Image via Flikr Creative Commons, Courtesy of Sanjeev Kar
I do not believe there is a person alive who hasn’t felt the bite of rejection. And I believe that’s the best term to describe how rejection feels. As if some huge monstrous bear with teeth sharp as any needle and as vicious as any untamed animal can be has taken a huge chunk out of our self esteem. (Not that I’ve ever been bitten by a bear and I pray God I never will. I would just HATE to have real life experience with a bite from a bear.) From the boy who musters up courage to ask a girl on date be utterly let down by, “That’s really sweet of you, but I’m seeing someone,” to the girl who works at being accepted into a prestigious sorority to be told she’s doesn’t have what it takes to be a sister, rejection is…simply a part of life.
As a writer, I am in a unique position, as I seek traditional representation for my new book Many Strange Women, to be a bearer of rejections from publishers. I’ve had my fourth rejection so far and no matter how many stories I hear of famous authors like Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, and other well known names who were rejected before they got their big break, it still…bites. I guess when you hear about how other authors got their big break, you’re expected to draw strength and inspiration from those stories and some how that’s adequate enough to make you keep hoping for a positive response.
I’ve read the stories over and over again but for some strange reason, I find myself not comforted in the way I should be. After all, that’s their success, not my own. Who wouldn’t love to be another one of these kinds of authors, whose names are more than just a person, but a brand. An expectation for entertainment.
I wonder if that’s why one of the reasons the indie author movement has blown up. Instead of waiting for someone else to tell us whether one’s work is acceptable or not, the author takes their career in their own hands. Their success is bound by their hands and as hard as indie authors work, they are able to not take ‘no’ for an answer. After all, they don’t even have to ask the question (in the form of a query letter to an agent).
Kristen Lamb, author of the book, “Rise of the Machines: Humans in a Digital World” made a comment on her blog that I would like to repeat here. In her blog, she shows a correlation to indie authors to the American Colonists and traditional publishing houses to Mother England. It’s a brilliant correlation (as one would expect from such a great blogger) and I couldn’t help but think, as I received my fourth rejection, how the colonists from long ago must have felt under the hands of its Motherland. But, as Kristen Lamb notes in her blog, ” I’m sure there are some hurt feelings on the part of Mother Publishing. She’s cared for writers for over a century and now a handful of us rabble-rousers want to do our own thing and try new technologies on our own.
Thing is? Just like America and England eventually made up and became BFFs again, Mother Publishing will coexist with indies just fine (provided she reinvents in time, which I really hope she does)” See the full blog post here and if you aren’t following her, do it now. The woman has more insight in her fingers about writing and is essentially a prophet to all authors regardless of which path taken to get published.
But, in keeping with the analogy as brought forth by Kristen Lamb, perhaps I’m a Tory. After all, I did publish my first book by indie methods but the support of traditional publishing house still has its appeal which is why I sought an agent to represent me for my second book.
Yet the rejection still hurts, as the difficulties that faced the early colonists must have hurt to. Yet, as faithful as any Tory, I cling to the hope that Mother Publishing will take me on as an author.
Last week, on the debut show of The Write Stuff, I had the awesome opportunity to interview Laurie Alice Eakes, an inspirational romance writer, and she gave this advice to new authors. “The best advice I ever got was perseverance. Just don’t take no as a final answer. Keep at it. If this is what God wants for you, it will happen.”
After all, each rejection is rung on the ladder to success. And when I look back, I’ll look at the broken rungs from the top of the ladder, not the bottom of it.
Are you an author seeking traditional representation? Have you been rejected and if so, how many times? Are you an indie author seeking to get traditional publishing? I love to hear from you. Leave a comment and at the end of the month, I will randomly pick a name and if you are an author or provide author services, you will have an opportunity to get a ten minute spot to showcase your work on my radio show The Write Stuff that airs Tuesdays. Follow the link here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wluvradio
If you an author or author service provider looking to showcase your work or service, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for availability on the show.