I’m a writer; rejection comes with the territory. I’d like to say that each rejection gets easier to take, but they don’t. In my mind, I am a better writer than I was when I began querying agents. So shouldn’t be ratio of requests and rejections be better? It’s not. Each rejection sends a urgent feeling of not-good-enough, like no matter how well I write, not matter how many novels I finish, no matter anything – I’ll never be good enough to be one of those “elite” writers. I’ll always be on the fringe of the industry and struggling to make it on the indie market.
There are so many people in the market that it’s next to impossible to stand out above the crowd. So what can I do but keep at it? If I quite, I’ll sure as the sun not get there. If I keep trying, I’ll always have a shot to rise above.
I track my submissions with index cards. I write down the date, agent, and agency. The open letters are in a pile, and when the email comes with the glorious news of rejection, I write a big RJ on the card and put it in the rejected pile. The rejected pile is a lot bigger than the open pile.
I held the rejection cards for Devil’s Blood, but I couldn’t let them go. I held them over my trashcan, but I couldn’t drop them in. Why? I don’t know. They are still sitting on my desk, on a shelve within view.Seeing that stack is depressing, a reminder of my failure, but it’s also a reminder to keep going.
Stephen King stuck all of his rejection letters on a nail on the wall. What do you do?