Saturday, February 21, 2009


I was explaining rejection in the publishing world to a friend of mine the other day. She simply couldn’t grasp what a maneuvering business the writing world can be sometimes.

I asked her to imagine asking someone to dance and getting the vague reply of, “No thanks,” otherwise known as the form letter. In the writing world, if we’re lucky, we won’t get the form letter rejection. We’ll get a personal rejection. You know, the one that stings a bit more. This is the usual, “No thanks,” along with the few or many reasons WHY the person doesn’t want to dance. Maybe I’m too short. Too thin. Too fat. I smell funny. Or, and this one is the worst, I’m just not what they’re looking for right now. Sound familiar?

Funny how that form letter is starting to look better, isn’t it?

Well, I asked someone to dance the other day. I received the usual, “No thanks,” but with an added, “I’m just not what you’re looking for.”

One sentence and it seemed to make such a difference in my quiet stroll back to the sidelines.

Have you ever received a rejection like this?


Christine said...

Ah rejection. Ah I know your pain. I have been very close and then BLAH the book was returned with a lovely letter saying keep trying and don't be discouraged, but hey, I'm human. That was 4 years ago. And three books later, I am like you, still getting turned away on the dance floor.

But don't give up your dreams. It is so subjective and one day you will get that YES, dance with me letter.

And I will cheer for you when it happens.

OH, and I always do something nice for myself for trying. A reward for trying... like new shoes, or a bubble bath or a lunch with a good friend.

You deserve a reward for putting on your dancing shoes!

M.V.Freeman said...

I've danced, and gotten the rejection. "Its not what we're looking for".

Geuss they're not looking for someone dressed in plaid with pink polk-dots....

I'm with Christine, at least you got out there, put on those shoes... :)

Christy Reece said...

I've had them all. From, "I just didn't fall in love with it." to "Not for me." to "These kinds of books have a small audience." That last one puzzled me because I had no idea what the agent meant. I thought I was writing a classic romance...the agent thought otherwise.

I think my worst was a form letter with about fifteen different items and a little box beside each item. It read something like, "We won't be offering representation for one of the following reasons." Problem was, nothing was checked, so I just assumed they meant for all of those reasons. Humiliating that they couldn't even take the time to make one tiny check mark!

One day, perhaps when you least expect it, your dance will be accepted and it will be love at first step.

Keep the dream alive!

Karen Beeching said...

I've also received that checklist form letter (twenty years ago when I first started). I thought that was the most vague. I kind of liked this form letter as it was more about the agent not being right for me than my work not being right for them. It's still a rejection, just worded so that it hurt less. Go figure.

Definitely keeping the dream alive!!!