You’ve heard it over and over, I’m sure. But you really don’t want to be the author editors and agents remember for all the wrong reasons.
For example, if you get a rejection from a publisher and they actually took the time to give you a critique of your work, don’t email them back and tell them they’re wrong! They’ll be talking about you. Yes. But not in a good way.
This industry is small, and people know each other. Even if they haven’t met face to face, they will know who each other is at a convention. Do you really want to be the author they talk about over drinks when they’re telling stories of the bad behavior of writers? Do you want to be the butt of the joke? Because, as the agent or editor you insulted tells their war story about you, those listening in will be taking mental notes. Your name will be remembered, but not in a good way.
Rejection is part of this business. For me, I was more scared that I’d get an acceptance letter! I was used to being rejected by my peers by the time I finished elementary school. Take a deep breath, realize they’re not saying ‘no’ to YOU, but your story.
I know, I know. The stories we write are part of us. And it’s hard to muster the courage to submit that child of ours to begin with. There’s something I do, though, that might help you.
After I send off a rough draft to my crit partners, I deliberately wait to open their responses. I give myself at least two weeks, if not a month, to regain my perspective. By distancing myself from the emotional attachment to the finished draft, I can see their comments with a much more critical/analytical eye. I don’t instantly cringe and wonder what they have against me as a person. I can nod my head and see the point, or choose to keep the part as I originally wrote it for various reasons.
The same can be applied to query letters and submissions. We all hope the first House we submit to will offer up a contract, but that’s rare indeed. You will get rejections. Understand that now. But don’t be THAT author who can’t take rejection well. If you get a rejection that includes a critique of your work, hold onto that email. Don’t fire off an angry email immediately. Rather, a polite thank you and you’ll take their suggestions under consideration. Then wait. Give yourself that distance. Then reread the critique.
They probably had some valid points in there.
And you won’t be the laughingstock of the water cooler.
Onto other ramblings….
My photo shoot is tomorrow, weather permitting. I’ve got a friend or two coming over for moral support. This is far out of my comfort zone! However, I’ve done a lot over the last year that qualifies as that. Ever so slowly, my world is expanding to include things I once balked at. The trick is learning to be comfortable with the new while retaining a connection to the old. Have I changed as a person? Yes. But I still remember where I came from, why I started this journey to begin with.