. :p. Glad you didn't!! I look forward to many romantic rejections in the future as I get ready to finish my MS. THANKS for the heads up!

Kim said...

Loved this post. I have survived (?) one round of querying - 30 queries and that many rejections. I have not worked up the courage or mental strength to try again. I really admire anyone who can hang in there and see it through to publication. Sounds like a wonderful and much deserved success story, Chantele!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're so right timing is everything. And sometimes we have to start small. I might one day query agents, although I'm happy with my publisher right now.
Congratulations on your upcoming release!

S.P. Bowers said...

The only way to get published is to keep writing. It can be hard and discouraging but so worth it.

Jessie Humphries said...

It's good to have amazing writing friends who are there the whole way through! Like you :)

Kelley Lynn said...

I'm sure I'm around 300+ rejections too, though I just try and ignore those things now...haha. Great post!

Nicole said...

Thanks for sharing your journey, Chantele! Glad you stuck with it.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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