Three Things to Remember About Rejection

Have I talked about rejection enough? No? Good, I'm glad you agree (geez, you'd think I was querying a novel or something).

So that first post had some practical tips on what to do once rejection hits. But my the problem is, in that moment you realize what you're reading is a rejection, you don't actually feel like doing any of those things. There's no easy way around this, much as I'd like to think there could be. It just fricking hurts.

But after having gone through it so many times, I find myself repeating some of the same things. Sometimes they even help.
  1. The pain will go away. No matter how many times I've been rejected, no matter how much it hurt or how strongly I believed I would never get over it, I always did. I'm pretty sure that means I always will.
  2. It's not you, it's them. Rejection doesn't mean you suck. (I mean, it could, but you can't know that from a single form letter, and certainly if it was a manuscript that was rejected, it means the agent/editor saw something they liked.) The only thing you can know from a rejection is that it wasn't right for them.
  3. It's the internet's fault. Turn it off. The rejection isn't the internet's fault, but sometimes it makes the pain last longer. All those happy people retweeting new book covers and happy things their agent did that day. I love these people, but right after I get rejected is not the time I want to celebrate with them.
Is there anything you tell yourself when you get a rejection? Seriously, I want tips!


Elizabeth Seckman said...

I remind myself that lots of talented people get rejected. Comforting to be in good company.

Heidi W said...

I tell myself it is all part of the author experience. Which doesn't really help me at all.

Joshua McCune said...

The biggest thing for me when I was getting rejected was the blow to self-confidence. I got partial/full requests for different projects, a couple of close bites on THE GOBLIN PRINCE, but I couldn't quite figure out whether I was any good or if I just had a decent concept and passable writing skills.

I still have doubt (I'm afraid it will never go away), but as Elizabeth stated, it helps to remind yourself that most every bestseller got rejected a time or a hundred. Then go drink something nice, eat something flavorful and/or hug your kids.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I actually psych myself up before the rejection. I see the email in my inbox. Before I open it, I chant, "It's a reject. No big deal, just file it away with the rest. What's for lunch?" Then I open it. When it's a request, I'm all happy dance. Otherwise, I've already moved past it. Logged and forgotten.

For nagging ones, I remind myself of all the positive things people have said about my writing, my stories, and my general reasonableness as a human being.

It helps a little. :)

Adam Heine said...

@Heidi: LOL. Ain't it the truth?

Keriann Greaney Martin said...

This is very helpful for when I get to the querying process. Everybody goes through this. I have yet to hear of anyone who got an agent offer on their first query for their first MS.

Lexi said...

I'm interested in why you guys aren't self-publishing.

It needn't stop you querying agents, if you're set on that. Meanwhile, you could be making money from your writing, and if you do well enough, agents may approach you. Win/win approach.

Adam Heine said...

@Keri: You're absolutely right. I hope you have better luck than I did my first time, but whatever happens, you know you're not alone :-)

Adam Heine said...

Lexi, that's a very fair question. For me, the main reasons I haven't self-published yet are:

1) I still believe I can make it traditionally.

2) Though I might be the exception, self-publishing is (statistically) a lot of work for not a lot of gain. (I saw on your blog, Lexi, that you sold 40,000 in a year, which is fantastic! I just don't think that's the norm).

3) The pursuit of traditional publishing has stretched my writing in ways I don't think self-publishing would have.

But that's very much just me. I can't speak for anyone else (though some of these commenters are already traditionally published). I'm certainly not down on self-publishing, it's just not the path I want yet.