Rejection Can Come When You Least Expect It: Keep Writing

Today's guest Buccaneer is YA author Laura Silverman. Laura's debut, LANDLOCKED, will be published in 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire.


Rejection Can Come When You Least Expect It: Keep Writing

I’m going to be honest. My getting-an-agent story was a bit of a fairytale. I spent about three months writing the first draft of my novel and then three more months editing and revising it with the help of beta readers and critique partners. Within half a year of the first seed of my book idea, I was sending the completed novel out on submission to agents.

I was lucky. I had those connections people always talk about. At the time, I was an MFA student at the New School, so my thesis advisor, Jill Santopolo, an editor at Penguin, was one of my beta readers for the novel. At the time, I was also interning at the literary agency DGLM, so when I was ready to go out on submission, I went to the literary assistant in charge of handling the interns and asked her if it would be strange to send my book out to someone at the agency – or even stranger to not send the book to someone at the agency. She told me to send it to her, and she would forward it along to the best-suited agent there.

During this time, I also queried about a dozen other agents I was interested in, and I was lucky enough that they were interested in me too – I got tons of requests for full manuscripts, and within a few weeks, I had offers from five agents, including one from DGLM – Jim McCarthy. It was a fairly easy decision to make; I’d been working with Jim for at least two months as an intern, so I knew I loved him, and now he loved my book, so I couldn’t ask for much more in an agent-match. It was great to work with someone I was already so comfortable with.

So perfect happy story, right? Writer writes a book and gets a well-established agent at a well-established agency in just over half a year? Time for the happy, cursive “the end” script, right?


I’d assumed that since finding an agent had been so easy, finding an editor would be even easier. I thought I’d already barged my way through the publishing gates, and now I just had to sit back and wait for the offers to roll in.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I received rejection after rejection from editors, almost all saying they loved my prose but that LANDLOCKED was too quiet of a novel to stand out in the oversaturated market. Try again next time, they said. Show us her next book, they said.

This went on for months. Ten months to be exact.

Around month five, we’d heard back from basically everyone, so I was resigned to the fact that my first book wasn’t going to sell. Fifty percent of authors with agents don't sell their first book. I’d just assumed I’d be in the other half.

So what did I do? Did I sink into a deep funk and think all that work I’d put into my book was for nothing? Okay, yes, a little bit. But then I got back on my computer and starting writing a new book. For months and months I worked on my next WIP, all the while assuming LANDLOCKED was dead in the water.

Then a couple of months ago the phone call came. It was my agent, who had literally never called me before, so it could only mean one thing: he sold my book! Sourcebooks Fire loved it, they wanted it, and within just a few weeks, contracts were set up and signed!

My book was out on submission for months, and at the last minute someone found it and loved it. But the important thing is that during those months of my book is never going to sell despair, I kept writing, so even if LANDLOCKED hadn’t sold, I would’ve been ready to go out on submission with my second book in just another month or two.

We all get rejected in this industry. A lot. Even seasoned and successful writers with multiple books on the shelves of Barnes & Noble get manuscripts turned down – the important thing is to dig deep and remember what gave you the crazy idea to create a book in the first place: you love writing.


About the Author:

Laura Silverman is an author, freelance editor, and lover of all things bookish. She currently lives in Atlanta with the world’s three most perfect dogs. Her debut novel, LANDLOCKED, comes out from Sourcebooks Fire in 2017.

Twitter: @LJSilverman

Instagram: @LJSilverman1