Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My First Taste of Rejection

Monday night I signed into my email account and low and behold I sat glaring at an email from an agent. I wanted to check it immediately--but I was too scared. I feared it might be a "no". I didn't know what to do so I left it there. I chickened out and left the email unopened in my inbox. I thought it safer to assume it was a "no" rather open it and confirm it. Besides, how many people actually get a yes on their first query letter? Not many I imagined so I thought it a safe assumption that mine was a "no" as well. I checked my Facebook account. I walked away. But a few minutes later, I had to know. So I reopened my email account and clicked the email open before my brain had a chance to register exactly what it was I was doing.

I read "We are sorry...."--rejection letter. Not just any rejection letter. A FORM rejection letter. The rejection stung enough but after sitting and thinking about it for a little bit I realized I have no way of knowing what they didn't like. I just got a standard "we don't want you" which isn't to say I blame the agency. They are busy but it just leaves me to wonder whether it was my query or my idea. With a form rejection letter, I have no clue. It could be that I just didn't sell my book well enough in the query letter or it could be that the book isn't good enough or good right now. I don't know.

So I'll tell you what I'm doing, on the advice of some very good people I follow on Twitter. I am:

-remembering that it only takes one "yes" per @KarenMusings (so I'm resubmitting my query to other agents and giving them the chance to say "yes" :)
-recognizing that it does get easier per @BookEmDonna (I just need to do it more often)
-and carrying on and improving my craft per @LStrongin (I love writing and luckily the only way to get better at writing is to write so I'm focusing on that instead of the rejection).

Not that the first rejection doesn't sting the most but this is all very good advice and I'm choosing to follow it--dealing with the rejection one sting at a time. It's kind of like what they say about beekeepers. Some of them get stung so much they become immune to it. Here's to hoping I get immune to the sting of query rejection letters.

Happy Reading and Writing!


  1. I understand the first rejection. I set my sights on putting 100 rejections on a big nail on my wall, and got 85 before getting published. I can say it felt like each one was a punch in the stomach, but I told myself the next agent/publisher was better anyways. I got one rejection:
    "not for me, thanks."
    That's it. I almost gave up.
    Don't give up, please don't ever give up.

    -R.L. King
    author of Dead Heart