I got yet another rejection today and I can’t say it made me feel super happy. It wasn’t as bad as the first, or the fourth, or the tenth, but it still had a bit of bite. It woke up the internal voice that reminded me I’m not marketable enough, not original enough, not good enough, not something enough.
But I then I remembered, it’s rare for anyone on the writer’s path to get accepted immediately or easily, and I dig into other writer’s journeys to give me inspiration.
Sherilynn Kenyon was denied access three times to a creative writing program because they wanted to save the spot for someone who actually had a future in publishing. She is currently a multi-multi international bestseller. In her keynote speech to the RWA in 2011 (which I attended), she said that, “Sometimes impossible only means you have to try harder.” For her whole really inspiring story see this http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/-rwa%20luncheon%20speech%20delivered.pdf
I have friends who have only gotten published after hundreds of rejections. What kept these people trying, when all common sense says that you obviously are not suited to being a writer?
My first answer is always faith, unshakable, rock solid faith in themselves and their story. But it even goes deeper than that. I think it also has to do with attitude.
Kresley Cole (another mega bestseller) gave this advice to new writers: “…if you’re set on publishing, then don’t dabble. Decide if you’re in or you’re out. Then do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. I had a “25” plan. At any given time, I would have my writing out in 25 myriad forms—either contests, critiques, agent queries, publisher queries, etc. I believe you have to jump in with both feet.”
Obviously, a rejection or two didn’t deter her. I think some of her methodology comes from the fact that she was an Olympian before becoming a writer. Half of being an athlete of that caliber is showing up and attitude. Practice, practice, practice until you master a technique. And I believe she applied that to her writing career.
I think it’s not a bad idea for other writers to embrace this style of submission. Just pound on the door with absolute confidence, because this is not an objective business, personal preference plays a part. The agent could have just bought a book just like yours, or only likes dark paranormal when your book is full of humor, or it just didn’t grab them. So for every rejection or pass isn’t the end, it’s a step forward in the process of finding the agent or editor who ‘gets’ your vision.
In 2015, I’m going to have the never-give-up-Olympian attitude about rejection. Impossible only means I have to work harder. For every pass takes me closer to the right agent and editor, the one who ‘gets’ me and my work, the one who will champion it to the world–and that I can feel happy about.