I touched on rejection anxiety a little bit in my post Behind “The Process”: Don’t Be Shy. But that was more of a don’t-be-afraid-to-let-the-world-know-you’re-a-writer kind of thing.
If you’re past the initial anxiety of just anyone seeing your stuff, then hopefully you’ve received some useful feedback and made yourself a better writer.
It took me too long to get over my anxiety about whether someone would like my writing or not. Not everyone will love it, not everyone will hate it. That’s as simple as it gets. Really, getting over the fear of rejection is–besides having talent, of course–possibly the most important things for a writer. Don’t believe me? Why, you obnoxious little…
“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement”
—C. S. Lewis
“If you’re not failing now and again. . . you’re not doing anything”
See? Failure is the precursor to success.
Where is all this coming from?
So here’s the deal: I’ve been sending queries to literary agents. Two rounds so far. The first round, I only got one response.
The others didn’t bother to respond, which doesn’t bother me personally. What it told me was that my pitch wasn’t working. I did more research into writing query letters. Tried to loosen up and be myself a little. I sent out a second round of queries.
A no. Very curt, too. “Thanks for the look. This is not for me.” I’m into the whole brevity thing, so that was fine.
Then another no. And another, but with encouraging words. And another, again very positive and encouraging.
The other day I spoke to a writer friend on the phone. She’s been writing a lot longer than I have. When she asked where I was with the book, I told her, “I’m going through the process of getting rejected by literary agents.”
“Good,” she said. “That mean’s you’re out there trying.”
When she first said it, I was like, Good? How the…what part of that is good?!?!? But, I learned to listen to people with more experience than me. (I didn’t learn that as young as I would’ve liked, but that’s life, eh?) I realized pretty quickly that she was right.
Now, strange as it sounds, the rejection I once feared–I crave. I can’t wait for the next agent to hit me back. As much as I’d love to hear, This book is amazing and I want to represent it!, I’m excited just to get responses. Eventually, if I keep at it, I’ll find a good match. (I hope.)
In the meantime, I’m working on some stories, which I’ll share as they become ready for the light of day; getting occasional reader feedback on Switchers, my badass, earth-based, fast-paced sci-fi novel that is looking for a home; and once I hear back from the last agent–or they max out on their response time–I’ll draft a new round of query letters. Rejection isn’t the end of the ride, it’s the beginning.
Thanks for reading!