Monday, June 23, 2014

The "R Word" - Rejection

by Wendy Bennett  

Let me tell you something about the "R word." 

In order to receive the "R word" one must write a book, edit a book, let people read the book, (probably) edit the book again, "finish" the book and submit the book to Editors and/or Agents. (And that was a very simple rundown of what goes into the process, but you guys get it, right?)


To even get to the "R Word" you had to do a lot of freaking work and you should be UBER-proud of yourself.

I received my first rejection last week. And I wasn't devastated by it as I thought I'd be. I'd prepared myself for rejection. Everyone gets rejected. Okay, maybe not everyone, but a lot of awesome people. I'm now in the awesome people who were rejected club. hahaha

Anyway, My first rejection was actually a really GREAT experience. 

Wait, Wendy, what? How can rejection be great?

Let me give you some background on how I got to this point:
I went to The RT BookLovers Convention two weeks ago.  I was planning on pitching my book to one editor, just to get my feet wet, see what I was getting myself into. 

Before my pitch to the editor I had researched, I attended a panel called "PitchSlap" which promised to help slap my pitch into shape. After I read my pitch out loud  3 of the 4 editors/agents on the panel asked for a partial. Right there, on the spot. IT WAS AWESOME!!! I was shaking. I was floored. I didn't expect that. I thought they would "slap my pitch up." 

I was dazed when I walked to the Pitch-A-Palooza session to find the one editor I had planned to pitch to all along...and she asked for the full manuscript.

Anyway, by lunchtime on Friday I had 4 requests, when I was only planning on pitching to 1 person. I KNOW that it's just a request, but this was my first time opening myself up to industry professionals, and it made me happy to leave the conference with 4 requests. 

So I did my work, wrote my query letters, wrote my synopsis, edited my manuscript again. And I submitted to all four. 

And received my first rejection. 

The rejection was kind and personal. The agent mentioned three things that she loved, and one thing that stopped her from taking on my project. 

I WAS JUMPING UP AND DOWN. She actually wrote three things she loved. She actually personalized my rejection. I think (from what I've read) this is gold in the publishing world. 

I know that my work is not the right fit for everyone. I appreciated that the agent was kind, helpful and honest. We weren't a good fit. And that's okay! If I get an agent at all, I want an agent that LOVES my book. How can they sell it if they don't love it? 

Was I upset? At first, yes. The tears came. The Why doesnt everyone in the world love my book?question was asked. But rejection is a part of life. At least, the life Ive been living for 35 years. Not everyone likes me (WHAT? WHY? HOW?) not everyone likes the choices Ive made, the type of car I drive, the philosophies in which I live my life and raise my kids. 

Did I lose you? Stay with me, its not a random tangent.

Rejection is a part of life. I do it. You do it. People do it to us. We do it to others. I picked the man I wanted to marry and rejected the millions of other guys lined up at my door. (joke?) I picked Central Michigan University and rejected the other universities that had accepted me. I know these are very different, but think about it in the grand scheme of things. We all make choices that are best for us. I wasnt trying to make the admissions people at another institution cry by not picking their school, I was making the choice that was right for me. An agent or editor isnt rejecting my writing to make me cry, or feel bad, it just wasnt right for them. 

I can see that now, with thicker skin and life experience. Would I have thought this way twenty years ago? Hell, no. Id be face down on my pillow crying my eyes out - after drowning myself in whatever beer was on sale that night.

But I get it now. Just because you get rejected doesnt mean your work it bad! 

So thank you to the agent who rejected me. I learned. I grew. I was able to get over it and see it for the good and how it can help me in the future. 

* * *

Wendy Bennetta proud Detroit native, is a NA writer who fell in love with reading, writing and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to the warmth of North Carolina for the remainder of her winters.

Wendy spends her days chasing after her two, high-energy sons and writing things she wants to read. When she’s not chasing her crazy kids or pecking away at her laptop, she enjoys reading, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.

She is currently working on her first novel, a contemporary New Adult romance featuring a hot hockey player hero.

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  1. That is a GREAT way to look at rejection, Wendy! Every rejection really is a badge of courage and should be celebrated because in the end every one of them gets you closer to an acceptance. :)

    1. Thanks, Gisele! Every little step... :D Fingers crossed!

  2. Writers have to develop a thick skin and learn to extract the good nuggets from rejections -- it was personal -- she mentioned what she liked-- and so on. I only received one rejection that upset me, the person was downright mean and snarky. Then I thought, wow, is she having a bad day, poor thing, and moved on.

    1. Yes, Sandy! If someone is mean I chalk it up to their bad day, not my work. A professional is never mean - unless the author was mean to them first (but even so...). Thanks for reading & commenting!

  3. Great post, Wendy. Yes, rejection is hard but a good thing. It means you are one step closer to a "yes". And be proud you got such a good rejection, too!

    1. Thanks, Lynn. It seems weird to be happy over a rejection, but it gets me closer and I got to be RWA PRO status. So good things come of it! haha :)