Saturday, April 10, 2010

The many elements of rejection

Rejection sucks. I was reminded of that on Thursday when I got the big R on the revised full I sent to an agent. As I sat wallowing in self-pity (I always give myself six hours of wallowing time before forcing myself to get back to work), I started analyzing what it was about this rejection that hurt the most.

1. It made me question my ability. This one is pretty obvious. It is hard to hear someone say that they just don't think your book is good enough. It made me wonder if it is good at all. Will anyone think it is good enough? Will this book end up in the bottom drawer? Have I just wasted 15 months?

2. The schelp isn't over. For a few weeks there, I was starting to think I would be done with synopses, query letters, submission tracking tables, trips to the copy shop, postage, SASEs, and all the little chores that go with querying. Um, nope.

3. More money out the door. I am a very frugal person and I hate that I might have to spend more on manuscript copies and postage. I feel guilty spending the money, knowing that nothing may come of it. At times, it feels very self-indulgent. I worry that my husband (who is extremely supportive, both emotionally and financially) will finally look at me and say "Enough! Go get a real job and stop spending on a book that may never happen."

4. Admitting it. There are way too many people who know that I reached the stage of having agent interest, which means that I am (too) often being asked "Have you heard anything?" And now I have to 'fess up. Meh. In truth, I think this one bothers me the most. My pride is wounded and I would prefer to lick my wounds in private. Lesson learned. Next time, I will be very careful who I tell.

Like I said, I ruminated on this for about six hours. And then I gave myself a mental slap and reminded myself that this is just part of the journey. There is still another agent looking at the manuscript. There are hundreds of agents still out there. I won't give up. I can't give up. I remember the words of Randy Pausch:

Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.


  1. You'll get there! Seeing your book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble wouldn't be as gratifying if there weren't a few bumps along the way, right?

    I'm sending you good luck vibes!

  2. I just joined your blog after reading your piece on Laurel's blog!

    I think I have an idea of how you feel--I am so easily intimidated by the slightest rejection. It just makes me want to throw in the towel.

    I admire the fact that you won't.

    Go any author's journey and they'll tell you the rejection notices could have wallpapered their living rooms.

    Randy's words are indeed words to follow. Good luck and keep it up. I just read a snippet of your novel and liked Lara right away.

  3. You are both so right. I know that quitting is just not an option. I would much rather live a short time of anxiety than a lifetime of regret for not trying.

    Thanks for the support!