A few days ago I saw that one of the books I considered this summer – and rejected – was sold. I’ve heard about this moment from agent blogs. It was really exciting to experience first hand.
You might expect that it would be bring feelings of regret (why didn’t we sign it?), shock (there’s a reason we didn’t sign it!), or jealousy (I wish we had signed it because then it would be our deal). In actuality, though, my major reaction was joy. I was glad to see the author had gotten an agent and that the agent had successfully sold the book. I was glad to be proven wrong.
To be fair, I don’t actually think I was wrong to ultimately reject the manuscript. It was a non-fiction book about domestic violence, and while I thought it was fascinating and important information, we decided to reject it because it wasn’t a good fit for the agency. In other words, once an agent signs a book, she has to read that full manuscript at least once to edit it, and then read all the manuscripts that follow in the author’s career. While domestic violence is really important to talk about, if it upsets you to read it, you don’t want to be forced to read it over and over again.
Agents tell writers all the time that they often reject things because they’re not good fits. I didn’t really understand what they meant until I got to cases like this one last summer. And now all I can say is I’m happy the project sold!