Many writers consider this to be a badge of honor – an inevitable milestone on this path we chose. Me? Honestly, I spent a few hours upset. This had been an agent with whom I believed I would genuinely want to work. She, or an intern, rejected my query in less than 24 hours. On the plus side, that is a wonderfully fast turnaround time. On the other side, I spent some time reviewing the submission guidelines and such, making sure I hadn't received the form rejection simply because I had somehow done something wrong. Perhaps sending a query later in the evening brought it to the top of her inbox in the morning.
A few hours (away from the computer) later, the Twitterverse offered me a productive distraction: #MSWL, which decodes into "Manuscript Wish List." Basically, editors and agents from all over were posting throughout the day what exactly they would like to see right now. I found a few agents whose wish lists, I believe, include stories like mine. Moving past my first rejection, I submitted 5 more queries.
In a sense, every published author has a "magic number" – the query or pitch that turned into an offer of representation or a sale. For many, that number is at least in the double-digits. For some – in the triples. I'd like to believe that each rejection – silent, form, or otherwise – is ticking down until my magic number.
Here's hoping that magic is real.