Posted by: Katie B | March 5, 2010

Thick Skin? No. Rejection Letters Just Hurt.

I hear it again and again, and I have pushed it more than once myself:  to be a writer, you must have perseverance.  Determination.  No matter what you hear, you have to keep writing, keep working, keep submitting.  You have to find the home for your work, it won’t find you.  

My Ego


But when someone you have pinned all your hopes on delivers your worse fears to you in 12 point, its hard not to waver.  Wallow a little.  That little voice which sits inside me, repressed most of the time, found an outlet today in a rejection from a valued professional in the industry.  Try this one out for size: 

“I enjoyed your interesting premise and the world you created in your novel (good!).  That being said, I ultimately (irrelevant use of adverb – writing 101) think this manuscript is not a good fit for our list.  (here it goes) The market is saturated with fantasy books and I don’t think this can stand out in today’s tough marketplace.  (ouch)  I wish you the best of luck in finding a home for this book (but you just said it would never sell…).” 

Here’s the last one: 

“I have some concerns with the manuscript as presently written.  I think that the conflict in the story may be too easily resolved.  I feel that the story could benefit from a stronger narrative hook, which would help it stand out from similar projects in today’s market.  Ultimately, (there’s that word again) I feel it would be unfair for you to enter into a relationship with an agent who possesses these reservations, so unfortunately I am unable to be of help in placing your work at this time.” 

Does it matter that I wouldn’t mind entering into the relationship even if he has those reservations?  No, I didn’t think so. 

Time will heal this wound, just like it has healed all the others.  But for a little while (or a long while), I was thirteen again and my delicate self-esteem had been bruised.  It is just one person’s opinion but until you find the right one, it seems like the only one.

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