A Celebration of Rejection


As I ran through my morning routine, I thought through three possible ideas for today’s blog. I decided on a topic, but then checked my email to see if there might be fodder waiting there. There was–my first rejection lettter. Booooo! I mean–Yay!  

 
 
Dear Mr. Hargis:
 
Thank you very much for your query, which we have read with interest. Unfortunately, the project does not seem right for this agency, and we are sorry that we cannot offer to serve as your literary agent.
 
We also apologize for the form rejection.The sheer number of queries we receive prevents personalization in order for us to respond in a timely fashion.
 
We wish you all the best in finding more suitable representation, encourage you to query widely, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your work.
 
Sincerely,
The Stringer Literary Agency LLC
 
 
In 2000, I sent out appoximately 75 article and poetry queries which resulted in 5 paying acceptances. That’s a success ratio of 1:15. I have queried nine agents at this point. In my little self-coded system of stars & highlights denoting the “fit” of each agency for my novel, this one only received one star–uncircled. So, I am not disappointed. In fact, I am celebrating. 
 
Rejection letters only come if the groundwork of submission has been completed. Rejection letters are the proof that there is actually someone at the other end. The submission process is complicated–each agent or publisher requires a different set of information. The queries have to be catered to the specific recipient and it can take up to six months to receive a response. So, it’s nice to know that all that effort isn’t just evaporating into cyberspace.
 
There are still eight queries out there, and one of them is with an agent who received five stars–circled, underlined and highlighted. My goal is to get six more queries out this week so I can hit that magic number fifteen. It’s been good to me in the past. Perhaps, some morning a few weeks from now, I’ll be chewing on ideas while making coffee and decide to check my email first. Maybe there will be another cut-and-paste email for me to drop into a post–an Acceptance letter.
 
When that happens, I’m hoping it will be from the five-star agent. But, if I can celebrate a rejection from a one-star, I am sure I will be able to find it within me to celebrate any acceptance–even if the star isn’t circled. 
 
What a crock. Writers always say stuff like: “Well at least I heard something back.” OR “It was a rejction, but there was a personalized line from the agent in it.” Like that really makes the sting any more comfortable. Rejection sucks–whatever its shape or form. It makes me feel inferior, less than, and sometimes angry as hell. I probably should insert some silver lining here. You know, be happy and shit. I refuse. Not in the Invisible Ink. What I honestly, plainly want to say is: Rejection Sucks. Hard.
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