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In Honor of the Slush Pile

A few weeks ago, I was a part of the 7 stages of query grief. Since the slush pile and I are planning to part ways soon. (Oh, did I say that? Shhhhhh…) I thought I’d repost the stage I wrote about!

Stage 2: Denial

It’s Not Me, It’s You.

Denial is a funny word. Every time I hear it, I think about an ex-boyfriend who always used to say, “De-Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt, babycakes.”

(That babycakes thing is why we broke up, by the way.)

It’s blissful to be in denial. You don’t really have to worry so much, because it just isn’t your fault. This is probably my favorite stage of the querying process—my book is awesome, my query letter is fabulous—and all those agents out there are drinking crazy juice for not begging to read my full manuscript.

It’s kind of beautiful really. At this stage in the game, we’re all destined to be New York Times Best Selling Authors. The big name agents are still on our list, and we’re absolutely sure that not only will they want to read our book and tell all their friends about it… they’re going to fast track it for publication—and we’ll be able to give copies to all our friends as Christmas Gifts!

The funny thing is, a lot of writers get stuck in this stage. They get form letter rejection after form letter rejection and don’t do anything about it.

I think it’s probably all those self esteem building workshops and classes people go to nowadays. They are absolutely sure their work is greatness, and they don’t understand that it takes a lot to get out of that slush pile.

For those few who do actually make it out of this stage, it’s okay to miss it. I don’t blame you one bit. The realization that the road to publication is an uphill battle is an important one. It makes us stronger writers. We seek out fellow aspiring authors, find fabulous critique partners and beta readers. Many times, we even throw out that first piece of crap book and start on something better. Don’t feel like you failed if you get a lot of form rejections.

Just don’t give up. The next few stages of the querying process are brutal, and aren’t quite as fun as this one. But remember that those first no’s are all a part of the journey. Growing and realizing that it really IS you and there’s something you can do about it just makes you a better writer.