Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Thrill of Rejection

A month ago, there were no literary agents who had ever heard of me or my writing. That changed earlier this month when I sent out about ten query letters in the form of emails. I really should have been more dilligent about sending queries, but it was a HUGE step for me to even send out the ones I have sent.

Of those ten queries, I've gotten back seven rejections. This is absolutely to be expected. In fact, I would be shocked out of my mind if someone had actually shown interest at this juncture. That's not to say that I think my writing isn't worthy of being published, but realistically, rejections are what I should expect. I am, after all, an unknown writer.

Still, there is that tiny glimmer of hope that comes when I check my email and see that I have a response. I have two separate email accounts: One that I use to send my queries to agents, and my old email account where I send and receive everything else. So when I check that very special email account, I automatically know whether or not I have a response from an agent as soon as I log in.

More often than not over the course of this past month, I've logged in to that email account only to find that no one has responded to my queries. These are the worst days--when nothing happens. Then come the times when I log in and am surprised to see that I actually have an email waiting for me. Then comes that beautiful, glorious feeling of anticipation. I click to enter my inbox. I see that the email is indeed from one of the agents I have queried.

And I hesitate. I hesitate because I want to savor the moment. This could be the email that changes my life. This could be the email of acceptance. This could be the email that launches me into the career I'm so desperately hoping to have. This could be the email that terrifies me the most, because it will mean that I have succeeded. And success can be a lot scarier than failure.

Something else could happen after I open that email. It could mean that there's another rejection, another slammed door in my face. I've prepared myself for those slammed doors, but that annoying glimmer of hope won't let me be completely realistic. So I hesitate.

But then, I know I must open that email. If I don't open it, I'll never know. So I open the email... far, I've only found rejections. Some have been a lot kinder than others (Alec Shane, assistant to Jodi Reamer, really knows how to let a girl down easy. I like him!) People have given me advice to try to self-publish and save myself this agony of getting rejected.

Well, first of all, I've only been at this a month. I'd feel like a whiny quitter if I gave up so easily, for that's what I would be. Quitting is for sissies and pansies and people who never get published. Second, fear of rejection is not a valid reason not to try. Why would I deny myself the pleasure of checking those emails, hoping against hope that the next email I receive will be the one I've been waiting for?

Even if it's another rejection, I have the opportunity to learn something. And I'm having a lot of fun in the process.

1 comment:

  1. Quitting IS for sissies! I love that you've mustered up the gumption to take the next step on this exciting journey!