June 17, 2011

Writers: Rejection is a Good Thing

I'm closing in on the end of my fairy tale book. This draft, at least. I'm just itching to get it out into the world. With every book I write, it's hard not to think: "This could be the one."

"The one", of course, is the book that lands me an agent and a publisher and a check. I'd continue to write, even if I knew I'd never write "the one", but it's nice to have validation, you know? Besides, my stories need to be read. They need to be shared.


So I'm getting closer to finishing this book. This is Ivy's book. (She deserves it. She's been a great character and so entertaining. For me, at least.) And I've already built my agent list. A list of several agents that I think would be a good match for my book, my future books, my career, and me.

And I can't help but think about rejection. It's part of the biz. You query for the "yes", but you have to prepare for the "no" (and the "no thanks" and the "sorry" and the "this is a subjective business" and "I'm going to have to pass" and "this isn't quite right for me").

But rejection is good. Rejection means you're trying. I think of my rejection letters as battle scars, badges of honor. Every query I've sent is a little ping that I sent out into the world. And every rejection was a response. Not the response I was looking for, but it was a response.

And with every response I get, the closer I get to the one that's going to make me jump up and down, run and scream like a kid playing freeze tag, and then collapse on the floor with a smile on my face.

Because I may not be very good at math, but I know a bit about statistics. I was a psychology major and we're all about statistics.

Daryl Sedore did a guest post on the blog Write to Done on Why Rejection Letters Are Great and I completely agree. They're great.

He writes:
Years ago I worked as a door to door salesperson doing cold calls. We’d go knocking on doors all over the neighbourhood and eventually get in. Sometimes it took ten minutes, sometimes an hour. Once in a while it took all day. I learned quickly that it was just a matter of knocking on doors before I got in. What I mean is, the more doors I covered, the faster I got in a house to do a presentation and possibly make a sale. So I ran. That’s right, I ran from door to door. It kept me energized and fired up so when I finally got in, I was ready to present and sell. I outsold my team month after month. The rest of the salespeople got depressed when a door slammed in their face. Not me, I loved it, because I was one closer to the door that would welcome me in.

And he makes a great point later in the post:

[...]You miss out on 100% of all literary agents that you don’t query.
Of course, the quality of your book is what really counts. You can't just query 300 agents for the same book and expect the law of averages to work for you.

But still.

I'm writing the best book I can. And I can't wait for it to get rejected. Because that means it's that much closer to becoming "the one".

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