Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, June 6, 2011

Rejection Is Not Personal

It feels personal.

It's almost impossible not to take it personally. 

But it's not personal.

This is one of those posts where I'm blogging about something that everyone knows, but knowing it doesn't make it easier to behave accordingly. It's one thing to know it, it's another thing to live it.

We all know rejection is not really personal. It's not. How could it be, the people rejecting you don't even know you? Agents and editors and reviewers are just doing their jobs, why should we get so angry at them for not seeing what we see in our own work?

And yet knowing that only makes dealing with rejection just a little tiny, measly bit easier.

There is still so much vitriol out there on the Internet for so-called "legacy" publishers and agents and the traditional publishing industry, and let's be honest, a lot of that is ill will generated by all those queries and manuscripts that were rejected or went unanswered.

But look - I've been there! I received those rejections, I've felt those pains. It's perfectly normal to get mad. And that anger can lead to some great productivity. It makes you want to show the doubters and to keep getting better.

Just don't let that anger be permanent. Channel it into creating something positive instead of letting it fester into a perpetual sneer.

We all know this. So let's all try harder to put it into practice.

How do you channel your rejection frustration?






102 comments:

Danielle Spears said...

I tuck the rejection e-mail in a file and try to forget about it. I focus my attention on something else. It's difficult to do, but it's the only way I can get past it. I allow myself time to sulk, but not much time. I am like you in that it's just fuel to make me want to work harder.

RobynBradley said...

One word: chocolate.

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim said...

So far, I've only had my queries and first chapters rejected. It's easy for me to brush it off and say, "The book is still good, but those chapters need to be cut, or the query needs to be rewritten." The first time someone rejects my entire manuscript... I can't imagine how difficult that's going to be.

Loree Huebner said...

I let the sting of the rejection hang around for no more than a few hours or a day. I feel it and deal with it. Then I take a deep breath and move forward...never back.

Maybe some chocolate is involved like Robyn mentioned above.

I have saved every rejection letter. I do look for clues on what may have been problem...if offered some explaination, I try to learn from it.

Istvan Szabo, Ifj. said...

I'm capable to understand and accept professional rejections, but I can't accept and won't tolerate "if we won't respond within 6 month, it's a reject" policies. I also don't like when from the response I do know the agent never read the query, just sent a rejection letter, because it's fun. Unfortunately many agents are highly unprofessional.

Mr. D said...

Fortunately, I don't have to deal with rejection anymore. Just signed a contract last week!. Whoohoo!

Ted Fox said...

I used to tape printed-out copies of each rejection on the back of a door in our guest bedroom.

I'm sure visiting family/friends thought that was real normal.

Rachel McClellan said...

It's amazing how quick you get used to rejections, at least on query letters. Rejections on fulls still hurt, but when you're getting those that means your close!

Hektor Karl said...

Find a scapegoat on my fantasy baseball team and bench him for being bad luck.

Surprisingly, I no longer win my fantasy league crowns.

Jude said...

I always loved Dan Saffer's approach of filing rejection letters in a file folder labelled "Bastards."

Joanne Bischof said...

Rejection hurts. It stings and its just no fun. But over time has given me the opportunity to make my writing better and for that I'm grateful for the no's on writings that just wern't ready.

Leesa Freeman said...

I am looking for representation for my first novel and at first the rejection letters really knocked the wind out of my sails, but then I got kind of zen about it. My novel is my baby and for months I nurtured it, fed it, loved it, helped it to grow and now that it is done, it's time to send it out into the world and let it thrive. Let it live. Rejection letters are simply contractions, yeah they hurt for a moment but they are simply part of giving birth. So I breathe through them because one letter will be the big one, and that's when I'll push.

Rebecca Kiel said...

When my first round of rejections started coming in, I cried for about three minutes then hammered out a better query letter. When the next round of rejections came in, I bypassed crying and attacked my query letter again. After letting that letter sit for a week, I worked on it more. The next round brought nibbles and feedback from generous agents. I didn't get angry at the agents who said " it's not for us", I just went back to work. That struggle, resulted in a more effective query and eventual contact with agents.

Edward Drake said...

Rejection is one of the worst aspects of life, but is very much a part of life that we must overcome. It can be heartbreaking when something you have built and developed from scratch over months of hard work is simply rejected.

Don't be deterred though as this is just the viewpoint of one person and others may take a greater interest in your work.

The worst part is that in most cases you will not be given clear reasons why the work was rejected.
It is a necessary evil, but one that can be overcome. As I always do with bad news of that level, give myself a minute to indulge in the bitter feeling of failure and despair, then afterwards banish those thoughts and look to prove the doubters wrong by making that manuscript the best thing that has ever graced a page of A4. It is the only way I know how to take a positive out of something that offers no helpful advice on how to progress. As you said, make it the fuel to work harder.

Lexi said...

How did I cope with rejection? I self-published. Worked for me :o)

Trudy Zufelt said...

I've had enough rejections now that I don't have a response. It's more like a numbness. I think I'd be so shocked with a positive response that I wouldn't know how to reply.

Carrie Filetti said...

I pushed on. It was hard when I got those rejections but I believed in my story. I knew if one agent would just take the moment & read it, they'd love it. I also had a large support group (my carefully picked readers), when times came that I was going to give up, they wouldn't let me. They believed in my writing. I worked and reworked my query. I wrote another book. I never stopped writing. Because of that, I got better. In a few rejections some agents gave me hope with their encouragement and suggestions. Some I even asked where I failed them, some took the time & helped me along. I listened. It took me almost 5 years to find my agent, most give up in that time but if you want it to work, you can't give up. You have to believe and you have to work hard.

Carrie Filetti said...

Oh...& I forgot to add, Nathan rejected my story but he did encourage me. Now look, he's my friend. :)

Watcher55 said...

Oh huh, I know for certain that the agents and editors Google me everyday, and have agreed not to even answer queries (it's been two whole weeks (tomorrow)).

I use hyperbole, then I sing the "goat song"

"...ooops there goes another rubber tree..."

Anonymous said...

This is what I remember:

The Kite Runner was rejected 30 times.

Water for Elephants, 129.

It can't be personal, because those are some kick-ass books and collectively 159 agents said no.

Anonymous said...

I always found it easy to get through agent/publisher rejection...after enough time you understand it isn't personal. But it takes time.

The thing I have trouble getting over is the vitriol with book reviews. I even get upset for other authors. I wonder how some of these horrible people who write these reviewers get through life. It must really suck being them.

JES said...

I try to think of a rejection as the response of any other reader I don't know. The only difference is that I happen to know this stranger's name. But it'd be crazy to get bent out of shape because someone doesn't "get" the work: does anyone honestly expect every reader will respond with equal enthusiasm?

(If anything, narrowing the sample audience to "people who read all day" should reap an even higher rejection rate!)

Sierra McConnell said...

I haven't gotten that far, I have too much fun writing the books and I don't know if I'm mentally capable of accepting rejection yet, but when I do, I'll have to remember this:

These are the same people who published /those/ books.
These are the same people who rejected the books mentioned above and others.
These are the same people who published books that carry gems like I read last night. (The darkness in the room was so dark he dispelled the darkness to the corners by turning on a lightbulb.) Really? Really now?

So it can't carry that much weight to be rejected. It just means the right one hasn't come along yet.

Emily White said...

Luckily, I don't have to worry about that right now (just signed with a publishing company! Yay!), but when I was going through it, I'd read the rejection, then delete and move on. If I'd kept them, I would have read them over and over again and never gotten over it.

D.G. Hudson said...

No one likes rejection, but if it spurs us into action, we can benefit from it.

(BTW, didn't Elvis made a mint off the perpetual sneer, early in his career?)

It's not us, Nathan, it's our EGO that makes us take it personally. Rejection always brings out my stubborn nature (in a good way, I think).

Take time to let the sting of rejection abate, then read the info with an eye to improvement. What else can we do but prove all the naysayers wrong?

Chris Phillips said...

I have a literary agent voodoo doll. I start out by being really friendly to it, tell it why I decided to pitch to it, then I go into my brilliant pitch. When it doesn't answer I karate chop it in the face! Really helps get out some emotions.

Melanie said...

rejection sucks. period. it doesn't make me angry, it makes me sad. it hurts and it's hard not to take it personal because they are rejecting something that is a direct reflection of me and my hard work and something i've poured my heart and countless hours into. friends in the biz tell me to revenge query so i do, but the Rs have continued to trickle in. I've been told by people in the biz that i trust that i have a strong query letter and i've had 8 beta readers (some who are agented) who have told me i have a well written, unique story, but alas, no agent has yet to request a full. i've had two partials which have both been R'd with no feedback and all Rs have been form so it's hard to know what is wrong or not working. that to me is the most frustrating part, not knowing why it's being rejected. Some say it could be the genre and it seems that a lot of this biz has to do with timing and what agents/editors/publishers are interested in ATM.

So, to deal with the frustration, i'm revenge writing and pouring my heart and time into another story and hoping that maybe my next novel will be "the one."

Sean Thomas Fisher said...

I channel my rejection into crafting homemade attraction spells. And I'm proud to say, so far - not so good.

Anonymous said...

rejections in and of themselves may not be personal but let's face it, sometimes the attitude of the agent making the rejection, as reflected in their unkind phrasing and lack of attention to the actual work, makes it hard to remain detached.

Zeta said...

I do two things: 1) Write FOAD (F' Off And Die) across the rejection in massive crimson letters and post it on the back of a door, which takes care of my petty need to say "Bah, you don't bother me -- I exile you to the back of a door!" 2) After the mandatory 24-hour cooling-off period used for both rejections and editorial suggestions, I analyse the letter to see what I could do differently next time, which takes care of the real business.

David Gaughran said...

I think short story writers have it easier here than novelists, for a number of reasons.

#1 Top, best-selling short story writers get rejected all the time. The editor rarely looks at the name, he only judges the story in front of him. Nothing else really comes into it. Even the guys at the top of their game get rejected all the time. Short story writers know this, and take comfort in it.

#2 We don't get as attached to one work. If you are pumping out a story every week or month, you often send it off and forget about it while you are working on the next. Rejection or acceptance comes as a surprise, because you have half-forgotten about it.

#3 Because of #1 & #2 we realise that it's the story getting rejected, not the writer. This makes rejection a lot easier to handle, because it takes the personal out of it. Instead you think maybe the story needs work, or maybe I sent it to the wrong editor. You don't think, "oh man I can't write, what am I doing!"

I think for a novelist, especially if you are not a fast writer, and you are only producing a novel every year or two, it's easy to slip into the mindset that one rejection is a rejection of you, because you have so much invested in that one work. But they could learn a lot from short story writers.

Mo said...

I can handle rejections when I'm also getting acceptances. But when all I get are rejections, it gets much, much harder. Yes, it does seem personal, because we identify so well with what we write and think and say. It's as personal as a slap in the face. But we have to realize that just as not everyone we meet in real life likes us, not everyone who reads our stuff gets us. So it IS personal, and if they don't encourage us to send more, then we have to move on from there.

Cynthia Lee said...

I take a deep breath and remind myself that I have neither the time nor the energy to be angry.

It works, mostly.

Jenny Phresh said...

Thanks for the reminder!
I fixed rejection's little red wagon by writing this:
http://thepartypony.blogspot.com/2011/03/rejection-hurts-now-theres.html

abc said...

Congratulations, Mr. D!

Rejection makes me cry for about an hour and then I move on with my life. Although I'm a little bit more fragile, for sure.

I know it isn't personal, but it is painful.

tamarapaulin said...

You know what phrase I hate the most? "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."

My second-most-hated phrase is "It's not personal."

I disagree. Rejection is personal. Telling someone it *isn't* is like cheering them up by saying other people have it worse.

Let's create some new mantras!

- Rejection, much like other noxious substances, can be used as fuel.
- Rejection ... rearrange the letters and find "encore" and "rejoice" and "entice".

Mr. D said...

Thank you abc, you're the first, (and only one so far,) who has congratulated me. And that includes my wife, who even now wishes I never got the writing bug! (I'll shout a few expletives for you!) Look for THE VASE in about a year from COGITO.

J.O Jones said...

i got so many rejections that at a certain point i took it as a sign that i was actually getting somewhere.

J.O Jones said...

i got so many rejections that at a certain point i took it as a sign that i was actually getting somewhere.

Barbara Watson said...

So far, I'm safe. I've never queried. But the day is coming - both querying and rejection. Believing in what I write and improving what I write after rejection will be key. Knowing it happens to everyone makes the burn less too, I imagine.

Lisa Yarde said...

When I first started querying, each rejection hurt. One made me laugh out loud because I couldn't believe an agent actually wrote about their personal prejudices and signed it. Later, I learned to accept them as part of the querying process. Not everyone will love your work. You just have to find one of the few that do.

AR said...

I'm inexperienced: I just got my first rejection and loved it. It had usable information in it and I pasted it into a file. If I compile enough such information I'll know what to do to make my work salable. That's progress, and I think if you are serious, progress is all you require of yourself.

Also, why do we have to see it as rejection at all? Isn't that self-victimization? I try to see it as incomplete success. Or if that sounds like double talk, pardner, then let's say I see it as a step on the road from Never Done Nothin' to Been There Wrote That.

But who knows, maybe I will feel differently in a year.

This week I started work on three new projects and identified specific retooling goals for seven others. So that's what I do with that. :)

Oh by the way - it must be terribly frustrating having only one publishing goal. Then everything really would seem to hang on each query. I'm trying to pursue blogging success, traditional and self-publishing success, and magazine/journal success at the same time. So I'm a little less focused, but at the same time there's just not much room in here for despair. Good luck to everyone.

Matthew MacNish said...

Umm, by starting a blog that changed my life. That's sounds like some kind of self-help nonsense, but it's actually true.

Also: alcohol.

Andrew Leon said...

I also disagree, looks like I'm only the 2nd one so far. Rejection is personal. Saying it isn't is like the assassin showing up to kill you and saying, "It's not personal. It's just business." Just because the agent/editor/publisher has nothing against you, specifically, as an individual does not make it personal. And, if you don't take it as something personal, you can't use it. If it's not personal, there is no motivation to go on. To get past it. "It's not personal" is not something that's said to make the person being rejected feel better; it's something that the person doing the rejecting says to make himself/herself feel better. "It's not you; it's me."

D.G. Hudson said...

Mr. D, I'll add my congratulations to you and anyone else who has signed on recently with an agent.

Good going! (didn't your sons congratulate you?) Remind us when your book is about to come out, like Nathan did. This is a supportive group.

BP said...

Haha, would I be counted as totally weird if I store my rejections away like victory badges??? I do this in light of now wildly-successful authors who can count the exact number of (many) rejections they received. I dunno. It makes victory all the sweeter. AND when I'm not in the mood to act all cynical and "haha it was a winner, told you so"-like, I just stash them away, like: whatevs. It happens to the best!

Mr. D said...

Thank you, too, D.G. (Just for the record, COGITO MEDIA GROUP is a Canadian publisher, and their subsidiary is TRANSIT PUBLISHING.) I am very thrilled to become one of their authors, because they've already published several best sellers.

And really, D.G. you're graciousness (and support) is very much appreciated. The next time I watch DUNE, I'll think of you!

Terri Tiffany said...

By writing something new:)

Sheila Cull said...

It makes me work harder too.

Nicole said...

I put the rejection somewhere else (email folder or physical folder) so I don't have to look at it anymore.

Usually I just think, "Oh well" and keep on chugging. It takes a bunch of them before I finally crack. Then I just cry, get bummed for a day or hour or whatever, and the next day wake up fresh and keep going.

C.Smith said...

I've never been rejected, which might make me the odd one out in the pile, because I've never submitted my work to a publisher or agent.

I have been prepping myself for rejection for the past couple of years, though. It all comes down to the mindset you have. Rejection sucks. But wouldn't you rather want an agent that will represent your book WELL and who will love your characters as much as you do? You'd want someone who believes in the story as much as you do, someone who sees that something special that your MS has and finds it worthwhile. Not everyone is going to like what you have to put out, and not everyone is going to 'get' it. If you keep getting rejection letters, it's not necessarily because your story isn't profitable but because you haven't found The Rep. Or that's how I'm planning on looking at it.

Anonymous said...

In my world it's the rejectionist being rejected!

Melissa said...

I haven’t queried agents that much – in fact I’ve stopped, as my direction has changed entirely (and no, I’m not self-publishing) – but my thoughts are that getting angry/upset about a rejection is sort of like getting bent out of shape because you didn’t win the lotto. From a very objective standpoint, agents are looking for high-concept books that will sell a LOT. If you have a quiet book or a book that appeals only to a certain segment of the market, you’re at a disadvantage. The feedback that I got from my partials was extremely positive, but the main problem that agents seemed to have was that there isn’t a big enough market for it. Believe it or not, I consider this a compliment. ☺

Marsha Sigman said...

I bought one of those little lap dogs and carry it around in a big purse so when I get a rejection letter I have something to kick.

Ok, I'm lying but I didn't have anything good to say except...I don't give up. Resistance just make me work harder.

Stephsco said...

I'm looking forward to my first rejection - really! I'll consider it a badge of honor in defeating the slush pile. Then, I'll probably get depressed as more of them come in. I'll look to this column for advice :)

Fred said...

I've been reading encyclopedias of vitriol toward agents and traditional publishers over on Kindle Boards by the self-pub people who've been snubbed repeatedly. I'd suggest to channel the pain and anger that comes from rejection into improving one's writing, but I'm scared they'll hurt me.

That said, I think it's great that the people who've been rejected have a place to go to display their efforts. Maybe they won't make a whole lot, but at least their years of effort won't be trunked and never see the light of day. As long as customers can return the product for their money back, it seems like a win-win.

Lissa said...

I got my first two rejections today, and I'm not taking it personally at all. I already knew my debut novel might not get picked by an agent, because it's not a traditional "One day a normal person meets someone extraordinary and their life changes forever and they have a few conflicts and massive climax" type book. I'm still very attached to it, but I've already made my peace that I will either get a lot of rejections before I find an agent, or I won't find an agent at all and self-publish. I'm cool with that.

Bron said...

I've found the whole process highly impersonal so far, and that's what's bugging me. I don't whether my query is rubbish, whether it's my pages or whether agents don't like the concept. Or maybe it's the whole kit and caboodle.

Sigh. It's always nice to hear about people's success though, gives the rest of us hope! Congratulations Mr D, and I second whoever said to come back and remind us about your book when it's coming out.

ARJules said...

Like Robyn, One word: Margarita.

Or rather 10 words:
Margarita. Margarita. Margarita. Margarita. Margarita. Margarita. Margarita. Margarita. Margarita. Margarita.

Then you feel no pain! Just call me Hemingway. But without his writing talent. HA!

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

I'm an actor. I've been taught that the correct though on receiving rejection is "Next!"
This works most of the time. Follow Buss Lightyear's advice http://thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/buzz-and-me.html

ElaineCharton said...

I allow myself 24 hours for a pity party and all the chocolate I need. I've been doing this long enough now that the pity party is sometimes only 12 hrs. :)
I file the rejection in a folder and put it in another room. Then it's on to bigger and better things.

Ray Anderson said...

I can handle rejection. What bugs me is the lack of communication. I read somewhere that the worst thing you can do to someone is to ignore him/her. I agree.

amber polo said...

I wonder if agents and publishers are cynical because so many not-ready ms are queried and submitted?
That said, the "if you've not heard in x weeks, we are not interested" is just un-businesslike.

Liz Alexander said...

What a timely topic, Nathan. The rejection I experienced this week was not from an agent or publisher, but a particularly unpleasant Amazon reviewer who awarded my ebook Birth Your Book my first-ever 1 star rating. Apparently, in her eyes at least, there was absolutely nothing to commend this work, although she hasn't yet taken me up on my offer of refunding the $2.99 :-)

We're all human and it took a while for my stomach to lurch back up from under the soles of my feet. Steven Pressfield's The War of Art just happened to be lying on the table so I flipped it open and read:

"The professional cannot allow the actions of others to define his reality. Tomorrow morning the critic will be gone, but the writer will still be there facing the blank page. Nothing matters but that he keep working."

Good advice, huh? So I went to my blog and posted what I hope will be an inspiring perspective on how to handle the nastiness that all too often permeates the web -- in blog posts and reviews. Every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. As writers -- at least "professionals," according to Pressfield -- we just get back in the saddle and continue on our journey.

brianw said...

The first couple of times you get rejected hurt, but if you take it the right way (my book, query, etc. need work) then it can help in the end. But it still sucks. Doesn't everyone want to be the person who gets a yes on query number one, gets a contract with a big publisher, and makes millions of dollars in the first year? Sigh.

It helps me to remember, 500 agents can say no, but you only need one person to say yes. It happened for me. It can happen for you too.

Mr. D said...

Thank you, Bron. Will do.

MJR said...

The new rejection seems to be silence. I sorta understand it because agents are overwhelmed by queries, but it feels strange, especially after receiving enthusiastic letters requesting a partial. I just plug on. Keeping lists helps, ie I say, "okay crossed that one off, time to query that one." Stiff upper lip and all that...

Bridget said...

My day job is in advertising so I "get" rejection. I take what I can from it and move on. And frankly, I see getting a response at all as a bonus as far as the publishing world is concerned.

However, I did just receive a rejection letter from an editor (conference attendee!) who took two years to respond. When it came in the mail I didn't even know who the h**l it was from it... had been that long. While it was nice to get her valid comments I didn't know what to really make of it. Surely most people's manuscripts change quite a bit in TWO years. What if it had already been picked up?

Weird.

wry wryter said...

Rocky Road Ice Cream.
It's flavor and texture are soothing, it's name says it all.
Yum.

Jan Cline said...

Im not as phased by rejection as I used to be. But I do keep handy all the positive notes Ive received to read when Im down.

It really isn't personal!
Jan Cline
www.jancline.net
www.inlandnwchristianwriters.com

Wendy S said...

Honestly, one of the best "it's not personal" exercises I've ever participated in was your "pick five queries" contest a few years back. It was so overwhelming to read that many queries and narrow it down to five. It wasn't personal - it came down to taste and commercial appeal and a thousand other little details.

Milo James Fowler said...

Here's an option I haven't tried -- yet. Turn your rejection letters into toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

How to you make the best of it when all they say is"
"Thanks for sending along the pages of your manuscript, The First. Truth be told, though, I'm afraid these pages just didn't draw me in as much as I had hoped. I'm pressed for time these days and, what with my reservations about the project, I suspect I wouldn't be the best fit. Thanks so much for contacting me and for giving me this opportunity. It's much appreciated, and I'm sorry to be passing. I wish you the very best of luck in your search for representation.

Best,

I know there is a way to deal with it, but I dont even know what she didn't like about it.

msantana182 said...

Well, there you go I left the title in the letter. I am having an idiot moment.

Rick Daley said...

Just keep writing...then move on to the next book / agent / publisher.

Kind of like Dori says in FINDING NEMO, but with writing instead of swimming.

WORD VERIFICATION: raffl. What the query / publishing process feels like sometime...you just need to have the lucky ticket.

J. T. Shea said...

Congratulations, Mr. D.! Chris Phillips, literary agent voodoo doll? Brilliant!

But of course rejection is personal! It's all part of the vast global conspiracy against J. T. Shea!

Oh wait...I haven't actually queried yet. But when I do, and they reject me, THEN it will all be part of the vast global conspiracy against J. T. Shea!

BTW, Nathan, who rejected JACOB WONDERBAR? And do they own racehorses with their heads intact? Just give me their initials and I'll take it from there. MMMWWWAAAHHHAAAHHHAAA!

Mira said...

First, congratulations to Mr.D. (yay!) and Emily White (yay, too!) for their publishing success. I wish them all the best for their future careers.

I agree that rejection is very difficult to cope with - very true Nathan. I don't really get angry about it, I either shrug it off if it really doesn't matter to me, or I get extremely depressed and dive into a terrible cycle of self-doubt for months or even years. I really don't handle rejection well at all. I cry. Ice cream is involved. It's not pretty.

On the other hand, I can't speak for other people, but I don't feel ill will against publishers for my three rejection letters. I actually agree with two of them, and the third one - from you, Nathan - I am very relieved it wasn't accepted. I wasn't ready to write that book yet, and it's really a good thing that you turned it down.

On the other hand, there are other extremely important reasons why I feel intense dislike of the publishing industry. And when I say intense, I mean virilant to the point of wanting to tear it down with my bare hands.

Not the people inside it. But the industry itself.

But the title of this post wasn't: tell me why you want to destroy the publishing industry with your bare hands, so I'll stop here.

Dealing with rejection, however, either from publishers or readers is a very valuable topic. It's one I wish I handled better, without all the depression, self-doubt and ice cream.

Roslyn Rice said...

Cold Stone Ice Cream and then a 2 mile run!

Alex said...

Hey thought I'd let everyone know we at Boxing With Pencils are having a weekly 100 words or less flash fiction contest with a cash prize of 5 dollars.

So come on and check it out all you poor ass writers you know you need the money!

http://boxingwithpencils.com/5-dollah-make-you-holla/

Mira said...

Of course, before I destroyed it, I'd try to rehabilitate it. Reform it. Transform it.

That would work, too.

D. Michael Olive said...

I take it with a grain of salt...then I print out the agent's picture and pin it to a dart board for a day or so and massacre him/her.

Mr. D said...

Thank you, J.T. and thank you, Mira. I'm very taken by your kindness.

And...

...Congrats to you, Emily.

Bryce Daniels said...

When I get to that point, all I do is sit back, grab a drink, and remember my very first sales job. Door-to-door supplemental insurance policies.

I was naive and didn't know any better. The team leader would stand with us at one end of the street, point to the other end, and say, "Every house, and don't forget the Pizza Hut and the gas station. You knock on EVERY door and sell what you can."

Wanna talk rejection? I learned how to take "no" in a JIFFY. Plus, I got some neat scuff marks on my nose from doors slamming in my face.

But I learned something else that has proved invaluable not only in my writing, but in life. There's always the next house, the next day, the next reward.

The Red Angel said...

I tend to be a pretty sensitive person so when it comes to rejections it's hard for me to not take it too personally. They blow my self-esteem a bit and make me feel pretty blah for a while, but eventually I get over them. It helps to constantly tell myself that the one acceptance that is to come will ultimately be worth all the rejections from before. :)

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Marilyn Peake said...

Yeah, it’s not personal. What do I do? Seriously, there are so many options for writers out there right now, I turn to a variety of them, and fall in love with writing over and over again with each option I try. I took my indie-published books that seemed priced too high to sell in today’s market when my publishing contracts expired, and self-published them, and soon after received a movie offer. I turned down the movie offer for reasons I’m not at liberty to discuss, and am currently in discussion with the same company about a possible TV series to include some of my short stories on the SyFy channel. I’ve also been referred to an agent in Hollywood who reads manuscripts only by referral, and he’s left his door open to me to send him everything I write. He likes my writing, but only takes on projects he knows he can turn into movies. All of this makes me very, very happy.

As far as vitriol goes, that seems, sadly, to be a part of our culture right now. I’ve seen authors who have agents and who have been lucky enough to be published by the Big Six publishers mock self-published authors something terrible online. What’s up with that, anyway?

Buffy Andrews said...

I do shots. (Smiles)

Fred said...

@ anonymous

In your comment above, you state that the agent didn't indicate what she didn't like about what you submitted, but I contend that when she said "it didn't draw me in", that IS the reason. There's no way to expand on a statement like that. An agent can't tell you what it would take to make that story draw her in, because then she'd become the writer.

Luckily, "it didn't draw me in" is so subjective, that there may be another agent out there that will be drawn in.

Fred

Isabella Amaris said...

I enter into ice-cream and TV mode while denying I ever received a rejection. Then, I admit I was rejected and work furiously on my writing to make it better than ever so that such rejection will never happen again lol.

When I realise that's pretty impossible, I consider self-publishing, but self-publish only niche titles while hoping that the big stuff will find a zillion dollars traditional publishing deal at some point:)

Finally, I remind myself that I'm in a business, and that in business, even when it's personal, it's really not. What's personal is the individual taste and business acumen of the agent I'm querying/reader who's reviewing. What's personal is how much I want my writing to be published and loved. What isn't personal is that a stranger's literary taste and my writing style may not be on the same page at all for a million different reasons, most of which are out of anyone's control:)

Onward!

K.L. Brady said...

Voodoo dolls and grey goose.

(by the way, my 10 year old son picked Jacob Wonderbar over Making of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie book for his literary treat this weekend. Major score!)

Beth said...

Rejection may not be personal, but my reaction to it is. The intimacy (as Fr. Scott Seethaler says, intimacy is "in to me see") of writing is what makes it so. To me, the editor/agent rejected my heart on paper. That hurts. How do I deal with it?
1. Cry
2. Vent
3. Recharge
4. Write Something New
More on my blog this week!

http://betharnstein.wordpress.com/

Richard said...

Writing contest.....My blog Amish Stories is having its first ever contest this week. The First prize winner will win 2 tickets to tour the farm where the 1985 move "Witness" staring Harrison Ford and Kelly Mcgillis was made in Strasburg,Pa . This farm is now Amish owned, and the family has given permission for folks to tour their farm. This may be the last time anyone will be able to walk and see the same things that Harrison Ford and the other actors saw during the making of "Witness". The Witness tour should last about 2.5 hours. In addition to the Witness farm tour tickets, 1st prize winner will also receive 2 tickets for Jacobs choice. There will also be a 2nd place prize, which will be 2 tickets for the Amish Homestead. Please go to My blog www.AmishStorys.com for contest details, and more information on the prizes. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon county.

lora96 said...

I wallow.

I didn't say it was a good or healthy coping strategy. But it's the truth.

Perspective? Determination? Confidence? Nah.

THIS IS THE END said...

If you need a publisher or an agent to be content with writing, then you are 100% in the wrong hobby/industry.

I feel like everyone has to agree to those terms when they start. But it still sucks being reminded of them.

Mira said...

Marilyn, that's very exciting news! Congratulations! :)

Simon Haynes said...

The current publisher for my Hal Spacejock novels just rejected the new junior science fiction series I've been working on. They said it needs to go to a bigger publisher.
Rejection is rejection, but I've dug around for the positives and the words 'career reboot' come to mind.
Now to find a bigger publisher willing to put out a new childrens' SF series in the current economic climate. (I always think they should put out more books when the economy is tanking. Cheap entertainment ...)

Nancy Lauzon said...

I think of 2 things. 1) That many great authors have also been rejected, i.e. Stephen King and 2) that when a door closes, another one opens somewhere.

Then I eat candy.

Nancy
http://nancylauzon.blogspot.com
The Chick Dick Blog

Isabella Amaris said...

You know, I was just thinking... could the very personal reaction to rejection that most writers have (including me) be because we're artists, with the corresponding psychological traits that artists seem to have?

I mean, yes, writers might also be logical and objective and all that jazz, but could they be feeling that extra-powerful punch to the gut when rejected because creative personalities in general tend to swing towards depression rather than joy?

Don't really have data to support that as such, but I have observed depression coming up in the biographies of great writers and artists, and see it everyday in friends who are similarly creative. For those of us wired that way, it's probably not gonna be possible to detach ourselves from the supposedly impersonal circumstances of rejection when our psychological make-up predisposes us to depression and anxiety.

Just wondering... Oh, and sorry if this was already mentioned in the previous posts and I missed it:)

Isabella Amaris said...

oops previous 'comments', I meant to say, not previous 'posts'... sheesh...

Patricia J. Esposito said...

I've found it helps to have yet another market or publisher in mind as I'm submitting to the first. If I get a rejection, I know that I already had an idea for the next attempt. And I don't hold onto it too long. It's best to get things right out again.

(Of course, at a certain point, or if I get feedback with ideas for change, I'll consider revisions ... but for me, it's key to keep moving forward.)

Dave Clark said...

Every rejection should prompt you to say, "I'll show them," then make you revise the query and attack your manuscript with new eyes. I've been querying for a few years, and I'm amazed at how much better my queries and manuscript are, even from just a few months back. Although I'm a published nonfiction author who went through that whole process and did the author appearance thing, this idea of getting an agent is new to me, so don't think the process puts you down just because you're starting out. I was published due to a single sentence in a new Yorker article, which was luck. I can't do anything about luck or my lack of it, but I can definitely do something about my professionalism and dogged effort, or lack of that.

Emily Strempler said...

I know with short fiction and poetry, only the first nine or ten bothered me. After that I started answering my mail with the knowledge in the back of my head that any news was probably a rejection. It made me so much happier when I finally got something published, because I didn't have a sense of entitlement about it anymore.

Sharma said...

I cast my ejections letters to the side and turn up my creative jucies. I must say, I have received several constructive rejection letters. I have also received a few good critiques. In the same breath, is written, "sorry, but we are not excepting this genre at this time." I get excited hoping they are telling me the truth, and not telling me all of what I want to hear.

My grandson encourages me. He says, "Grammy,eventually, you will be acknowledged. Nowdays, you have to know someone to become some one. It's all in know you know."

I have fine-tuned my novels, original and sequel, and as of today, I am surfing agents in the UK.

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