If my illustrious basketball career had a pinnacle, it probably occurred when I was sixteen years old. Youth night at the church. The seven-year-old daughter of one of our adult leaders drove to the lane. She put up a shot. That’s when I reflexively reached my hand into the sky and swatted that thing all the way back to the free-throw line. Not in my house.
Chivalry or decency or something died that day, and maybe the universe has been paying me back ever since. Yeah, karma hurts. And then you die. Certainly, I’ve learned during my forty years on Planet Earth that success is fleeting but rejection is with us always.
I learned that (speaking of basketball) every time I got cut from a competitive sports team.
I learned that as a young missionary in the Dominican Republic where most invitations we extended for someone to act in accordance with our message were met with the words, “Si Dios quiere.” Roughly translated: “I’m too polite to tell you to buzz off.”
I learned that as a twenty-something trying to get a date. (I still believe it’s a wonder anyone ever finds someone to marry. Thank goodness it only takes one to say yes, right?)
I learned that as a college senior applying to law schools. (Thank goodness it only takes one to say yes, right?)
I learn that every time I lose a trial or a hearing at work. (While I’m pretty sure I win more trials than I lose, I’m also the guy who once lost a drug prosecution where the police found the drugs in the person’s pants. Because, dude, apparently sometimes the drugs in your own pocket aren’t actually yours.)
I learned that as a young lawyer pitching my first novel to more than 160 disinterested publishing industry professionals – one query letter at a time.
I learned that (and continue to re-learn that) pitching subsequent writing projects to a bunch of other disinterested publishing industry professionals. (Thank goodness – fingers crossed – it only takes one to say yes, right?)
Even now when I get a rejection it’s hard not to take it personally. I’m in a funk for about a day. Then I scrape myself off the concrete, pretend like it never happened, and give it another go.
The funny thing is, karma or no, I’m convinced this losing bit isn’t unique to me, so get used to it. Just remember that it’s OK to try hard things, that failure isn’t fatal, that success is all about resiliency and grit, and that you never really lose until you stop trying. Now, please allow me to get back up on that horse.
And speaking of horse – anyone up for a game?
Dear Christopher D. Seifert:
Thank you for sending me your query. I appreciate the opportunity to consider it!
Unfortunately, this book isn’t the right fit for my list at this time. You deserve an unequivocally enthusiastic agent as your advocate.
I wish you the best of luck in finding it a home!
Thank you so much for giving me the chance to consider THE ROCKET RIDERS. It’s clear that you’ve devoted a lot of hard work to this project, and your passion comes through in your writing. However, while there is a lot to be commended, I struggled to connect with the manuscript in a meaningful way, and therefore don’t believe that I would be the most effective champion for your book.
Please remember that the publishing industry is subjective, and another agent or editor may feel differently. I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you, but I wish you all the best on your road to publication.
Thank you for thinking of us with this project. Although we won’t be pursuing representation at this time, we appreciate the opportunity to consider your work and wish you every success with it.
Thank you for submitting this project to me. After careful review, I am not sure that I am the right agent for this project. Thank you again for querying, and I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.
Thanks so much for sending along the sample pages of The Rocket Riders. I’m sorry to say, though, that I just wasn’t as completely drawn in by the material as much as I had hoped. What with my reservations, I’d better bow out. Thanks so much for contacting me, though! I really appreciate it and wish you the best of luck.
Thank you so much for writing to me about your work. I read all of the material that I receive carefully and I really appreciate that you thought of me for your project, but I’m afraid that it’s not quite right for me at the moment. I wish you the very best of luck in finding the right agent to represent your work, and thank you again for thinking of me.
Thanks for thinking of me. Your query looked interesting, but I’m overwhelmed with material at the moment and not really taking on new clients. Good luck with your writing, and search for representation.
Thanks so much for letting us take a look at your materials, and please forgive me for responding with a form letter. The volume of submissions we receive, however, makes it impossible to correspond with everyone personally.
Unfortunately, the project you describe does not suit our list at this time. We wish you the best of luck in finding an agent and publisher for your work, and we thank you, once again, for letting us consider your materials.
While I appreciate the opportunity to review THE ROCKET RIDERS, I’m afraid I must pass. I wish you good luck in finding the right agent to represent you and your writing.
Thank you so much for your submission. Unfortunately I don’t feel I’m the appropriate agent to represent your work as the story just isn’t right for me.
I’m sure another agent will feel differently, and with the vast array of opinions in the industry, I wish you the best in finding the right representation.
Thanks again for thinking of me.