I’ve been accused (rightfully) of having unusual perspectives on things. I guess being relieved to have received my first agent rejection falls into that category.
How did receiving a rejection not scar me? Easy, I prepared myself for it. I believe in being prepared for things that you can prepare for. I don’t mean North-American-super-volcano-prepared. We’re all screwed if that thing goes off no matter how much rice and ammo we’ve squirreled away. And don’t get me started on robots. No, I mean the stuff that other people have already gone through and shared their knowledge on, which at this point is A LOT of stuff. Prom. Job interviews. A trip to a city you’ve never been. Illness. Reading Moby Dick. Running a marathon. Taking the SATs. Repairing a motorcycle. Baking a pie. Playing a guitar. Building a house. And yes, submitting a book to agents. Being prepared for the rejection helped me feel relief, not the need to curl up in the corner, when it came in.
The how is simple. I thoroughly researched sending submissions, and everything I read said that rejection would happen. Not it might happen. It. Would. Happen.
If you don’t know, far more submissions get sent than books that get representation. It’s just math. So, being a realist (which is kind of funny when you consider I’ve written a kids book about fairies), I simply accepted the reality that getting that first ‘No’ was going to happen. It’s just a formality, really. Just math.
That didn’t make the waiting easier, though. The waiting was the tough part. Isn’t it always? That’s the part I’m relieved is over.
I sent out five submissions, and then the idea of waiting made me ignore (or forget, or block-out, or an alien parasite ate that part of my memory, or a fairy cast a forget spell on me) the math. All the testimonials and submission guidelines on the agents’ web sites showed that responses could take anywhere from two weeks to sixth months. Still, I checked that inbox every hour. I knew nothing would be there, but REFRESH.
I said I’m a realist, not a patient realist.
Mercifully, the first ‘No’ came after only one week. Eight-thirty AM, August 25 2014, I opened my writing-dedicated inbox, and there it was. A personal, pleasant, professional ‘No’.
Now that that’s out of the way, now that I’ve lost my agent rejection virginity, I can move on. Getting that first ‘No’ doesn’t make me think my book is bad, or unpolished, or wrong for the time, etc., it means I can move past it. Can keep going. one less thing to REFRESH over.
And, as an added bonus, now I feel like a writer.
Thanks for reading.