Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rejection Can't Stop This

I don't remember where this image came from so I apologize for the lack of credit.

In the last two years, I’ve written two books attended, two conferences, and I’m on my way to Big Sur for one amazing writing workshop to round out the year. More than a handful of agents have rejected my YA Paranormal Mythology, but that hasn’t stopped me. It’ll take a team of gryphons to slow my chariot. Because this year, I made incredible connections with instructors, agents, and writers who have opened their hearts, and their minds, to me on many occasions, and I won’t let them down. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much. There were times when I felt I’d burst from trying to keep so much in my head. 

Some of the agents, who rejected my work, were people I met at conferences. One was a lucky star I reached for after securing a spot on The Secret Agent Contest on Miss Snark’s Website. And the others were researched and hand chosen for their likes, dislikes, and online presence—carefully, methodically, and in a comprehensive spreadsheet. Moving their row of cells from the Sent spreadsheet to Rejected spreadsheet made me feel like Dead Women Walking. Every time. Without exception, and this is why—

Rejection sucks. It is that simple.

I’ve cried many an afternoon at my desk. Man alive, I’ve woken up in the middle of the night crying my way out of a deep sleep. But let me tell you something else—a few of those agents actually took the time to give me feedback. Real feedback. The “you don’t suck as a writer, but need to work these problems out in your story,” feedback that we all so desperately want.

One awesome lady came right out and told me “editors don’t want this type of story right now.” Basically, she didn’t think she could sell it. Well, Hallelujah! Thank you for telling me that. That is huge. That is something that happens to published authors as well, because this is a business. Something writers, whether published or aspiring, must wrap their head around. I never doubted the business side for a minute. Having my butt handed to me for two decades in corporate America may have helped make the whole business side of publishing a palpable reality for me, and I’m thankful for the experience, as well as the reality check.

But here’s the thing; I am not so disillusioned that I believe all or even most agents have the time to write individualized feedback. I can’t even imagine how busy they must be, day in and day out, looking at query after query, manuscript after manuscript. But to those agents who did send feedback to me, personally, that has made all the difference in the world to my writing, and my perseverance.

Without going into full disclosure, I’d like to thank Laurie, Elena, and Victoria for reminding me, an aspiring author, that you care, you have compassion, and you believe in us. 

The publishing industry is changing quickly. I think about Indie Publishing every day. I think about e-publishing every day. And then I think about those agents, the ones who reached out. The ones who believe there’s still a market for aspiring authors in traditional publishing in tandem with the new paradigm—

And I just keep writing. 


  1. Uhhhhh I've been totally feeling the gap lately (it's from Ira Glass). Just went to the kidlit Halloween party and still feeling depressed that everyone had an agent or published book. But I like your reminder that the rejections can't get us down!

  2. I so get it hun! And we should talk some time...we really should!

  3. Love this. I also love the video version of the words on the poster. Words we should never forget. I keep going because I must, and because I have such support from other writers. And because writing (while it makes me crazy) also makes me sane. Very sane. :) Thanks so much for the pep talk! Keep going. :)

  4. excellent post :) Keep at it. The journey is bumpy and sometimes just plain depressing, but if you truly love what you are doing, it is soo worth it :)

  5. I definitely agree that there is room for both industries. Nice post!

  6. Rock on. I like what JA Konrath has to say about this:

    "There's a word for a writer who never gives up: published."