Thursday, May 9, 2013

Confession of Emotion

Nobody likes being rejected. 

Fake reader says: Wow, Charlie. That's deep. 

I know, I know, singing to the choir. Thing is, I've always prided myself for taking rejection (at least in query-letter form) in stride. I sort of view my rejection letters as a badge of honor, which is why I printed them out and hung them on my walls. I mean, who wants to get published without a single rejection letter to their name? Where's the victory in that? 

So you understand why I startled myself earlier this week with my most recent rejection letter. I couldn't just sigh, smile, and tack it onto my wall. On the contrary--I was overwhelmed with disappointment and frustration. I had to go on a walk and rant to my husband. Then rant to a friend. Then rant to myself. Then

fall into a mopey stupor and eat chocolate and watch Star Trek and eat more chocolate. 

I've never reacted like that before. 

I think part of it is a time thing. I'm querying the ninth book I've written, which is the 6th I've queried (#1 never saw the light of day and #7 and #8 are still being revised). That's a lot of books. I know people who have written more and still haven't conquered the publishing beast, but still. I suppose (now that I'm calm and can psycho-analyze myself, which I am wont to do), that my hopes get a little higher with each book, and the higher your hopes are, the longer--and harder--the drop to the ground. And my hopes were pretty high. The rejection came from an agency that I really admire, not that this affects that in any way, shape, or form. 

I'm not deterred, but I figure it never hurts to share a chunk of humanity on the blog front once in a while. In the end it's more motivation to keep pressing forward, and more motivation to work on my secret project. 

How do you handle rejection? 


  1. Just keep going though you might take a break to think..or sob. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sometimes the rejection just gets you. And it's ok. It's alright to take some time and mourn and eat chocolate. As long as you don't give up.

  3. I've only ever had rejections on works under 1,500 words, so none of them have been too big of a deal for me. I just write more when I get rejections, or revise and send it somewhere else.

  4. Rejections are tough. Every once and a while they have to get to you. I think it is okay to be sad about it, as long as you eventually pick yourself up and get back out there. :)

    Good luck!

  5. Keep a stiff upper lip, Charlie. I guess that's supposed to help. Somehow.

  6. Getting published really is a big game. You send in your query and there are so many factors involved (such as who reads it, what else they're looking at now, what things they think are trending, etc.). Getting a rejection letter doesn't mean that you aren't doing a good job. And your right to carry the rejection letters as badges of honor. When you do find success, it will taste that much sweeter.

    I was looking at these recently and since they're relevant I thought I'd share.

    Publishers who got it wrong:

    Famous authors' harshest rejection letters:

  7. My aunt is working on starting a publishing company with some of her coworkers that broke off from another one. I will give you their contact info once they get their stuff set up :) I believe in you! I understand when you have a creative urge that needs to come to fruition even if no one else sees it the way you do. It's a God-given drive that brings out our full potential :D

  8. I think we all feel this way at some point. Rejection, although part of this business, just sucks. Plain and simple. There are days when we can let it roll off our shoulders and others when we absorb every ounce of frustration. The important things to remember are, you're not the only one and you just have to keep moving forward. Big hugs to ya!

  9. I don't always deal with rejection well, but I'm definitely getting better at it. I think the hardest part is learning from it, b/c it's so easy to just say "I suck. I give up."

    Thanks for this post!

  10. I had a hard time with rejection (and with critiques, for that matter) early on, but I shrug it off most of the time these days. I have yet to query anything long yet, though, and I fully expect rejections on books to feel differently from rejections to stories. Indulge yourself for a while. I'm sending you a virtual hug. Keep on plugging!

  11. Or maybe you're pregnant. XD

    And don't forget, even if you do get published, there will inevitably be people who don't like your work who will leave nasty reviews for you or send you hate mail. Evangelical pastors will probably hold whole sermons on the evils of your book (saw this a lot in the South with Twilight and Harry Potter).

  12. I handle rejection letters by talking to other aspiring authors who are going through the same thing-- the empathy helps. And then telling myself that, to hell with it, I'm publishing it myself if no one else will:)

  13. You hang in there, Charlie. I believe in you. Good things are in store for you. I firmly believe that.

  14. I usually eat fried chicken and jalapeno cheetos. Yes I'm aware that is insane. You can do it Charlie! You are amazing! Keep trying!


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