The agent that handled Write In Style, my award-winning book on creative writing, sent me a rejection e-mail last night for a proposal I sent her for my latest book. I looked at the brief note that gave no explanation other than “This is not a project I can pursue.” How typical, neutral, and devoid of helpful information, and this note came from an agent with whom I have history.
No wonder writers get frustrated and demoralized and want to quit!
When I read the e-mail, though, I did not let it get to me. I read it over a couple of times and then closed the e-mail. I next went to the internet and searched for agents who might want to pursue the project. I found several leads I’ll pursue, and at least two of them have sold books in the same genre as mine.
I reminded myself that my current book is a memoir, whereas my former agent handled my reference/writing book, two completely different genres that call for completely different approaches to publishers.
After hours of performing research, I grew tired and went to bed.
Instead of feeling rejected, I felt energized to keep going, but my reaction comes from many years of facing rejection. From personal experience I know that rejection, especially the very first rejection of a proposal, has little to no significance. Things have a way of reversing. Rejection from one place can mean anything, and sometimes it means only that the piece has not yet reached the right hands. My first book met with rejection from plenty of agents and quite a few publishers before one made an offer.
A new day has dawned today. Yesterday my proposal was rejected. Today I have a list of new agents to try, and many of those don’t object to multiple submissions; that is, I can send it to more than one agent at a time, whereas I had given my own agent an exclusive shot at my proposal and had to wait for her response. Yesterday I had hope, had that hope shaken, and rebuilt my hope. Today I have a plan of action, and action always, always, counteracts rejection or depression. Inertia, however, is depression’s best friend. I refuse to feed into depression, hopelessness, or rejection. I am writer, hear me roar!
Addendum: At the time of this writing I used Writers Market as my resource for agents and publishers, but it ceased being an online source around 2019. Today many other sources abound, but one you can trust as of 2022 is https://blog.reedsy.com/literary-agents/.