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Erin Cleary

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CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR

Represented by Sheila Fernley
of Storm Literary Agency
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  • Erin Cleary

Happily Ever After

It came! My first rejection letter in what I assume will be a long line of rejections. Two days ago, I submitted my first manuscript. I only sent it to one agent. Psychologically, that’s how I needed to start the process. Send to one, hear back, and then—in the case of a rejection— regroup, turn up the volume, and blast that manuscript until the walls shake. I’m lucky I found an agent who responded in less than 24 hours. It would have been rough to wait months for that rejection, and in some cases, an agent never responds at all.

The email itself was pleasant but generic. It made me think of those days of online dating, when finding a life partner came down to hours of typing at the computer, working to create a good and honest image of myself so someone—the right one—would be interested. Rejections came then as well (and I sent a few of my own). They were often worded similarly, pleasant and kind, with little to offer in the way of helpful feedback. Thank you for your interest…Not a good fit…Best of luck…

Surprisingly, the rejection barely stung. Rejections are an expected part of this process. My Harry Potter-obsessed kid reminded me that J.K. Rowling was rejected 200 times before landing a home for her world-changing series. It did however, leave me with questions. Did the agent even read it? Did the agent’s assistant even read it? Was the title enough to turn them away? Did whoever read it giggle at any of the funny parts? Was the query letter a good representation of myself and the story? Why didn’t the rejection hurt as much as I thought it would?

After reflecting for a day, the answer to that last question is clear. It didn’t hurt because I know my manuscript is good, it’s polished, it’s ready. But it’s not for every agent, and it won’t be for every publisher. Back to online dating…I was the same person who was turned down by the guys who were not meant for me as I was when I finally met my husband. I know if I persevere, one of these days, my manuscript will also find it’s perfect match and live happily ever after.


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4 Comments


Lisa Holmes
Lisa Holmes
Aug 15, 2020

I'm so proud of you, Erin! You're wildly talented. And I'm glad the world will soon be sharing in your words and wisdom. xoxo

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floyd.dillman
Jun 29, 2020

Kudos to you for not only finishing your manuscript but for taking the leap to start submitting it to agents. I love the your confidence in the work and if you keep presenting yourself and the book that way, it's sure to get noticed by the right people.

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lmn0887
Jun 29, 2020

Waiting for the right agent to recognize your talent. The world needs to know you!

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susan.tarcov
susan.tarcov
Jun 28, 2020

This is so well put.

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