Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do You Look At Rejections?

STATUS: Totally celebrating. Instead of 300, I only have 60 emails in my inbox. It’s the small things in life.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? ZOOT SUIT RIOT by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies

This month I’m putting several projects out on submission and I just read a discussion about this on the Backspace chat forum so it seemed like a good topic to bring up.

If you are an agented author with a project on submission, do you request to see your rejection letters?

At my agency, my clients don’t really have a choice (or at least I never really gave them one). When a rejection letter arrives, I immediately forward.

Why? Well, for several reasons.

I, in general, believe that an author has the right to see any communication regarding their project. It is, after all, their work.

Besides, if I don’t forward it right there in then, it’s unlikely I’m going to remember to send it later on. We do everything electronically here and yes, I do save the email letter in the client’s file but I almost never look at it again once a letter comes through. I know some agents wait until all the responses are in and then send them on but I think that would drive me crazy—like work hadn’t been completed or worse yet, I’d forget to send the letters at that point in time. Better to forward right away for my general peace of mind. Now I realize that it might not cause peace for the author so I always forward with commentary—either an encouraging note, or some inside insight to the editor and why he/she personally might have passed etc.

If editor feedback is helpful, I ask that the author to keep it in mind. If it’s not, I say just roll with it. Rejection is a part of the publishing game and I think in the long run, it’s in an author’s best interest to develop a thick skin. If the rejections in the submission stage bother you, just imagine how hard it will be to take a bad review?

Buck up and deal with it. It’s not personal (though it feels so). It’s simply a part of being a writer. Now of course, any client can call and bemoan the letter. I’m okay with that as that is a normal, human response. Or write a venting email to me about the editor’s lack of vision. That’s just fine too. If you can’t vent to your agent, who can you vent to?

Luckily, as of late, I’ve sold just about every project and for clients, rejections are so much easier to take when there is an offer already on the table. Funny how that works.

And if you are a writer who hasn’t reached the agent and the publisher submission stage and may still be looking for that elusive agent, then rejections just signal that you are in the game.

Considering that 90% of the population wants to write a novel but never have the guts to go for it, being in the game is a huge thing. Even though it sucks, rejections are a badge of honor. A rite of passage for when the publishing day finally arrives. Every published writer has a story of a rejection.

You can’t tell a good keynote speech without it!