My First Rejection

I’m going to be starting a series of posts on my blog surrounding rejection.

There’s so much to say about it. Rejection is such a huge and inevitable part of the life of anyone who has a goal, and I believe that in most cases, you can’t succeed unless you experience at least a little rejection along the way. Most writers walk into the querying world and beyond knowing that they are in for a world of rejection and, as a result, disappointment. I wasn’t so wise to know this at first, but rejection has taught me so many valuable lessons– and not bad lessons.

My first rejection made me happy. That’s almost an understatement– I was beyond excited. I started querying when I was fourteen years old, and I was so confident in the letters I sent out that I was positive I would be a published author within a few months.

Ha, ha.

I think this mentality stemmed from the fact that I knew nothing about how unpredictable the publishing industry is. In fact, I knew nothing about the publishing industry at all, other than there were people called literary agents who I could send letters to and they got people’s books published for them. So I did just that– sent the first few queries and hoped for the best.

Then there was silence.

Lots of silence.

I sent my first query letters in early February, and the silence lasted from then until April. Now that I’m used to querying, I know that that kind of silence is inevitable, but it was pretty unnerving to my fourteen-year-old confidence.

The first response I got to any of those letters was from a fantastic agent who sent me a really encouraging rejection letter. It came while I was doing homework during a free period at school.

I freaked out.

I remember calling my mom and yelling, “I GOT A REJECTION!” like it was the most fantastic thing in the world. My mom was confused. She didn’t know why getting a rejection could be a good thing, but to me, after the two months of waiting when I was convinced that responses would be immediate, it was music to my ears. Someone had considered me, even if that person wasn’t going to be my agent. I had been noticed by someone. She didn’t just trash my email.

This story might sound kind of pathetic, but the way I reacted when I got that first rejection reminds me of what a rejection means. Okay, yes, a rejection means your work wasn’t right for the agent and that you’ll have to keep sending queries, but it also means that you were considered. It means someone gave you a chance.

Sometimes a chance can be pretty uplifting.