Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writerly Confidence

An odd title for a blog about receiving my first rejection letter, but there it is. Yup--I got my first rejection in today! Let me just start off by saying that I really hate the term "rejection letter" because it has such an obvious negative connotation. Rejections are personal. They are usually synonymous with heartbreak and can lead to some pretty overwhelming feelings of insecurity.

Rejection letters from literary agents are not necessarily personal. They might write you personally, but that's not what I mean. It doesn't mean that they think you are devoid of talent or that they think you are the lamest writer in the world with no hopes of selling your book whatsoever. It just means that they don't think they can sell your book. Maybe it didn't speak to them. Maybe they already have three dozen other YA fantasy novels they are trying to work. Whatever their reasons for rejecting your query, the bottom line is that they didn't think it would be a good fit. And you really have to ask yourself the question: Would I want someone who doesn't really believe in my novel as much as I do trying to sell it? The answer should be a firm "no" possibly with a few expletives for emphasis.

Which is where I am now. I know I've said this before in other blogs and on my Facebook and Twitter pages (shameless plug links? yes, yes they are), but I feel the need to say it again. My goal is not to be a best selling author. I don't need to sell a million copies. Hell, I don't even need to sell ten. Why? Because no matter how many copies I sell through whatever medium, the bottom line is that I believe in my books. I believe in these characters and I believe in this story. That's why I keep writing it. And that's why I intend on putting it out there in whatever way I can to sell. If people like it, great. If I sell a million copies, even better because I have student loans to pay. But if people don't like it, that isn't going to change the fact that I do. And that I plan on writing this story until it is finished.

I feel much the same way with agents and publishing houses in general. My book(s) might not be a good fit for them. That's okay. There are plenty of books I've read that weren't a good fit for me. I'm not so naive as to think everyone should think my book is the best thing since sliced bread. It still doesn't change my plans to put it out there and there are tons of ways to do it. I'm just trying to figure out which path I will end up taking to reach my end goal.

To the agent who sent me my first rejection: I thank you for your kind and personal letter as well as your encouragement. It will be printed off and framed to hang on the wall of my office as a reminder that I was brave enough to put myself out there and was met with kindness. To the other agents that might reject me: I welcome your letters!

Oh, and if you are looking for ways to deal with your own rejections, I strongly recommend this blog by Writers On The Move. Some great insight and advice on how to not get bogged down by the rejections.

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