How Many Rejections Is Enough to Give Up on a Story?

While many writers are choosing to go the self-publishing route in order to reap the many benefits of that path, I’m still pursuing the traditional route of trying to get an agent. Thus the newest round of queries I blogged about last week. While I am having decent response, I am also seeing rejections, and I got to wondering: is there a certain number of rejections where you should get the hint and stop querying?

Because I can’t help thinking much farther ahead than I need to (thank you, anxiety disorder), I do wonder what to do if this round of queries doesn’t land me an agent. If no agent bites, that will be over 100 rejections. In the past, that many rejections would probably signal an end to that manuscript’s life, but these days it opens up a new dilemma: Do I put the manuscript in a drawer, or move onto self-publishing?

Concept cover of The Curse of the Pharaoh's StoneI hate to put The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone in the drawer. It has had a long and unique gestation, so the manuscript is special to me. In addition, I truly believe in this story. Beta readers, both teachers and middle grade students,  loved it, and I feel in my bones that Pharaoh’s Stone has the potential to go far.

But do I really want to carry the weight of doing everything myself? That’s the trade off. Although the marketing largely falls to the author no matter which route you take, the initial editing, book design, cover design, and all the formatting is taken care of with traditional publishing. That’s a huge investment in time and money, as well as a steep learning curve.

The good news is that I have 2 coauthors on Pharaoh’s Stone, so this is not a decision I need to make alone. The other good news is that we have a long way to go before we need to have this discussion. We still have 48 agents to hear back from.

If you go the traditional route, at what point do you “give up” on a manuscript finding a home? Is there a magic rejection number?

Comments

  1. Carolee Gans Pastorius says:

    I know this book very well, and about the co-authors, I do hope that somehow, it can be published. There is a lot of heart in this book.

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