Second Best 13

Pink Think: “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” – Bo Bennett

After six weeks of waiting, I got an e-mail from the agent yesterday.

She said my novel “Ghost Moon Night” is a “unique, rich story, full of fascinating details and evocative language,” but…

…she “ultimately didn’t make a strong enough connection to the story to pursue it further.”

I sat stunned at the computer for several minutes, then went about the chores I needed to do. I began cooking our taco dinner. Then I took my youngest to soccer practice. As I walked down the length of the soccer field, I noticed that there were some brown spots in the lawn. The air seemed polluted. I said hello to Sabrina’s soccer coach when all I wanted to do was to crawl in a hole somewhere and cry.

My first query. My first request for a full. My first rejection.

It hurts like crazy.


Last night, I watched the Olympics on TV; watched USA’s Alicia Sacramone fall off the balance beam on a particularly difficult mount, a costly mistake that shook her composure and perhaps cost her team the gold medal. During the next hour, she and her teammates looked on grimly as the Chinese gymnasts wowed the crowd with their amazing performance.

Team USA took silver. Second best in the whole world.

Shouldn’t this have been a reason to celebrate? Yeah, but I’m sure for Team USA it still hurt.


I know I am still fledgling in my novel-writing career. One query? One rejection?That’s nothing compared to what other, more successful writers, have experienced before me.

Indulging in a pity party, I told my husband I wanted to give up after this first try. And of course, well-meaning that he is, he said essentially: “Get over it and send out more queries.”

I need to remember the good things: that the agent replied to my query personally, that she requested a full, that my ms has merit.

That even though I got second best, I can still give gold another shot.

13 thoughts on “Second Best

  • Michelle

    awwww, I’m sorry. It hurts, but at least from my position the first one hurts the worst. At least you put it out there. Keep going, there will be a place for your book. You are a excellent writer.
    Love Michelle

  • Shirley Bahlmann

    That is one of the best rejection letters I’ve ever heard! Your story is rich and full and haunting.
    You need to take the upper hand, dearie. If that agent doesn’t appreciate the well-crafted, haunting, and richly cultural story that you wrote, then YOU don’t want to work with HER. I promise you, there is an agent and publisher out there who will love your story and fall all over themselves to sign you on. I already told you of the popular published books it reminds me of. So decide that your book is great, because it is, and decide that it’s Jamie Weiss Chilton’s loss, as all those who rejected Harry Potter lost, and put it out there again so it can find its home.

  • Queen of Chaos

    The pain, the anguish the tormenting of your soul! I feel it all!

    I’m so sorry, Jewel. Devastating news this is. 🙁 I want to curl up in a hole with you.

    Keep breathing…keep going…try, try, try. Send out more query letters.

    This is one of the reasons I am so scared to be a writer. The rejection letters. And I’m sure they’re going to pile up once I send my MS off. {Not that I’m anywhere near that point yet.}

    ((((BIG Hugs))) from me. 🙂

  • Shari

    I’m sorry about the rejection, but I totally agree with Shirley. Get it out there again. There’s a place out there who will publish it.

  • Prince Balthazar

    Jewel, sorry to hear this. I am about to send out queries myself, and I know it’s going to be tough. But remember, you have to keep going. Just remember all the greats (and not so greats)that have snagged agents and gone on to get published. If they can,you can.

    Look at the words the agent used to describe your work. That’s amazing! But still, she didn’t feel it was quite right. That’s okay, It’s all subjective. One agent’s rejection is another’s aceeptance. It only takes one.

    So keep your head up and your pencil sharp!

  • ~paulette

    well, since everyone else has given you the ‘keep going’ advice, i’ll just throw my pens at the wall across the room for you. See how many i can get to stick. 🙂

  • Pink Ink

    Thank you so much everyone for your nice comments. When I posted this last night, I was in a very BLACK mood. With your positive vibes and the daylight, things are looking better today.

    For the record, Jamie has been nice and professional in every way. She turns the stereotype of the nasty pompous agent on its ear. I think that is why I was so devastated when she passed on it. I felt “safe” with her, if that makes any sense, and I was ready to hang my coat in her foyer regardless of book sales and seniority.

    Michelle: Yeah, I’ll remember this as my first, sort of like a “loss of innocence.” But after this, o- ho, Watch Out World!

    Shirley: Thanks so much for your encouragement. I am picking myself up off the floor and plan to find a Jeff Herman book and flag it like crazy.

    Queen: And after this, there’ll be rejections from publishers, too. Are we masochists, or what??

    Shari: I know there is, but right now, I feel like I will be throwing darts at a board randomly…

    Prince: Good luck with your queries! Jamie said so herself, that it’s so subjective. One really needs thick skin to make it through this journey.

    Paulette: Maybe I’ll be throwing pens instead of darts at agent names…

  • Don

    Ouch. Even “good rejection” hurts. It’s something I’m not looking forward to experiencing.

    Chin up and all that good stuff. I have no doubt your work will find a home.

  • Pink Ink

    Stephanie: My husband will beat me with a limp lettuce leaf if I try to quit. 🙂

    Don: Thanks. You’re almost there…

    q: Yeah, I need to remember that, don’t I?? TY

  • Melinda

    Okay, I’ve been out of town and just read this. My heart hurts for you, but also, I feel hope. You’ve survived your first and now you are stronger.

    You’ll make it. 🙂

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