My review on the year of Project 100
Last January, I set a goal for myself. I set a number of goals, actually, but I specifically set the goal of getting 100 rejections for 2021. It was a lofty goal and sounded kind of crazy, but I had my reasons. I might have been overly optimistic about my attitude and the amount I could cover within a year. But I still think that overall it was a good experience and brought me another step closer to my writing goals.
Now, as 2021 draws to a close, I want to share what I’ve learned so far in my journey through Project 100.
Rejection Stings–No Matter What
Ugh. Just ugh. Even with reframing my mind and keeping a positive attitude, after a dozen or so rejections, it still can bring you down. After 20 or 30, you start to question everything from your ability to your sanity. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting.
But on the plus side, while I received plenty of form responses (and no responses), I did not receive any rude or mean ones. Most were kind, polite, and even encouraging, so I took that as a good sign. The agent who had requested my manuscript and decided to pass even offered me feedback both complimentary as well as where to improve–so that was awesome.
Response Times are Very Long
They say the publishing business is slow. Holy Mama, is it. Some agents had super quick response times of a week or two. But some, could be 3-4 months–even longer. Since I never wanted to have more than eight queries active at any given time, it did slow down my overall goal.
Even though I didn’t hit my number, it did give me a better understanding of how long things take, which strengthened my patience, and gave me experience in the process. It’s also good insight into any future projects or publishing experience I may be blessed enough to have.
Research, Research, Research
This takes time. So. Much. Time. Researching which agent might be a good fit for you and your book takes a lot of time, but well worth it. ( At least, I hope so.) I totally underestimated how much research it would take, from finding agents of books I love, to reading market guides, to reading books that might be similar to mine to get a feel for where I book would sit in the market.
I suppose you could skip all that, but I don’t think you should. Knowing the market and the agents you submit to and finding a good fit is worth it in my opinion. And I have a better idea of the market now than when I did before.
A Requested Manuscript is a Big Deal
I had one manuscript requested. One. Out of 28 queries sent this past year.
That sounds so pathetic and sad. And I felt bad about myself until I heard something.
On her podcast, author Marissa Meyer said that even getting one manuscript requested means you’re doing great. Great!
So many writers face so many rejections. At least I know that my query was decent enough to interest one agent–a step in the right direction. I had done good enough research to find an agent who would have been a good match–a step in the right direction. My first pages were good enough to entice her to reach more–another step.
Even though she ultimately passed, it still took me one step closer to my writing dream. I’ll take that.
Even though the year was hard to get through, I will still continue writing, querying, and submitting. Perhaps it’s foolishness, but every step I take I learn more, get better, and make progress. All I can do it try.
I’m looking at 2022 with fresh eyes, and a completely new appreciation for the amount of time and work that goes into querying. In fact, I have a new set goal of rejections to meet. This time, I plan to query a different novel and follow the same steps and researching methods as before. This time, I am better prepared for the process since I have some experience under my belt.
Are you querying this year? What are your writing goals?