So another rejection letter this week. Whilst my second novel nears completion (ETA Christmas time) I am still touting the first one round various literary agents.
I’ll put my hands up and say I am being very slapdash and slack about it. I finished the bloody thing two years ago but it’s only been this year that I’ve made a real effort to get it “out there”... and so far I’ve only sent it to 5 agencies. That’s not exactly a full-on production line, is it?
So. Four rejections so far and one coal still in the fire. Of the four I’ve heard back from three were standard and one was very complimentary. I’m not particularly pinning any hopes on the fifth; I think success at this relatively early stage would be too easy. It’s going to be a hard slog and I know it.
What amazes me is I don’t feel particularly down-heartened by the rejections. I mean, I don’t feel great. My self esteem takes a knock. But it’s a small knock. It bothers me for all of two minutes and then it’s forgotten about.
Maybe I’m just hard-headed? Arrogant? Deluded? All of the above?
I suspect though my time writing and submitting poetry all through my late teens and my twenties hardened me up to the “thank you but no thank you” missive. I used to bundle thirty or forty of my poems out at a time and launch then relentlessly (and vaingloriously) at various magazine editors and anthology publishers. Most came back besmirched with the weight of a “no thank you”. About ninety percent in fact. Some did get published, I have to say. About forty – but that was over a period of a ten years. I hardly set the world alight.
But it did vaccinate me against the disease of ‘the rejection blues’.
My poetry rejections were like cow pox. They have protected me against the dreaded small pox of the novel rejection. It doesn’t touch me like it should and I have milkmaid’s hands to boot.
I also try and bear in mind a wonderful piece of advice that one of my rejectees once gave me: “an editor / publisher does not reject; they merely select”.
Reflecting on that has assisted me through many a blue hour.
Now I just shrug my shoulders and go back to my writer’s year book...
...because at the end of the day I’m only up to the D’s and there’s plenty more fish in the sea.
Onwards and upwards.