While aspiring novelist Nate Hanson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, hasn't - yet - found any takers for the "modern-day great American novel" he spent over a decade writing, he is heartened and deeply encouraged by the plethora of extremely civil rejections he's received from literary agents.
"They're unfailingly polite, which I really appreciate," said Nate. "Courtesy is so important."
It also hasn't been lost on Nate that the very fact that dozens of agents have taken the time out of their hectic schedules to proactively turn down his book means that people in the know are taking him seriously as a writer. "It tells me I'm doing something right," he said. "I'm being noticed, that's for sure."
And especially heartening to Nate has been that some of the rejections he's received from literary agents have gone well beyond polite, and are downright encouraging.
"One agent told me that the industry is extremely subjective, so I shouldn't take the fact that she didn't want to touch my novel with a ten-foot pole as any indication that my work is amateurish and entirely without merit," said Nate. "I thought that was sweet. I can read between the lines. I have a feeling she wanted to represent me, but she probably had some higher-ups telling her they need to focus on more commercial fluff." He chuckled wryly. "Writing's a business, no getting around that."
And yet another agent felt no need to mask her enthusiasm regarding the prospects for Nate's novel. "She 'highly encouraged' me to submit my manuscript elsewhere - anywhere elsewhere," said Nate, grinning modestly. "That was a big confidence boost for me. She obviously senses there's a huge market for my work."
As the polite-at-the-very-least rejections continue to pile up, Nate says that his artistic fire is burning brighter and brighter.
"I believe in myself, of course," he said, "but boy, does it go a long way when other people believe in you, too. I'm going to have a whole lot of people to thank when this book finally comes out."