Ah, sweet rejection

My goal for this year is to receive as many as rejec­tions as pos­si­ble. I can be a little—okay, a lot—perfectionistic about where and when I send out sub­mis­sions, so the inten­tion of this goal was to push me to accom­plish the part of pub­lish­ing that I can con­trol, sub­mit­ting, and let go of the part I can’t con­trol, sell­ing. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this has­n’t worked out so well, as it seems most places either aren’t even read­ing the work or are only reply­ing if inter­est­ed, and are thus deny­ing me of the small sat­is­fac­tion of the rejec­tion let­ter as proof I did SOMETHING. So, I think I will have to revise my goal and tweak my process so that I can cel­e­brate, and tan­gi­bly see, every sub­mis­sion, whether I receive an answer or not. How do you do that with­out wast­ing paper? I’d love to hear your ideas!
There’s some good news, though (well, kin­da)! Yes­ter­day I received a rejec­tion let­ter for a very begin­ning-lev­el easy read­er I’d sent to Scholas­tic’s Cart­wheel imprint. I sus­pect­ed it was prob­a­bly not per­fect­ly right for them, but I love them so much I just had to try (fight­ing that per­fec­tion thing again). Well, it was a rejec­tion, but it was per­son­al­ized, friend­ly, and dis­cussed my par­tic­u­lar man­u­script and why they decid­ed to pass. In fact, I have to agree with their assess­ment, although I still believe there’s a place for this man­u­script with a dif­fer­ent list. So, yes, it’s a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing, but I’ll still send out a big vir­tu­al thank you to Scholastic/Cartwheel. I final­ly have some­thing for the rejec­tion file, and can at least rev­el in the suc­cess of failing!

‘Suc­cess is going from fail­ure to fail­ure with no loss of enthu­si­asm.’ —Win­ston Churchill

11 thoughts on “Ah, sweet rejection”

  1. Lau­rie, the writ­ing world has changed since I start­ed out. But a per­son­al­ized note is cer­tain­ly some­thing to cel­e­brate! One of my favorite edi­tors STILL has not bought any­thing from me, but we’ve had many years of love­ly correspondence.
    Have you read Car­olyn See’s Mak­ing a Lit­er­ary Life? I bor­rowed one of her sug­ges­tions, which is to start writ­ing love­ly lit­er­ary notes. So when I read a book I love, I write a note to the author and to the edi­tor. I feel this is one way to keep con­nect­ed — and to build a broad­er network.
    Keep writ­ing. One of these days, you’ll get the kind of let­ter (or email or phone call) that will make you shout for joy.

    • Thanks so much for stop­ping by, Kir­by! That’s an excel­lent idea, although I have a hard time believ­ing you’re still get­ting any rejec­tions from anyone. 😉
      I’ve been want­i­ng to read that book since I first saw it men­tioned on your blog–it sounds won­der­ful. I’ll def­i­nite­ly have to pick it up.

  2. Maybe you could get a cal­en­dar — or Microsoft Office has a way for you to print out cal­en­dar pages — and make a note on it every time you send in a sub­mis­sion. Some­thing fes­tive, with stick­ers? Then you can post it in your office and know you’re mak­ing sub­mis­sion progress!
    Chris Eboch
    Haunt­ed: The Ghost on the Stairs, The River­boat Phan­tom and The Knight in the Shadows
    Read the first chap­ters: http://www.chriseboch.com
    Write Like a Pro! A Free Online Writ­ing Work­shop: http://chriseboch.blogspot.com/

      • Yeah! You don’t even need to buy one; how about using one of the 75 free, beau­ti­ful-pho­tog­ra­phy paper cal­en­dars I seem to get from the Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion and so forth? You can buy­ing those lit­tle box­es of school stars for almost noth­ing and give your­self a star for every sub­mis­sion on the day it goes out? Then if you DO get respons­es, you could put anoth­er col­or star on that day, too.
        Or… buy some fun beads and string a bead on a silk lan­yard for every sub­mis­sion, anoth­er for every rejec­tion. Make a groovy neck­lace or glass­es hold­er or key­chain or what­ev­er from it!
        Or… start an Amazon/Powells wish list and put a book on it for every sub­mis­sion. When you get a rejec­tion, you get to go buy one of them. (And B. can use it for oth­er occa­sions, too.)
        At any rate, con­grats on the ter­rif­ic rejec­tion. Those real­ly are big milestones!

  3. Great post!
    Those per­son­al­ized rejec­tions can be a gold mine. I got one once, made changes based on the feed­back, and sold the man­u­script to the next place I sent it. (The oth­er place had not invit­ed me to revise and resubmit.)

  4. Hur­ray for you, Laurie!
    Per­haps you could cel­e­brate each sub­mis­sion with a spe­cial some­thing (ie. $ or choco­late) in a pret­ty lit­tle jar. Watch that jar fill up and either buy some­thing fab­u­lous for your­self or have a won­der­ful binge each time the jar fills up. A jar full of possibilities!
    Ah…sweet per­fec­tion­ism. I’m scared to death of sub­mit­ting, but I remind myself that if I don’t sub­mit the answer is a def­i­nite “No”. Each sub­mis­sion puts my work into the realm of “maybe”. Maybe works bet­ter than “no” for me. Right now I’ve got a small hand­ful of “maybes” in my fig­u­ra­tive jar. It’s ner­vous-mak­ing, but also a hap­py place.
    See you soon!

  5. Try QueryTracker.net. For $20 a year, you can search for agents, sim­pli­fy the research process, see how long they take to respond to oth­ers, email them, and then track your sub­mis­sion sta­tus by see­ing how they are respond­ing to peo­ple who sub­mit­ted after you. Total­ly fan­tas­tic tool. And they have a great tool that lets you sort and fil­ter your queries and sub­mis­sions so you can see how many sub­mis­sions you sent, how many queries you sent, how many rejec­tions you received, how many non-respons­es, etc.

    • You betcha! I’ve been a sub­scriber for quite awhile and would also rec­om­mend it high­ly; it’s well worth the mon­ey. In terms of mar­ket research and tar­get­ing sub­mis­sions, though, noth­ing beats Pub­lish­ers Mar­ket­place, in my opinion.


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