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Monday, February 2, 2015

Kiss That Rejection Letter

You have mail, and you can't resist clicking that little icon. Your heart stops. You breathe out. It's from an agent--or it's from your agent, or a small press. This could be the one. But it's not. And you feel like sticking your head through your computer screen. I get it. This is #67 and that book is perfect. There is nothing more you could do to it. Right now. With your current skillset and point of view, there is nothing more you can do to it. In a year, you may feel differently. You probably will feel differently. Especially, if you spend the next twelve months writing other stuff, adding thousands of words of experince to your bank.
It's hard to see now. You've spent months or years of your life working on something. You've got up at four am after going to bed at midnight to finish this and no one appreciates your blood, sweat, and tears. But being allowed to--or even forced--to keep your baby isn't always a bad thing. When you traditionally publish something, you're basically putting that baby up for adoption. It's not yours to protect and provide for anynore, but it's still your creation. You want it to succeed and have no control over what happens outside of your home. Self publishing does allow you more control, but self publishing something before your read still splashes your name, the only thing a writer really has, across a subpar product for readers to remember.
So the next time you get a rejection letter, delete it. Don't make a decision about what to do with the project right away and breathe a sigh of relief. You're keeping your baby another day. Think carefully and critically about acceptance letters. What's in the contract? What kind of marketing and editorial support can the press offer? Baby needs a good home, because once it's placed, it's placed.

8 comments:

Elana Johnson said...

Sometimes email is a real curse. Ha!

Chrys Fey said...

I believe we get rejection letters for a reason. Maybe the story isn't ready. Maybe there's a better agent/publisher. Maybe the time isn't right.

I don't delete my rejections though. I actually put them in a folder in my email. When the book/story is accepted, then I delete them all. ;)

Huntress said...

I've just started the query process again, going down that uncertain road.

After hitting the send button on a collective 300 plus emails over the past five years, the word "query"—in every context—jumps out at me. Articles. In news columns, casual letters. Like a kid yelling BOO as I turn the corner.

David P. King said...

Querying is a major process, and deleting it (or letting it get buried) and moving on is a healthy way to go about it. Unless the rejection had some useful critiques, which are rare to get. :)

Kai Strand said...

Oh, that dreaded email. Will it be disheartening or thrilling? Clicking the open button ends all the anticipation.

Liz A. said...

It'll happen when the time is right. If that time is not right now, just wait...

Stephen Tremp said...

Great advice. Last year I made the mistake of releasing my book too early. I had a plan, but this and that happened and I should have held off. My baby was placed and after I realize I should have waited a couple more months it was too late.

Unicorn Bell said...

I've had this experience too, Stephen.