Thursday, July 01, 2010

Does It Get Any Better?

I’m not sure if you can answer this, but I thought maybe some of your readers could. I’m just curious if you ever get past the rejection part of the query process.

I sent my first queries recently, and I have received four rejections so far. I know that’s not a lot (yet anyway), but those four have had an overwhelming negative effect on me. I’m really surprised it affected me so negative, because I read hundreds of post that informed me prior to sending the queries that the majority will be rejections.

My dilemma is this; I seem to have lost the joy to write anything. When I was writing my novel, I was divinely engrossed in doing so. I was so eager to see what was going to happen myself that I stayed up till 4am almost every morning writing (even though I had to wake up with my 2 year old and go to work). I continuously did research on writing, querying, etc. I loved it. After I sent my queries, I was excited every time I saw the light flashing on my blackberry. Then with each passing rejection, it felt like someone was twisting a knife in my gut a little more each time. Now, I literally hate opening my e-mail. I still have several more responses I’m waiting on, and I’m dreading them. It's like these rejections are pretty much a slap in the face. That I need to wake up and realize that I’ve never been any good. I feel like one of those singers on American Idol; you know the ones who sing ok, but still don’t make it to Hollywood. Because no matter how good they sound to themselves and their loved ones, to the world they just weren’t good enough to win.

So is this normal? Does every writer go through this when they are trying to get published? I just don’t understand why I literally can’t find the enthusiasm to write anything. I think I need the electronic form of Zoloft to bring me out of this writing depression. I would assume that electronic form would be an e-mail from an agent, in which they would tell me how much they loved my work. Something tells me though that FDA hasn’t approved that OTC yet, so until then, I’m in rejection hell.

I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. No one said this business was easy and I think that in publishing there is definitely something to the saying “only the strong survive.” You’re right. I don’t know if I can really give you the answer to this. As an agent I have seen my share of rejections and I have definitely had days, weeks, and months where I wondered if I would ever sell anything again, if all editors were laughing at me and my submissions, or if I was better suited to vacuum sales instead of book sales. That being said, the work I was submitting wasn’t a work of my heart. Sure I loved it, but I wasn’t the one who wrote it. There’s no doubt that there’s a distinct difference between what an agent feels when getting a rejection and what an author feels.

I hope that a lot of our readers, both published and unpublished, pipe in today to lend their advice and support. What I can tell you is hang in there. Try to find a way to separate yourself from the submission and find the joy in writing again. Rejection is inevitably a part of this business and you’ll experience it at all stages of your career. You’ll get rejected before you ever find an agent, you’ll get rejected again before you find a publisher, and almost every author gets rejected once again, in some way or another, after publication. What you need to remind yourself is that these rejection letters have absolutely nothing to do with you. Heck, they might not even have anything to do with your writing. Instead of thinking of these letters as letters of rejection, think of them as part of your journey to publication. Each rejection is one step closer to achieving your dream. Go on to your next book and find that joy in writing again. Focus on your writing, not on what others are saying.