Thursday, May 12, 2016

When Rejections Make You Happy

Once upon a time, I wrote a book. And I let a few friends read it, and they were like, "Huh, this is like a real book," so I was like, "GOOD ENOUGH LET'S GET THIS BABY PUBLISHED."

So. Many. Rejections.

I've queried two novels, and racked up about a hundred and fifty rejections between the two of them. The rejections from novel #1 were mostly form rejections, with no requests to see more no matter how many times I revised my query. I had a problem with my query letter, and that problem was my book didn't have enough conflict or high enough stakes.

By novel #2, I had learned how to write a book with conflicts and stakes that I could communicate clearly in a query letter. I got several requests for the full manuscript. As the rejections came rolling in, they had a common theme: "Loved your writing; can't sell this book."

Yes, getting rejected was still hard. But the nature of the rejections from book #1 to book #2 was vastly different. It was clear that I had grown as a writer; agents were complimenting my work and passing with regrets, instead of form rejecting me at the query stage.

To survive in the publishing world, you have to be able to find joy where you can, even in the face of disappointments. For me, it's seeing that I have progressed from where I was when I started this journey two and a half years ago. I'm moving in the right direction, even if I haven't yet found representation for my work.

I saved a couple of those rejection letters, and when I get down, I read them to remind myself how far I've come.

I'm hanging in there.

I hope you do, too.

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Kell Andrews said...

I hug the few positive words in my rejections. You have to take encouragement where you can...

JeffO said...

It doesn't change much when you get an agent who is submitting to publishers, either. I look at the notes my agent sends me and say, "Well, there's SOME good in there." Hang in there!

Kara Reynolds said...

That's right! You have to take the good wherever you can get it, at ALL stages of this journey!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Great post. Thanks for the upbeat hope.