Well, this isn’t the first time, but I was harassed online. Usually, it’s for random reasons, like the man who sent a message to my Harry Potter cosplay blog telling me to drink bleach. I asked him why I was so angry, but got little answers other than the typical “you should die” and other vulgar statements. However, this time, I’m not sure exactly what set my angry person off.
I am a part of a small writing group, and one of its members was venting about querying. I sent her a message explaining why it is necessary but left on an encouraging note. That woman didn’t respond, but boy did someone else.
I was told that judging a book by the query letter was “immature and quite frankly, downright rash.” She said I’m only an intern, and I have no right to block a true agent from reading an author’s work (which I find funny because I never said that’s what I did, but okay). I responded, and while I did, she proceeded to comment on every single post I have ever made or commented on with things like “your little internship will be obsolete anyway,” and “literary agents are snobs.” She did not cease until she was subsequently removed from the group (which I thank the Lord and the group moderators for). It was a small instance of hatred, but it led me to what I want to talk about today: author anger.
I, for one, have had my fair share of frustration. While I am a literary agent intern, I’m also an unagented author. Writing a novel and editing it to make it palatable is hard and time-consuming. After spending years working on a piece, it is hard to not think of your book as your baby. However, I think it’s important to remember that while babies are human (sometimes), books aren’t…but literary agents are.
I too, have waited in anticipation only to have my full manuscript rejected. I too, have received form rejection after form rejection. And I too, have struggled not to take it personally. But in this business, separating art from reception is a necessity. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who doesn’t like your book. You can’t help it, and it is imperative to be able to continue creating without taking it to heart.
I’m not mad (anymore) at the woman who said those things. I feel for her, and I understand her words were not personalized to me but an explosion of frustration at the industry in general. I hope one day, she can separate me from her frustration at the industry and her creations from the reception of others in the future. For now, I urge all of you to do the same. When you get rejected, cry it out but keep going. Don’t think of it as a personal attack. Agents aren’t sitting at their desks, petting a white cat, and cackling that they get to reject such great talent. They’re just looking for a book and an author they think they could sell and work well with.
I hope you take your work to heart but not the rejections. Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list for writing updates, query tips, and other miscellaneous fun. And as always, happy querying.