Rejection–It’s not you, it’s not me

Veal stew and polenta. A dish common in the Vicenza area of Italy. Delish to me. Maybe disgusting to you.

This is where I’m at in the querying process. I’ve heard every reason under the sun to be rejected. And they all differ. Which makes it really hard to find anything useful in it.

Let’s see here’s a smattering:

  • I don’t like your voice
  • I don’t like your writing
  • Your writing is not quite there
  • Your voice is too breezy
  • The beginning is too slow
  • The beginning needs to slow down
  • This is not a good fit for me
  • I’m not enthusiastic enough
  • I didn’t love it, but there’s nothing wrong with it

The list goes on. Variations of not for me. After a certain point, you either crumble (I did in Italy) or you distance yourself from it and pretend it doesn’t hurt (my new modus operandi). I view this like any job search. You send out hundreds of resumes and eventually you get a few interviews and a job.

It’s not personal. It’s business. This I repeat 10-20 times a day to myself.

I track each query in a spreadsheet. And every 10-20 queries, I look for a pattern in the rejections. Unfortunately this is not happening. Which may mean the story is good and I just haven’t found its soulmate. Or the story stinks and it should be burned.

Obviously, I think it’s the former. So I keep querying. I keep trying. I’ve worked out the kinks in the query. I think it’s the best query I can write.

I spent 4 months revising. I know this is the best book I can write (right now). So I’ll keep trying. For each rejection, I send another query out.

Publication is  a great goal, but if that’s the only goal, I would be a monumental failure.

So my goal is short term. To write everyday. To finish each story and revise it to the best of my abilities. And then to send it out into queryland.

What reasons have you been given for a rejection?

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6 Responses to Rejection–It’s not you, it’s not me

  1. berry says:

    I think rejection is just another word for revision. Do u think your book us good. That’s all that counts. Published or not you wrote a great book. That’s what matters most. Don’t give up. Stay true to the book.

    • I like your perspective. I think I’ve written the best book I am capable of writing at this point in time. In a year, I’ll have learned more and likely be able to improve it. I wrote a book and several friends read it and enjoyed it. That’s pretty cool. Publication is a goal but It can’t be my only goal. 🙂

  2. Gerard says:

    I have a friend who is a songwriter. He has heard some of the same things, some pretty nasty and some pretty encouraging. He approaches it the same way you are…it’s business, that’s all it is. If you like it fine, if not, that’s ok too. Just keep at it, never give up, and you have a chance. If you give up, all chances are gone. Those who have succeeded, have gone through the same things you are going through. Very few people are overnight wonders. Just keep the faith and keep moving forward.

  3. tracy says:

    What great advice and perspectives. I think a lot of it is about revision, and timing and whatever else not may be going on with the publishing world that we may or may not know about. But, to share some stats I saw today on querytracker, persistence does seem to pay off. One person write that they sent out 286 queries and got one offer of rep (which of course brought about a slew of others) and his/her book apparently sold very quickly after that, so you never know. You just put a great rough under your belt, you should be very proud. Heck, to finish one book and to have it polished enough to query is more than most people will do in a lifetime.

    • Thanks Tracy!
      I gotta credit Anne Lamott with helping me get more zen like. I started reading Bird by Bird in Italy and it really gave me the ability to see beyond the rejections and persevere. There is so much affecting decisions made by agents and publishers, it’s mind boggling. Fundamentally, I wrote the book for myself and my friends. I wanted to tell a story we would enjoy. I’d love other people to see it someday, but for now I’m taking pride in having completed a book and having it read by friends/beta readers who liked it enough to ask to read the next one when it’s ready. 🙂 That’s rough to have to send out nearly 300 queries, but you’re right, it definitely paid off.

      You should be patting yourself on the back too. Querying your book and getting requests is a huge thing. It means you’re on the right track. You just have to keep moving. 🙂

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?