Today I received my sixth rejection. Surprisingly, I was bolstered by its contents. The one sentence I fixated on was “I read your query with interest.” Interest. Now that’s something!
After I received my first rejection, I was surprised by how oddly encouraged I felt. It was a nice rejection letter. They didn’t say my story sucked. Fantastic.
The second letter, although not as nice, was also well-received.
By the third, my shoulders were starting to slump.
Number five was the killer though. It was short, sweet to the point. “Thanks for your query, but this isn’t right for our list.”
A couple days ago, I was able to sit with two of my Beta readers who buoyed my spirits. “Don’t start getting discouraged until you’ve received at least 100 rejections.” Or until December. Whichever comes first. It’s my amazing friends that shine a light on this darkening path. (You know who you are! And I love you!)
I recently stumbled upon a website called litrejections.com. Their slogan is “Rejection is an imperative test of one’s character.” Well said.
One writer faced rejection for five years before landing a deal. She’s had over $2 billion in sales. Only Shakespeare outranks her. It’s Agatha Christie.
J.K. Rowling received twelve rejections before the eight-year-old daughter of a Bloomsbury editor demanded to read the entire story.
One man faced years of rejection before his book was published. We now know him as C.S. Lewis.
The author of The Davinci Code was told that his work was “so badly written.” His book is the sixth most read book in the world.
It’s incredible that many of the books we hold dear, that have even shaped our childhood, faced rejection over and over again.
Today’s rejection was a reminder that even though something can be good, its potential is invisible until someone takes a gamble. And even if it feels hopeless, the point is to persevere.
However… Patience has never been one of my strengths. I’m willing to keep plying agents, but I’m considering momentarily jumping tracks. Here’s why. Finding someone to publish a YA urban fantasy with absolutely zero credentials is a lot like trying to build a rocket ship in your garage and hope it can fly to space. My story is 125,000 words. This exceeds a traditional word count by twenty-five thousand words. And that’s a LOT to cut. And that’s a LOT to invest in for an untried writer.
So maybe… maybe God is telling me to knock on other doors while the bells are still ringing behind me.
My three boys LOVE stories. And they love homespun tales that include grand feats achieved by none other than themselves. One night, while spinning my yarn, I unlocked an idea that was another seed to a story. And even in the middle of writing The Emerald of Viridian, I remember lying awake and forcing my brain to conjure the path that my new series would tread.
And I think I might… might see an open window along a row of closed doors. I’ve never written for children, and my true passion is YA, but this time, I feel like the letters I type are words I’m speaking directly to my boys. I can even see the reaction on their faces as I “pen” each scene. “Ooo, they’re gonna LOVE that!” “Oh yes! They’re gonna be so excited with this!”
Today I found myself completely engrossed in my tale, so excited that my hands were starting to shake (Although it probably had more to do with the double shot of espresso I was drinking.) So far, I’ve written about a fifth of it, although I have all the scenes sketched out.
In any case, I anticipate that this will be a shorter book that can be rapidly written. And if you have kids, especially boys, they could potentially love it.
I will keep ringing doorbells, but expect a knock on your door within the next several months! 😉