If there is one thing I’ve earned through the process of writing thus far it is thick skin. I have only been submitting my manuscript for around three months. I’ve received eight rejections and about half as many no-replies which in mathematical terms is equal to a rejection. I remember waiting so long for my first reply that I was thrilled to get my first rejection. It was a form of communication, from a real agent! I’ve become interested in the different methods of rejection. Most are polite form letters that gently regard the sensitive soul of the author. One even mentioned the name of my book on lovely parchment. It was a beautiful sight. I found that the initial luster of receiving a piece of paper touched by the determiner of my fate had faded. I grew tired of the delicate dismissals and found myself wanting a good reaming. Tell me WHY! And here it came, in the most mild of forms. My most recent rejection was more direct – “I didn’t connect with your writing.” At first I responded by shrugging and quickly closing the message but I was surprised by the emotions that followed. I burning sensation – was it embarrassment? The urge to cry? Anger? Perhaps all three combined. I had to open the email and read it again….and again, trying to read into the words. I don’t know which is more torturous, not knowing at all why you’ve been rejected or being given only a glimpse of why you been rejected. It’s that feeling you get when you ask your best friend, “Does this make me look fat?” and there’s that cock-eyed pause before the answer.
Rejections are the growing pains of an author. When you start to look at them less as rejections and more as a shoe fitting, the process becomes more tolerable. You might try on twenty pairs before you find those Jimmy Choos that are both fabulous and comfortable! When the process is over I may resemble a thick skinned Armadillo but I will be the Armadillo with super stellar kicks!