Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Just Like “Dating in the Dark”, only… not.

We caught the tail end of this new delight of viewing pleasure the other night. As if we need even more display of public humiliation and degradation invading our living rooms – wasn’t “Living Like Animals” enough mortification for any viewer?
I like the premise though –I think it says a helluva lot about the way we have these preconceived notions of what levels we aspire to in the search for our perfect mate.

We must all carry around in our heads this incredible idea of perfection and so not only must the personality be amazing, but the face must match the amazingness of the character. And nothing less is actually going to hit the mark. And then you appear on Dating in the Dark.
Those poor fools.

Which leads me nicely onto *this* poor fool (me).
When I submitted my enquiries, tentative synopsis and brightly polished first three chapters to my carefully selected hot hit list of nine agents (now ten actually, thanks Emily) I vowed that this (the third) time round, I would NOT be affected by the rejections that would inevitably come bouncing back. I wouldn’t. I’ve done it before, I was bruised – very nearly bled – but my hurt healed and scabbed over and hardened up my soft spots.

Eeew. But can you tell I *heart* analgoies? Ask anyone. Let’s see how many I can squeeze into this post, shall we?
Anyway, not only was I shocked, following a Friday night splurge of these agents, where I later realised I may very well end up at the bottom of the electronic slush pile over the weekend and my enquiries might never see light of day, to find responses, I was mightily encouraged* to see that three agents were displaying signs of liking what I wrote (sic).

One agent wrote:
“The novel sounds wonderful. By all means send me the first few chapters and a brief synopsis and I will read them and get back to you. Please mark for my attention and 'requested', and enclose a stamped, self addressed envelope it you'll want the pages back.”
Best wishes…”
And her very own name! So the words WONDERFUL shine right out at me, followed by SEND ME THE CHAPTERS and MARK FOR MY ATTENTION followed by the lovely BEST WISHES and her FIRST NAME. First! Not Mrs Doodah or Mrs Zippity Doodah. Just Zippity. Like we meet every Tuesday and devour croissants and skinny lattes in Starbucks or something.

I couldn’t have had a nicer response if I’d dreamt it, sprinkled fairy dust on it, left it in a warm place to rise for twenty minutes and then watched it turn all golden and glowy before my eager eyes.
I fairly floated on that response alone. And I scrabbled furiously, dizzily to get what she wanted into the post as soon as. I had to be held down from calling Starbucks and making a reservation for next Tuesday.
You see, for me that was the chat-up in the dark. Agent had liked my enquiry mail, my brief outline of the book, seen my writing credentials (all of two sentences) and had liked the whole idea I was “selling” her so much that she was eager to see more.
But then she opened up my Manilla A4 envelope (kissed at the seal by my personal Good Luck charm) and her lights turned on.
She saw something she wasn’t expecting.
Maybe my ears were too sticky-out.
Perhaps my eyes too close together?
Not enough wet-look gel on the ol’ mop.
To tall? Too short? Too wide (v. probably – after all, I’m the “solid” kid on the block, don’t ya know?) Too old (gulp)?
Because after the lights had come on and I was found to be lacking (in which department I’ll probably never know) Agent had packed her suitcase and headed off in the opposite direction and left the building.
The automated response for rejection said:

“Thank you very much for your enquiry regarding your work. We take on new clients very sparingly and in order to do so we have to feel that something is very special indeed. Having considered your enquiry we’re afraid we are not confident we could find you a publisher so we regret that we’re unable to take the matter further. We wish you the best of luck elsewhere.”
No Dear Me, no mention of the title, nothing in the body that explains what wasn’t ‘special’ about it, no encouraging comments on how it could be bettered, and certainly no Best Wishes. And not even from Zippity herself. From a machine.

It’s so hard to pretend this doesn’t have any effect.
I’m clearly wearing the right perfume but somewhere along the way either my fashion sense sucks or the words coming out of my head and landing on the paper are entirley in the wrong order.

Ah, analogies… you'll always be there for me, won't you?


Deb said...

No! That's what I've been shouting at the screen, Debs. It's like the old, 'It's not you, it's me' speech isn't it? Of which I got a lot, prior to meeting my husband. So sorry to hear the crappy news, but remember, you're not a writer unless you have at least several hundred rejections under your belt - it's a fact. And think of it this way, you still have nine to go.

Debs Riccio said...

Aw bless you, Debs! I will chant that going to sleep tonight - still have nine to go... still have nine to go... still have nine... zzzzzzzz