I got a rejection letter from a literary agent yesterday. She was very nice about it. Here, I’ll show you:
“There’s some good, smooth prose in these pages – in fact, the quality of writing is better than most of the material that crosses my desk. I was also impressed with your credentials, and it’s clear that you’ll be offering some very solid advice throughout. It’s with regret, though, that I must admit that I’ve got reservations about my ability to place the project… (here she describes her experience briefly) …What with my recent experience, I suspect I wouldn’t be the best advocate for your project. In spite of the book’s strengths, I’d better bow out. Eilat, thanks so much for contacting me, and for giving me this opportunity. It is much appreciated, and I’m sorry to be passing. I hope another agent will have a better idea on how to see it successfully to market! Thanks again, and all the very best of luck on your road to publication.”
It’s hard to really feel rejected with such a nice rejection but still, the answer was no. Again. This getting a book published is quite a thing!
- My sister tells me I’m strengthening my ‘Trying very Hard and Not Getting Anywhere’ muscle.
- My friend Melanie wrote this, “This work is good! And Valuable! And MUST be published! Don’t you DARE give up!!!!!!!!! I look forward to following your blog in the interim!”
- And my mother wrote, “Melanie has taken the words right out of my mouth. We shall find out eventually why this agent’s refusal was the best thing ever.”
Life is much easier with cheerleaders like these.
I watched a reality TV show some years back where they were auditioning people to put together a pop group. It was amazing to watch the process and I learned something potent about rejection. You see? There is some merit to reality TV. It’s educational! Ok so what was happening is that when it got down to the last tier of contestants, the selection process took on a new energy. Up till then it had been about sifting out the best voices – and damn some of those people were SO talented. And so many of them too – all those great voices. But now that we were in a place where everyone could sing well, they started to sift out the ones who could not only sing but also dance, harmonize and work together in a group. And then once they had dropped a ton of people who were really gifted, they dropped a last few truly outstanding folk because they needed a group of personalities and voices that would gel well. So some favorites got dropped, there were two women with gorgeous rich, deeper voices and one of them had to go… Whew it was gruelling!
So what did I learn? Those people that were rejected for the group were not being told anything was wrong with them. I could see there was nothing wrong with them. In fact some of them were outstanding, amazing and inspiring. But they didn’t fit what the producers were looking for. That path wasn’t for them and getting the rejection stung badly but they had to seek a different path. Not that one.
When I get a ‘no’ or bump up against a closed door of some kind I call it a ‘Re-direct’. “Nope, not this way” says my life to me. And I need to stop, rub my throbbing nose, and re-examine my situation: What am I being told here? Is there something I need to see about myself and my path? Do I need to learn something? What is my real motivation to do this? Am I feeling driven by my ego or something deeper? Do I really need to go down this path or is it ok if I don’t? How will it affect me and my life if I don’t get to go there? Can I handle it if I can’t get it? If it hurts, then why? What do I need to heal? Is there another way to do this? What is my highest truth here?
My flexibility varies about going to that place of ‘not that path’. Usually when there’s something painful trying to get my attention I fight it more. Those times I forget to question and loll about for a while in the “Waaaaah poor me, whyyyy don’t they want me?” Other times I’m more easily open to the lessons I’m being shown.
So rejection is potentially a great teacher. It’s been very character-building to get all these ‘no’s’. I’m getting fitter – like my sister says. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve definitely healed some old hurts I was carrying. It totally sucks! Can I carry on in the face of all these no’s? That’s my next question.
How is this about parenting? More in part 2…
Don’t give up! Rejection builds character and makes you stronger. But, I do agree with you that the rejection would have perhaps been more digestible if it wasn’t so gracious! Keep fighting the good fight!
Its so cool to get support from people as you forge on in the world! Thanks for this. I guess we all know a thing or two about rejection – from one side of it or another.
I have just read ALL of your blogs and I want to tell you how proud I am of you. Or how proud of you I am, whichever is the correct way of saying that! Who’d have thought anyone could sugar-coat the bitter pill of rejection? But you seem to manage this in such an open and honest way. I love your writing. And I loved that rejection letter from the literary agent who said she doubted her ability to place the project. There! It’s not about YOU at all – it’s about literary agents who must hone their skills at placing your project 😉 Strength to your “pen”! xxx
Wow, what a lovely vote of confidence to get! Thank you Gary. And about that rejection letter, I hadn’t even considered that it wasn’t about me in the way you seem to mean it’s not about me. I thought of it in other ways but I like your way very much! Anyway, the truth is, as my new post says, all of this is such a ferociously enriching growth journey for me that what’s another rejection letter? I AM GROWING! And my pen thanks you too.