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Monday, January 3, 2011

Thoughts on Rejection

My first story rejection of 2011 arrived Saturday before noon via email. Yep, Jan. 1, first rejection of the year. Sounds like a horrible way to start the year, doesn't it? But it didn't bother me. When I first decided to start submitting my work to real publishers, the thought of all that rejection really bothered me. How would I deal with it? I'd done phone sales before, briefly, and know what true rejection is. But I swallowed my fear, stuck my courage to the sticking place, and sent my stories and novels into the publishing world.

Most authors say, "Expect to have 85-95% of your work rejected, if not more." My rejection rate is about 15-20%. You'd expect even that much to sting, but it doesn't. I've gotten everything from the form letter "We don't want your story" to some very nice, detailed "This is why we don't want it" letters. I expected them to hurt, but they don't. I can shrug and move on to the next submission.

I love my stories, I have to, I'm the author. But I know not everyone else will love them. Most people won't care about them. And it's okay.

Maybe it's a lesson I learned ten years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer, or eighteen years ago when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Life sucks sometimes, but groaning and complaining won't accomplish anything but driving away people. You choose your attitude. I look at story rejections as a learning experience. The ones that got rejected were ones that I was iffy about submitting to that market in the first place. Most of them I found another market that loved them. A few are still sitting in my "to be submitted" file. But it's all good. I have stories published, stories I'm proud of. Rejections mean I'm not perfect and my writing still needs plenty of polish.

Choose your attitude wisely. It makes all the difference in your life.