Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tired today.

It must be Wednesday. Happy hump day! I can tell I worked too hard and long yesterday, but I'll get cooking here.

I'd like to talk about rejection. It's the name of the game in this business. You'll get it 70% of the time (most people would say more). From tire kickers if you offer creative services, to no thanks from publishers, to your own brain refusing to do what is obviously a good move in the right direction (but that's for another post).

Rejection is not about you. The situation just doesn't fit is all. For instance, I hand sold my first book proposal to a large publisher back in the 1990s at age 23. I wrote up a proposal, walked it to the editor, sat down in her office (at her invitation), and told her why she should publish it. And she said, "yeah, I think this is good. I'd like to present this to the editorial board."

Fast forward a few months and the editorial board (after haggling and more discussion) turned it down. The editor was crushed. I was crushed. Rejection. Suddenly, the feeling that "I'm not good enough" reared its ugly head.

Fast forward to a few months later and one of their star authors writes a book on my same subject, the house publishes it, and the book flops, I mean, flops. At the time, I was just mad, then became disinterested, and finally moved on.

Now that I think back on it, I really don't want that publisher near any of my future books or near me for that matter. I had the original idea (and true, ideas aren't copyrightable, but still! A bit too close for coincidence, if you ask me) and it was a good idea! But this publisher couldn't make it fly, and neither could their star author. I think that if I'd done the book, with my enthusiasm and passion for the project, it would have done better and yes, I tried to sell it elsewhere and I still may sell it elsewhere in the future, but the point is that rejection was part of the learning process and the growing process.

That long story aside, it seems narcissistic to continue to send out our work just to be rejected, but that's how we learn what we want and what we are capable of. If I had taken that one rejection too much to heart, I never would have written nine other books, and whipped up a new book proposal, which did get agent attention and still has agent attention. And I wouldn't even be trying to write more book proposals or asking people to co-author even other book ideas in order to self-pub. Sometimes the yucky stuff pushes you into something better.

Think about it. How are you handling rejection? Are you letting it stop you or push you forward?

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