No one likes rejection, right? But the other night, I got one of the nicest rejections ever. I’ve had a few of those along the way, and they always cheer me immeasurably.
The rejection in question was in response to a query for my novel, The Last Summer Queen. After apologizing for taking six months to get back to me, the agent wrote that they didn’t take novels like mine, but that after reading what I’d sent, she’d been tempted. And to please keep them in mind if I write another novel.
Now I had to question what reasoning allowed me to send a novel that didn’t fit, although that’s a longer discussion for another day. But yes, indeed, I have a novel in the pipeline that, judging by what she said, might work for her. If only I had time enough to write it now.
An encouraging rejection is not an acceptance, after all. But it is encouraging. And I was … encouraged.
As a technical writer, I didn’t worry about rejection. I worked for mid-sized agencies and companies and, for the most part, helped them grow through grants and business proposals. Rejections came only when the company I worked for decided to compete on the national level. Those rejections were less about my efforts and more about the company’s offerings.
My life in fiction started off differently. I began submitting short stories in early 2017 and was dismayed by the number of rejections I received. Experienced writers are probably laughing right this minute at my naivete.
My editor/coach/mentor, Anna Yeatts said to think in terms of wallpapering my office with rejections. So, okay, I was trusting her. But I didn’t really feel okay about rejection. I mean—who does?
In January 2019 I got this message on my Duotrope dashboard: “Congratulations: Your acceptance ratio is higher than the average for members who have submitted to the same markets.”
And that’s when it came to me. I was doing something wrong. For a high acceptance ratio—given the number of acceptances I’d had—I wasn’t getting my writing out there often enough. I needed more rejections. I needed to embrace them.
That’s my goal for 2019. With querying agents and getting stories, both old and new, to market, I expect a boatload of rejections. It means I’m ready for my voice to be heard.
Wish me luck.