Writing is a very personal and subjective profession to dive in to. It is also one with a high rate of rejection. As I stated in a previous post, 90% of submission queries are rejected. It is very difficult to keep hearing “no thank you” or “your writing style isn’t for me.” It definitely makes you question your ability as a writer, and whether it is worthwhile to keep pursuing the dream.
However, if you really believe in yourself and your writing skills, it also emboldens you to edit and rewrite and edit again until the story is complete. Below are a few examples of rejections I received when shopping my book to agents. Everyone was very kind in their responses and encouraged me to keep trying, but to be honest, it is difficult to keep hearing “no thank you.” It starts to weigh you down.
“Thanks so much for giving me a shot at your picture book. I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t connecting wholeheartedly with your writing, despite its poise and polish, so I ought to step aside, but I truly appreciate the look, and I wish you the best of luck!”
“I don’t handle rhyme. Good luck.”
“Thank you very much for your query. After careful consideration, I’ve decided that this project is not for me. However, I encourage you to continue to seek representation, as this industry is a subjective one, and just because this doesn’t feel right for me, doesn’t mean it won’t click with another agent. Thanks again for taking the time to reach out to me about it.”
All of these no’s, plus the others sitting in my email, are part of the publishing process which is scary. It is very difficult to sacrifice time away from your family to pursue something you’ve dreamed about and worked on for years. It is important to surround yourself with people who encourage you and believe in you to help make the dream come true. Some of the most encouraging people were my readers. Even though they were critiquing my work, they were coming from a place of encouragement, and a true belief that I could accomplish my goal.
When I realized I could submit directly to the publisher, instead of shopping my book to agents, I felt a sense of optimism that had been dormant for quite a while. As I said, all of that rejection takes a toll. However, when I mailed the submission to Schiffer Publishing, I felt I was exactly where I needed to be at that moment in my life. I had found an amazing illustrator, Angie Hohenadel, who captured Ramone beautifully, and I felt the story I was telling was strong and one people could connect with. Luckily, Schiffer Publishing felt the same way. It was amazing to see the following quote from our contact at Schiffer and realize all of the hard work and sacrifice had paid off.
“Your proposal has finally made it to my desk. Everyone along the way who saw it fell in love with it…”
If you are pursuing your dream of writing or any dream and have heard “no” too many times to count, my advice is to put yourself back out there. It is scary and difficult to be rejected, but the day that dream comes true and an industry professional realizes your potential enough to give you a contract, it is worth every sacrifice and tear shed. Best of luck to all of you pursuing your dream, whatever it may be.