I don’t handle rejection well. I mean, honestly, who does? It’s not like anyone out there really enjoys being told that whatever they’re trying to share with the world isn’t good enough. But I really, really don’t handle it well. To the point that I get nervous and start to sweat when it’s time to call my eye doctor to order more contacts. Doesn’t really make sense, but I do it just the same. I’ve never really handled it well. I ended up giving up on my dreams of being a musician because anytime I played solo, I was afraid that people wouldn’t like it. That they would reject my abilities because I wasn’t good enough.
For someone who hates rejection as strongly as I do, I sure picked the wrong line of work. Being a writer is all about rejection. Even if you’re a good writer, there’s a chance that you’re going to suffer dozens of rejections before finding someone who is willing to give your work a chance. But I love writing so much that I allow it to overpower my fear.
I recently finished writing, rewriting and editing a novel. After having a few beta readers run through it and give me opinions (strangely I wasn’t concerned about rejection during this time) I decided that it was time to step up my game. So I wrote a brief query letter to an agent who sounded like the perfect fit for my manuscript. I sent it out, and I waited. Within 36 hours I had a reply sitting in my inbox. Now anytime you see an email like that, your heart starts to race, your mouth goes dry and you cease to think logically. I had my first response.
Imagine my surprise when the preview of the email read, “Thank you so much for your query. We’d like to . . .” And then it cut off. For one brief but glorious moment I allowed myself to believe that the rest of the sentence read, “offer to represent your novel, and we already have a signed six figure book deal.” Okay. So I didn’t go quite that overboard. But I’d be lying if I didn’t at least briefly think that it might have ended, “read your manuscript.” Hand shaking, I opened the email. My not-so-mighty ego deflated slightly at the sight of the words, “We’d like to apologize for this form rejection letter.” Ouch baby! Very ouch. Way to get a girl’s hopes up.
But you know what? It’s okay. I’ve been here before, and I’m sure that I’ll be here again. It may take me dozens of emails before I find someone that will work with me. But I have faith that it will happen. For once, I’m not that afraid of rejection, because I’ve learned that it’s just another part of the process.