Seriously, there is something wrong with me. Today, for no reason I can conceive, I went back and looked through all my rejection letters. Oh, yes, I’ve got them all. For The Siren & The Selection both, and honestly, it’s a big fat pile of ouch.
I’ve heard of authors who took their rejections and hung them around the room, saying those words actually inspired them to do better. I think while I was going through it, I tried to tell myself the same thing, ya know? Screw them! They’re missing out!... But now that I look back, I can feel freshly just how bummed I was each time I got a rejection letter. The worst were the ones where they asked for more, so I had a little string of hope to cling to, and then *snip snip* bye-bye, hope!
The words all kind of melt together: Sorry, unfortunately, doesn’t resonate, shows promise but, declining, doesn’t fit, (and my favorite) our present incarnation just isn’t right for it. There’s also the rejection that came nine months after I sent my query (a lifetime if you’re a fetus!), and the guy who rejected me for someone else’s manuscript... Do I really suck that bad?
But then there also the joy of the one letter that led to the one phone call that made the rest of that just stuff I happened to have saved. Yay for history!
What’s the point of all this? Excellent question!
I know that a lot of people around me are about to begin the querying process and that rejection will soon be upon you. So, here are some things to think about while life is slamming doors in your face:
- This is small potatoes. One day, when your words are in people’s hands, they’ll be judging you on a lot more than a one-page letter in a far less professional manner. This is good practice. Treat it as such.
- Make sure you have at least one person in your life who can be your cheerleader. I have many, and I needed all of them to get through the waiting.
- If you get so far in and nothing is happening, tweak your query letter. With The Siren, I had a long string of no’s, reworked my queries, and got a much better response.
- Don’t be afraid of the sun. Or anything that keeps you from checking your inbox every five minutes. It’s okay to live while you’re querying.
- Rejections can be a good thing. Getting any old agent isn’t going to help you. You want someone who is just as excited about your work as you are. We’re kissing frogs and finding princes here, people.
- It only takes one yes. And every no gets you that much closer to it. So don’t stress too much.
There’s probably better advice out there, but this will tide you over until you find it.
In other news: I am hoping to post a blog soon about self-publishing. If you have questions please leave them in the comments. And happy querying to all of my soon-to-be published homies.