People told me querying was hard. I guess I just didn't get how hard it can be.
To put it in context, it feels a little bit like dating in high school (if you were like me, and didn't date much). You liked a guy, you hoped really hard he might like you, but most of the time all you got were some kind words and nothing else.
I kind of expected that in high school.
This kind of rejection, even though it's much less personal (after all, I don't have to see the agents who reject me), is in some ways harder. I always prided myself on being smart--and on being a good writer. After all, I make a living teaching writing, and it's the essays I wrote to get into college that helped me win the scholarships I had.
In other words, my identity is more vested in the idea of being good at writing than it was in being pretty. So to be rejected because my writing isn't quite right . . . it hurts.
The good thing is, this book won't be my only shot. I hope that there will be others. And the advice my mother gave me when I worried about being an old maid applies here too: "It only takes one."
In the meantime, I'm going to take solace in Kiersten White's stages of query grief.