I got two rejections in the past twelve hours or so. Neither was a surprise. Actually, one was kind of a pleasant surprise, because it had been out a while and often enough, I've found, agents don't tell you when they pass. So there's a folder in my bookmarks of agents queried that never move into the rejection folder. The loose ends are aggravating.
It's not bothering me too much. There's a little twinge, a whisper of doubt about the writing in the back of my head, but mostly I chalk it up to a another days' work and actually, to progress, because at least now I know I need to move on.
I have been accruing a few agent and editor acquaintances (mostly via Twitter, who knew?) and through links and clicks and second and third hand referrals, accumulating knowledge of this particular area of publishing. The thing is, one agent/editor/blog/website will say "dear god, for pity's sake don't EVER do X!" then another will say "geez, why is no one doing X! You've got to do X, people!" And if you ask five of them is Y is helpful, one will say "No." One will say "YES!" One will say, "well, it depends." One will say, "only if also Z." One will give you an inscrutable emoticon in response and leave you scratching your head. The upshot is each and every query demands a ton of research into that individual's preferences, ideas, philosophy, style, etc. And you know, actually, it's kind of fun. I seriously kind of enjoy that part. But it can get annoying to be told (not ME being told, but to read general info for the general public including me) that something is absolute and carved in stone, when in fact it's only so for the person doing the telling/writing/tweeting/whatever.
So again with the darts in the dark. Because you just never know when what you've done is going to align perfectly with what some agent thinks you should do or misalign entirely. And so I for one believe the rejections that say "this is not a good fit, but that's no commentary on your project."
Mind you, I'm cynical enough to know that sometimes it is a commentary on my (or anyone's) project. I can only imagine the slush to be found in those slush piles. Really. Me? I could NEVER do what agents do. I laugh when people say "famous, rich, successful Writer X was rejected fourhundredandseventythree times!" Because you know what? For every rich famous, successful writer who was rejected a lot, there are approximately twelve million losers who never published a sentence fragment who were also rejected a lot. While success may = a history of rejection, the inverse is not, by any means, necessarily true.
For me it will be though! Stiff upper lip!