Rejection as a Rite of Passage
In a previous blog post, I shared some thoughts about giving traditional publishing a chance. I have already published two novels independently, and I feel like I should — at very least — learn about the other side and make an educated decision about which way to work.
So I did it. The learning curb is pretty steep, I'll admit. Since I shared that deliberation, I have:
— Researched how the process works and what needs to be done
— Written a more-or-less standard query letter, based on what seems to be general best practices.
— Prepared my manuscript (I am still not sure that I am doing this right!)
— Researched literary agents who are right for my genre and writing style, and who are open to receive email queries, which is — frankly — the easiest way to do it when you don't live in the US or the UK.
— Sent out the letters
— Began the long wait
Over the past 3 weeks, I have sent 15 queries, and here are the results so far:
— 3 email addresses were faulty and the queries were never received
— 3 rejections: two really friendly, and one a little cold
— 9 no responses: apart from maybe an automatic email
I am at the beginning of the road, and I am in no way discouraged. Even the 'no responses' are what they are. Most of the agencies indicate that it can take 6 weeks or more for a response to be sent, (if it is sent at all).
I would like to focus on the rejections, because in some inexplicable, masochistic way, I received these letters with a certain kind of excitement and joy. Firstly because there is that romantic, light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel story around rejection, particularly when (and if) it is followed by astronomical success. Who hasn't hear of the multiple rejections received by some of the modern-day leaders from Jack Ma, to Jeff Bezos to J. K Rowling. Rejection is the stuff that legends are made of...
Secondly, it is almost like a rite of passage, isn't it? It tells you that you have arrived in the right place, and you are undergoing what thousands have experienced before you, so you better toughen up, and develop a thick skin. After all, success is usually preceded by adversity:
— Child birth is brought on by labor
— Growth is preceded by growing pains
— Understanding is preceded by learning
— Accomplishment is preceded by hard knocks and failures
So, I am wearing my few rejections like medals of valor, and I would like to thank each of those agents sincerely who have set me on the path of growth. You too are now part of my story, whatever that may turn out to be.