On Rejections

So, let’s talk about Rejections.

I wasn’t going to mention these quite so early on in this blog as I wanted to keep it on a more positive note for a while, but frankly this is a topic that’s quite a big thing in my life right now so I thought I just might as well get it all out of my system.

I have come to hate rejection letters and emails. I know, I know, aspiring writers are supposed to see each rejection as a step along the road to eventual publication. It’s in every writers guide you will ever read, every collection of tips and advice for getting published; unless you are ridiculously lucky, or already famous, the one certainty you have it that in your quest for publication you are going to see a whole heap of rejections. Not everybody is going to take a personal like to your book, and not all agents or publishers are going to be open to new authors, all of that.

And hey, when I started sending my manuscript out, the first couple of times I received rejections I was actually quite happy, because frankly as proud as I am of my work I never expected to get picked up straight away. I’m not that lucky. At least I was getting a response, a sign that I was on my way. All I had to do was keep sending out my manuscript and wait.

But the fact is that you can tell yourself all of the standard adages as many times as you want, but after a couple of months of steady rejection, it gets really depressing. All of the above advice is still true, but by now it’s lost all its novelty – if you’ll excuse the terrible and unintentional pun – and you simply see them as what they boil down to; a rejection, people telling you they did not like your work enough to think it worth publishing. Each one means one less opportunity, one less chance, one less person within the industry who might believe your work good enough to go through the time, money and effort of publishing.

And deep down inside you there is that little voice, reminding you of the fact that of all the people who try to make it as a writer, most of them are going to be disappointed. So many are simply just  not good enough to make a career of writing. And that little voice will always remind you that it’s always possible, if not likely, that this group of those who are just not good enough includes you.

It’s all very well reminding yourself that everyone has to go through this, or recounting the fact that someone like J.K. Rowling was turned down by 27 publishers before Harry Potter was picked up, but consider that I have a list of over 70 agents I’ve contacted or am in the process of contacting, and that doesn’t count cold sending to those publishing houses who will accept unsolicited submissions. As of writing this post I’m up to 10 rejections in 2 months, and as that number grows, 27 doesn’t seem that ridiculously large a number.

Remember, your manuscript is something you’ve created, something you’ve spent time and effort into making as good as you possibly can, and you’re looking to be trying to make this your full time career. In a way, this is make or break for you. These are the people who guard the gateway to getting published, who judge whether your effort was worth it.

I know there are many other things to think of, and ways to prepare for and accept the fact if your manuscript it not picked up, but that’s a different topic. I’m not saying that total rejection on this one manuscript will end my writing aspirations or destroy my hopes and dreams. Nor am I seeking out pity or sympathy for myself as a poor, struggling writer whom no one understands. It is simply that you have to remember that whatever the outcome, sometimes the process itself is hard on you.

You can prepare, and if it comes to it you can move on and accept, but while you’re in the middle of the whole process it’s just a series of little depressions.

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