Well, here it is: my first rejection from an agent. I waffled a little about whether to write about this or not, and then, for whatever reason, decided to just go ahead and do it.
Claire Johnson from the Irene Goodman Literary Agency sent me a note saying she liked a story I had up in Opium and said she would be open to considering any full length work I sent her way. She said their agency mostly represented commercial women's fiction, but that they were looking to expand to more innovative and humorous work.
I sent a query for a novel I've been working on for a few years, with a synopsis and the first ten pages. After having this for about a month Ms. Johnson said she'd like to see the full-manuscript. And after about another month, she sent me an email thanking me for sharing (never a good sign) the novel with them. She said there was a "realism and a sadness" to it that made for a "compelling read." She found my writing "sharp and fresh," but ultimately didn't fall in love enough with the story to represent it."
She did refer me to someone else, though, which I imagine isn't a bad sign. Now, I had been really excited when I first got the letter from her, but all along I have known and been saying, not just as an act of self-preservation, that I don't think this work is what this particular agency is looking for and I also don't think this is a novel which is going to get sold to a big publishing house. I think it will be extremely lucky if it finds a nice, warm home with a small press. That's where I want it, in fact, more than anything. Big fancy power-words like "agent" and "representation," though, do have their lure, if for no other reason than I wonder how someone high-powered and executive-ish would view my work and how they would attempt to market it. I really can't comprehend this little book in a big arena of publishing and if someone else can, I'm interested in how that's possible.
Anyways, there you have it. This rejection doesn't get a number. It's somehow different in my mind, and I'm the one in charge, so I say, "No number for agency rejections."