Well, it finally happened, dear reader. my first official rejection.
I have submitted my novel twice to publishers’ Open Submissions, which is basically submitting to the ‘slush pile’ and just never heard anything. For all I know it was never even glanced at. Earlier this year I submitted it to a publisher and an agent, after pitching successfully to them at a couple of events. Yesterday I heard back from the agent, the nicest ‘no’ in the world. Now it’s been rejected by someone who’s actually read it! Hooray!
I’m not gonna lie, I was sad. Even though I knew that on the basis of probabilities alone, the chances of my book being taken on by the first professional to read it were infinitesimally small, even though I know that being rejected is just part of the job, I still had a little cry. Ok, a couple of little cries.
Now that I’ve had almost 24 hours to come to terms with it, I’m almost in a place where I can celebrate it.
Going in I knew the best I could hope for (short of unlikely acceptance) was constructive feedback, and I got that. I got clear feedback on what the agent thought was this manuscript lacking, and some general advice about how to develop my work. I also got some really great feedback on my characterisation and encouragement to continue.
I set out on this journey to become published and although I’m still a long way from achieving that goal, I feel like I’ve passed an important milestone. The high I was on when I finished this last draft and started my new project has long since dissipated, and in the last few months I’ve struggled even to keep up the habit. This is a reminder that I was making progress, that I am learning, that I am developing, and I am achieving.
I don’t imagine I will ever get used to the sting of rejection (or that all the rejections I receive in future will be as generous as this one. It is part of ‘the job’ though, and I’m proud that I put my work out there.
Next: get back that writing habit (again).