Since I mentioned before that I had not tasted rejection (for my writing, at least) since seventh grade, it’s only fair to tell you that the streak has been broken. I found upon my return to the Old Country a letter sitting atop the refrigerator. It was a self-addressed stamped envelope with a very polite pre-printed rejection card inside. Let it be known, far and wide, that the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency was the first (thought assuredly not the last) to say no to Jerry Seeger.
Now, I have been saying all along that I expect to be rejected. I’m sending letters to agents who rarely take on unpublished writers. What is more, after I sent in my query I found a more complete list of the titles this particular agent has sold, and they seem to specialize in authors who produce a title every month or two. They are mass market, and while I hope my market is also massive, mine is not the kind of stuff they do every day (only occasionally). They do, however, have relationships with the publishers I want to target.
So the rejection was no surprise. It proves I’m not selling myself short. That’s a good thing.
At the same time, I can’t help but be disappointed. Didn’t they see the obvious quality of the story? The prose as clear and resonant as a church bell sounding out over the peaceful hamlet on a Sunday morning, calling the faithful to prayer? The incisive wit, the lofty intelligence, the visceral descriptions, the heart-rending pathos? What agents would not jump at the chance to fundamentally change their business model when presented with prose of such promise?
Time to start researching the next submission.