Querying is tough. Getting rejection letters is tougher. You pour your heart and soul onto the paper, spending endless hours writing, revising, editing, rewriting––an endless cycle of effort and energy. And then, when you think your manuscript is polished, you submit it to a literary agent. Soon after, if you’re lucky enough to receive a response, you get a “no thank you.” So how do you keep going? How do you muddle through rejection after rejection?
If you’re one of the lucky ones (and it does happen) and you receive an offer of representation (or sell your book directly to a publishing house) with sending out less than a dozen queries, congratulations! Job well done. However, if you’re like me and are dozens in, then you’re all too familiar with the soul-sucking experience. I had two empty walls behind my desk. I labeled one, “Wall of Shame,” (in a sarcastic joking manner) and the other, “Wall of Fame.” Can you guess which one had more covered?
You guessed it. The “Wall of Shame.” I had enough rejections to cover an entire wall. An. Entire. Wall. And as I felt worse and worse with each passing “no thank you,” I needed something (besides that one yes!) to motivate me. Enter “My Someday Jar.” I’d decided for every “no” and every DNR (did not respond), I’d put a dollar in the jar. And then, someday, when I finally received a yes, I’d buy a bottle of champagne worth the amount collected.
The Celebration Jar
Finally, $80 later, I bought my bottle of champagne. Yes, you read that right—$80––I queried over 80 agents, 81 to be exact. Nine months, two manuscripts, eighty rejections, and one deliciously expensive bottle of champagne. Of course, it’s not as expensive as Dom Perignon, but I’ve never been so happy not to afford said champagne. That would’ve meant at least 185 rejections. The “Wall of Shame” couldn’t have handled it and quite frankly, I’m not sure I could’ve either!
Yes, the rejections suck. They crush you. They knock you down. They make you want to quit. But don’t. Unfortunately, they’re all part of the process, a fatiguing one at that. But someday, a “yes” will come and I promise you, that victory will taste sweet, and suddenly, that rejection jar will turn into a celebration jar. Trust me, I know. I’ve lived it. My advice to you? Keep on digging through the trenches and I’ll be here, rooting for you, looking forward to hearing about your one “yes.”
Best of luck and cheers!