Monday, November 16, 2009

How to get no more rejections, EVER!

I've just returned from the fabulosity that is CrimeBake. CrimeBake is one of my favorite conferences and this year was the best yet. Every writer I met came prepared to talk about his/her book. Yes, we worked on finetuning pitches, but I didn't have a single person talk to me either in the formal pitch sessions, or informally, who was just clueless. That's pretty amazing, and I think due in large part to the emphasis CrimeBake places on teaching writers how to be prepared.

Sadly, even those who are well-prepared, and with good novels will get rejections. Some of those will be from me. I can't take on every good book I see, any more than you as a reader can read every good book you already own (let alone all the juicy new ones that keep coming out.)

There was a terrific panel called P IS FOR PERSISTENCE (the alphabet motif because Sue Grafton was the Guest of Honor) with, among others, Dana Cameron and Toni L.P. Kelner. On the panel Dana and Toni were eloquent in the extreme about how to deal with waiting, and rejection.

It got me thinking.

I realized there is a very simple solution for all your rejection problems. All of them, forever more. You really don't want any more of them do you? They're totally awful, completely depressing, and we all know Rejection Just Sucks.

Ok, here's the solution:





Stop Writing.





If you never send out another query, you'll never get another rejection.


Easy-peasy.

Wait, that's not a solution you're willing to accept?

Well ok then.
How about we look at rejections like this:

You love to write. You love to write more than you hate rejections. You love being a writer. So, you love rejections the least of all the parts of writing you love, but faced with a choice of no writing/no rejections, you choose to be a writer. You choose ALL the parts of being a writer, because it's all or none, and you are a writer.



Now back to work.



(thanks to Dana Cameron for this idea)

43 comments:

Heidi the Hick said...

Yup. That's pretty much how it goes.

Rebecca Knight said...

Fair enough! :) Trying always means risking failure.

Sophie Playle said...

Indeed!

Lydia Sharp said...

Haha. Nice!

Mireyah Wolfe said...

Yes ma'am! *goes back to writing*

Valerie Geary said...

Well said!

Dawn Simon said...

Thanks! What a great pep talk! You're right--back to work. :)

Debra L Martin said...

Janet,

Great summary and I totally agree. Rejection sucks, but if you don't try, you'll never get published.

Persistence. Patience. Perseverance. The triple P effect.

SarahAnn said...

Ha. Thanks for always putting things into perspective.

Margaret Yang said...

Yes!

And you know what else? I accept that I will have to learn to write a great query and learn to write a great synopsis. I accept that my first drafts will stink. I accept that some of my first attempts at novels are still collecting dust under my bed. It's just part of the job.

Every job has good and bad parts. Writing fiction has more good parts than any other job I could possibly imagine, and the bad parts are not that bad.

(And now I'm getting back to work.)

SarahAnn said...

Ha. Thanks for always putting things into perspective!

Indigo said...

I knew what your answer would be before reading this post. Any writer worth their salt, with any kind of tenacity won't let a rejection letter stop them. Indigo

SundaySoup said...

I had a theatre teacher who said something like this (working from memory - this was 20 years ago):

1. Life is unfair.
2. Acting professionally is more unfair than life.
3. Auditioning is the most unfair aspect of acting professionally.
4. Make peace with it.

Now plug in "writing" and "querying" and you're good to go.

Joelle
http://www.joelleanthony.com

Amalia T. said...

Maybe I haven't been rejected enough or in the game long enough-- but I don't hate rejections, or querying. Sure, it gives me that butterfly-in-the-stomach moment, but it's also an adrenaline rush to send out the query into the wide world and see what comes back.

It's kind of like fishing. And while I never really had an appreciation for fishing itself, since I'm not really into the hunting thing-- this is the kind of fishing I can get behind. My Query is my Lure. Agents are the fish. Sometimes you have the wrong lure for the fish in the water, so you pick/create/build/write a different one and try again. Eventually, if you wait long enough, and have enough patience, you're bound to catch something edible.

Anne-Marie said...

Your post title came up on my sidebar blog list, and I immediately thought- stop writing. To me, that's like saying stop breathing, or eating chocolate.

It reminds me of that old saying, a ship in a harbour is safe, but that's not why ships were built.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I'm on my way to being a writer then I guess.

There's nothing to strive for if you get everything you want on the first try.

Donna Frank said...

Rejection letters make me think of Stephen Baker; a boy I had a crush on in 8th grade. I didn't go to our little graduation party, but the following Monday Stephen asked me where I had been. He told me that he was going to ask me to dance, but he couldn't find me.

I was elated.

The truth is, we didn't dance; not then or ever. But the thought of it still makes me smile.

Rejection letters also make me smile because, although the publisher didn't dance with me, at least s/he thought about it.

Thanks for the great post.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I don't remember at what point I started viewing a rejection as a good thing -- it meant I was that much closer to finding the right fit.

Maryann Miller said...

Amen to that. I believe that more writers succeed due to tenacity than anything else. Of course, they have to back up the persistence with some good writing.

Paul Neuhardt said...

Having just received my first rejection, I'm glad I am no fool for trying again.

Rejection sucks, but it beats silence.

The Daring Novelist said...

You can get used to rejection. You can't get used to not writing. (I've tried. It sucks.)

Terri said...

My motto has always been, "You miss 100% of the pitches you don't swing at." Welcome back Ms. Reid, now back to work!

Hilabeans said...

I love this. Thank you!

hhs

Susan at Stony River said...

I stopped in while procrastinating another revision. Oops! I so needed someone to tell me to just do what needs to be done, and you have. I'll go work now, without fear of rejection LOL, whether or not it's coming.

Thanks!

Grimmster24 said...

Yes, indeed, Janet. Yes, indeed. :-)

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Her Imperial Highness, Queen of Agents, Holder of the Shark Fin the Palms and Crossed Swords, Grand Wizardess of the Agent's Squint, She who brooks no nonsense ... said:

"You love to write. You love to write more than you hate rejections. You love being a writer. ... You choose ALL the parts of being a writer, because it's all or none, and you are a writer."

All nonsense. .... I HATE wrting. It gives me pimples and head aches. I can't help it that I'm addicted to it. It's not my fault. It's probably my great great grandfather's fault. He wrote Civil War history and political commentary. I can't help my genetics!

Besides ... it's either write or talk to the goat. ....

Yes, keep writing. Don't stop! Create! Improve! Send me chocolate. ...

Patience Renzulli said...

I've pretty much got the Patience part covered!

MomCO3 said...

Thanks.

Keith Schroeder said...

If you own a business, you will face rejection. Writers are in business (as in, they are not W-2 employees of the publisher). The good news is that business people have the opportunity to make more money than employees do. Since you can make more, a thick hide is required.

Here is another reason to have a thick hide (built by rejection and unhappy clients once you have them): Success. If you attain a level of sucess, some people will hate you six days to Sunday and twice as bad on Sunday. They are jealous and love to tear winners a new one. I don't care the industry you are in, that's the way it is.

To stop writing is not enough to end rejection. To really end rejection, get a shovel; dig a hole; step is said hole...

ajgallion said...

I really appreciate your sound words of wisdom here. Good stuff.

Glen said...

Thanks for this, Janet. Your heart is showing. Must be the Godiva.

Jacqui said...

Gulp. That about made me cry. It's hard to write, and it's hard to take rejection. Yet I just can't. stop. writing.

Toughening up over here and appreciate your advice.

Diar A. said...

Words of encouragement like these that make me love your personality and your blog even more. Thank you :)

Sharon Mayhew said...

I look at rejections as being one step closer to an acceptance. It could be worse...you didn't have anything out there for anyone to read.

VR Barkowski said...

Rejection means when success comes, it will be all that much sweeter. And if success doesn't come? Oh well, I'm still a writer doing what I love.

Pamala Knight said...

Thanks for the kick in the pants. I needed that.

Hollie Sessoms said...

Janet, you're my hero!

Patrick Gabridge said...

Amen. For me, when I get rejections in my inbox it means I've been doing my job (on the business end). Silence means I've been coasting.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Janet, seriously, can I adopt you and bring you home? We live on a lake. You don't have to do dishes, wash windows or clean toilets. You'll have your own room, as soon as we kick grandma out. Please!

Call me Mum.

John said...

I love rejection. It builds up toxic levels of angst which I directly inject into the characters.

Soon, every character is angsty, emo, and carving unicorns into their toenails with butter knives.

And I realize my book resembles nothing more than Grey's Anatomy.

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Figured out that mystery before I started reading the blog. LOL

Now, let me get back to my writing so I can receive more rejections. :-)

Jack Roberts, Annabelle's scribe said...

Point taken.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

There's only one way to stop getting rejection letters... Stop writing.