Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Fear of Rejection

Over the course of writing my first novel, I learned one major thing about myself and other writers.

When the final chapter closes and it is time to sell the damned thing, we balk out of fear.

The question is asked "what if they don't like it?" I know I asked it over and over again as I wrote and rewrote the letter.

Sending out a query letter was a trying and psychologically daunting task, but in the end the letter went out and the world didn't end.

This weekend, I received my first official rejection letter for agent representation, and believe it or not it didn't hurt. I was left feeling a little ambivalent and honestly a little excited. (which truth be told led to me feeling really confused.)

I had taken my first steps towards publication, and met my first hurdle. Like the deer that stumbles into a clearing where you are having a picnic, I stared at the letter in astonishment. I read the little half page over and over, making sure it was real and didn't move around on me when I looked away.

I encourage all writers to send out a query, especially if it is your first work. Like all experience, it is best acquired while young in the field.

The rejection is not something to fear, but to embrace. Each time your work is dismissed by someone, let it build and excitement that will burst when someone finally says 'yes'. Don't fret over one person's opinion. Agents and publishers have tastes as fickle and different as the people who will be reading your book should it see shelves, so let a rejection serve a double purpose to prepare you for when someday someone comes to you and says "I don't like your work."

"Thats OK," I would say, "not everyone does."

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