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The Shoe Hits the Floor

Posted by Micki Cottam on 4:24 PM


I feel like I have been christened in my journey to publication. Two weeks after sending my pitch and excerpt to my first batch of agents, I have officially received my first rejection letter! Now, now, don't cry for me. I am actually relieved! Without further ado, here it is: 

"Thank you for sharing your work with me.  I know that writing a book is a time-consuming and emotional process, so I appreciate the effort you have expended to reach this point in your publishing journey.  Alas, I must reject what you have been kind enough to submit.
I am very selective about taking on new clients since the publishing industry has become so narrow in its focus and harsh in its treatment of debut and midlist authors. Projects must have stellar world building, characters that leap off the page, pacing that is relentless and a story that entices the reader to take its journey with the characters. I know that’s a tall order, but if your writing is lacking in any of those areas, I must pass on it.
I wish you the best of luck with your writing career.  Our website has information you may find helpful..."

A form rejection, but at least it's a rejection! Okay, you must think I'm crazy by now. Actually being excited to receive a rejection letter. But seriously, I would much rather receive a form rejection letter than endure the subbing silence of that is the no-reply. 

I am painfully aware of the plethora of rejection letters I am destined to receive as wannba author. 

Now I know what you are thinking, "destined" to be rejected? Isn't that a bit melodramatic? Not really. 

I don't expect every agent to love my book(s) just like I don't expect every reader to love them either. Finding the agent who connects with your novel is harder than guessing which stranger out of crowded room likes the same kind of mix-ins in their ice-cream sunday. Ice-cream sunday novel...mmmmmmmm...okay, I'm back. It is critical that an agent connects with nearly every aspect of your novel because when all is said and done, they must believe you will make them money. I just have some more work to do before I make someone scream, "SHOW ME THE MONEY!" 

Now, stay tuned for some feel good perspective on how the best of us get rejected... 
More recently....
  1. John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.
  2. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) received 134 rejections.
  3. Beatrix Potter had so much trouble publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she initially had to self-publish it.
  4. Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) received 121 rejections before it was published and went on to become a best seller.
  5. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted.
  6. Judy Blume, beloved by children everywhere, received rejections for two straight years.
  7. Madeline L’Engle received 26 rejections before getting A Wrinkle in Time published—which went on to win the Newberry Medal and become one of the best-selling children’s books of all time.
  8. Frank Herbert’s Dune was rejected 20 times before being published and becoming a cult classic.
  9. Stephen King received dozens of rejections for Carrie before it was published (and made into a movie!).*
  10. James Lee Burke’s novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years and, upon its publication by Louisiana State University Press in 1986, was nominate for a Pulitzer Prize.



2 Comments


Glad to hear you have gotten this rite of passage out of the way.
Congrats.
Now, keep moving forward.


I read somewhere that Sylvia Plath used to sleep next to her mailbox, waiting for query responses. At least none of us are that far gone! Yet. Welcome to the club!

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