Sending off your writing work to be accepted, rejected, or worse–ignored–can be a scary thing. Especially when that work is as deeply personal as memoir. I finally took that step and have submitted the proposal for my memoir to the first handful of agents. These are some of the agents that I met at the San Francisco Writers Conference earlier this year.
For those not familiar with the process, a book proposal is usually required in order to submit queries to agents for non-fiction work. Mine is 30 pages without the sample chapters, and the number of chapter pages varies from agent to agent. Some want five pages and others allow 50. They all have their own unique requirements for submissions.
The proposal includes a summary of each of the chapters, information about competing and comparable books, the author’s marketing plan, and market research about the potential audience. It also includes a pitch and an author bio. In other words, it’s a lot of work!
After pouring your heart and soul into hundreds of pages to write a book, doing the work required for a proposal and researching agents to send it to, rejection can be hard to take. But for most writers, it’s a very necessary part of becoming a published author. Some very famous authors and books have received a hefty number of rejections before getting an acceptance letter.
Litrejections.com reported that Agatha Christie was rejected for five years before landing a publishing deal. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected 12 times before a publisher agreed to publish it. Louis L’Amour received 200 rejections, Chicken Soup for the Soul racked up 140, The Help got a nice round 60, and Gone With the Wind collected 38.
Knowing that when my rejections start rolling in I will be in such good company, I say, “Let the rejections begin!”