Rejection is a funny thing. When you are a child and are trying to talk to your parents and they are distracted you feel unimportant. When you are a parent and your child gets too old for hugs and kisses when you drop them off for school you are sad and realize they are growing up. When you are dating and someone breaks up you feel like your heart will break and wonder what is wrong with you. But, when you are a writer trying to get published rejection takes on a whole new meaning. Let me explain…
When you decide you have a manuscript the world must see you enter the new world of rejection. You send this manuscript to agents, publishers, editors…anyone that might see what you felt and realize the impact this book will have on readers everywhere if they will just give it a chance. Then you wait for the replies…and, sometimes, wait and wait. (This process can take anywhere from 1 day to 12 weeks.) Also, you are really only supposed to send it to a few of these people at a time so the process can really drag on. OK, now you start to receive replies to your inquiries. These are generally rejections, at first. Now, I guess, these can come in many forms but mine so far have felt pretty generic. I am sharing this one word for word so you can see what I mean but, for the most part, all of mine have said the same thing more or less.
Dear Cara Long,
Thank you for your submission, which we’ve now had the chance to share and discuss. We appreciate the opportunity to review your work. However, we do not feel that we can be of further assistance in placing it at this time.
Thank you again for thinking of us in connection with your work and we wish you the best of luck.
So you see this is where this new rejection gets tricky…what does this really mean? Does it mean, “your manuscript stinks and we can’t believe you really think you are a writer” or “hey, with a little more work and polish this could really go somewhere” or “this really just isn’t for us because we already have too many children’s book authors on our lists but it isn’t bad”. It is hard to know from these generic rejections what the thoughts really are. Now, I understand these publishing houses, editors and agents receive hundreds, if not thousands of manuscripts to read each year (most unsolicited) but maybe they could write these generic rejections more specifically using the ideas I mentioned above and attach them to how they feel about each manuscript.
Because, here is the thing, most authors will be rejected a lot. Hundreds, if not thousands of times…unfortunately with no guidance to possibly make them better writers or just to know if maybe that agent was having a bad day with no coffee when they picked up my manuscript. Becoming published really does feel like the luck of the draw…your manuscript hits the desk of someone at the right place and right time. Because opinion is relative…I mean 10 people will read the same book and have many differing opinions. Some will love it…some will find it too slow or graphic or not a genre they enjoy and others will just like it. But all will have received a different impact and gotten from it something meant just for them. That is the beauty of books and imagination. So, as a new author, you keep moving forward hoping for that one desk of an agent, editor, or publisher that sees your vision for your manuscript.
The rejections, maybe, weed out the weak. I am only working on my first book and, even though, the rejections are not specific about me being a terrible author they hit at my heart a little. But mostly I just wonder if I should keep going. Even though they are not the same rejections that are pointedly about you, like children, dating, etc…they are rejections. You have to decide if you keep going and plugging away and mailing in the manuscripts. Therein is the true author…you have to do it because you love it because, in reality, it may be…that no one ever sees it.