I got rejected in eight hours.
The first agency I sent a query to preferred electronic communication. I sent off a query letter with a sample of the manuscript as per spec, and by the morning already knew that they did not want to represent the book.
I have mixed feelings about this.
First, I know its not personal. Getting a form letter from a robot first thing in the morning, however encouragingly it may have been written, is decidedly impersonal. They didn't say that they didn't like me. They didn't even say that they didn't like my book; they just said that it didn't match their needs and good luck finding representation. It's not personal.
But dammit, it feels personal. If feels like they're saying that they don't like me, that my book isn't good enough for them, it feels like I should just walk away and never write another word. And as much as I was expecting it, as much as I knew that I wasn't going to find an amazing and dynamic agent that not only will sell my book to a huge publisher for a fortune, he or she would also sell the movie rights and I could quit my job and get a corduroy jacket, start smoking a pipe, move to a secluded but charming cottage in the country and just watch the checks start rolling in, as much as I knew that probably wouldn't happen, I also knew that it might. I've seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I mostly knew there wasn't a golden ticket in that response to my query, especially not one that came back that quickly, but I still held my breath as I opened it, still held hope for that little glimmer of gold in the corner.
Also, I suspect that a monkey that smashed his head against the keyboard for an hour and sent the result to that agency got the same exact letter that I did.
On the plus side though, I'm not waiting around for a response. I can move on and send it off somewhere else, and maybe find someone who is willing to take a chance on my strange little book, who loves it like I do, who wants to see it in print as much as I do.
As much as it stings my oh so delicate pride, I know this is a part of it. I know its not personal.
But it sure feels personal.