No one likes rejection. In fact, I’d venture to guess that most of us go out of our way to avoid it, meaning we don’t attempt things when we think we’re likely to be rejected. But if you’re a querying writer, you figure out pretty quickly that rejection is just part of the process.
Personally, I’ve learned a lot from my rejections. I’ve always been persistent in my goals, no matter what they may be, but with writing, I learned to use rejections as fuel to keep pushing. It would take four books and four and a half years of querying to finally get a “yes”, but because I’m a pretty honest and open person, I wanted to share my rejection stats in hopes of helping other writers who might be feeling discouraged about the whole querying process.
Like many writers, I used QueryTracker to keep track of my queries for each book, and I also kept a document saved with any agents who weren’t on QueryTracker.
While these stats may not be exact, they’re pretty darn close! So without further ado, here are my rejection stats:
It took me approximately three years to complete my first novel, a YA speculative fiction romance which was at first titled, DON’T QUIT (for real!). This book would eventually become THE TRAVELER’S TRUTH, and later, shortened to just THE TRAVELER, but as you will soon see with my stats, I was quite determined to get this book published! According to my records, I began querying it in June of 2015 and stopped querying in December of 2016.
No response: 65
Requests which ended in rejections: 7
Total rejections: 153
Note: I may have had a few more requests on this one but changed them as “rejections” on QueryTracker.
THE EVOLUTION OF EVIE
This was my second book and the only middle grade novel I have written. I completed it fairly quickly compared to THE TRAVELER and queried it from January through October of 2017.
No response: 27
Requests which ended in rejections: 9
Total rejections: 68
SEEKING SARA STERLING
This was my third novel, a YA contemporary, and I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to write. I do remember that I first wrote this story in third person/past tense and later decided to rewrite it in first person/present tense (which I’ve written all my other books in). I began querying this novel in November of 2017 and stopped querying in August of 2018, however because I didn’t get much interest in this one, I didn’t query nearly as many agents.
No response: 16
Requests which ended in rejections: 3
Total rejections: 49
Note: I’m pretty sure I logged several requests as rejections after I received responses from the agents on this one, too.
NOT OUR SUMMER (originally titled THE BUG COLLECTOR’S BUCKET LIST)
This book took me somewhere around a year to complete (though I finished the rough draft in around four months) and it’s the book that eventually led to three different offers!! Another YA contemporary, I began querying this novel in January of 2019 and got an offer of publication in December of 2019. (I ended up getting an agent the following month & you can read about my unique publication story here.)
No response: 27
Requests which resulted in rejections: 13
Total rejections: 66
Offers of publication: 1
Offers of representation: 2
In case you haven’t done the math, I received a total of 336 rejections before finally getting my foot in the door. Is this the norm? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve heard of people getting only a few dozen rejections, but I’ve also heard of many others getting hundreds, like myself. I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily a reflection of your talent, but more so of the market and also finding the right match.
So my advice to anyone who is getting discouraged by rejections is this: keep going. 🙂
Thanks for writing and sharing this!
No problem, Layton!
Elaine M. Anderson
These are helpful stats to see! Thanks for sharing this. I’m hoping to someday get out of these querying trenches, myself.
You’re very welcome, Elaine. Keep at it, and I have no doubt you will!