The Mystery of the List


I’m kind of fuming these days as for the last week I’ve been rejected ten times. It’s not that I go out on dates and ask every man who shared meal with me to marry me tomorrow, but, instead of fainting from of unexpected happiness, he dryly says, “I’m sorry, my dear, but I don’t think we’re soul mates.” It’s not that, although it feels this way. I’ve been receiving rejections from the mysterious and undecipherable people called agents.

I’m ok with rejections, usually, when I understand WHY. If you tell me the story sucks I’ll get it. If you say it has to be improved, edited, rewritten or thrown away, believe me, I will understand. What I don’t understand is this threadbare, hand-me-down excuse ‘not right for my list’. What does it mean? Is it a secret code for ‘you’re an idiot and we’re sorry for you’? And the nice words like enjoyable, original or promising that go along with the rejection simply play role of a bone to distract a hungry dog from biting? A very good trick, by the way, because I have a strong wish to bite and I get distracted.

Looking for answer to the ultimate question, “What does ‘right for the list’ mean?”, my imagination pictures a nightmare scene from The Schindler’s List: a Nazi stands in front of a crowd where I hide with my heart full of hopes, and he cries out a name after name and, oops, I’m not there, I’m not on that bloody list. My destiny is defined, and my story’s butterfly wings are getting burned in a… Oh, let me stop my imagination here, I don’t want to see that.

Being stubborn like a brainless sheep I keep sending my queries despite all rejections, if not to see the story fly, then at least to discover the ‘right for my list’ secret of these mysterious and undecipherable people called agents.


The Daily Post


2 thoughts on “The Mystery of the List”

  1. Joan,
    I am in the same boat – if thats any consolation to you.
    I have been rejected every single time I have applied, so much so that even job boards reject my writings.
    But I learnt somewhere that writers need to persevere and have patience and also have a questioning mind.
    Maybe you can question the decisions of your editors and ask for suggestions.
    I did once and the poor man actually wrote back sincerely saying what he wanted.
    Lots of luck and prayers,
    God Bless,

    1. Thank you so much for your support. I know, many of us are in this boat, and I know, the most important thing is to be patient and keep going. I wish you the best of luck too 🙂

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