I Am So Proud: My Very First Rejection Letter

You may have wondered where I have been for the last three or four weeks. Picture someone constantly checking email for response to my full manuscript being sent out. Counting the minutes, then the days and the weeks with bated breath. Wondering if my baby ended up on someone’s slush pile or under a pile of manuscripts on the agent’s administrative assistant’s desk.

Of course, the news isn’t good — this isn’t a fairy tale Nirvana here.

That’s right, I just received my very first rejection letter for the very first query I have sent out.

I know I shouldn’t be, but I am absolutely giddy.

(What? Did you think I really thought I was going to get a contract on my very first try? I may be a dreamer, but I’m not stupid.)

My reasoning for my glee is  many-fold. First of all, the response was sent out in exactly four weeks, a virtually whiplash-causing turnaround in the publishing biz. I’ve heard other wannabe novelists complaining of months, and months and months without word.

Second, the rejection letter was very kind. I could tell the agent in question actually read my book, from the very personalized feedback she provided. She pointed out a few obvious flaws, ones that I had been fretting over, but gave me some positive props as well.

Third, it could have been worse. MUCH worse. The horror stories are out there: boilerplate rejections two minutes after sending, thorough dressing downs.

I expect to be the recipient of many more rejection letters before someone loves my work enough to snap it up. Some successful authors, like Stephen King, endured years of rejection.

Instead of crying in my beer, I’m energized. I’m ready to take those first fifty pages and transform them into something dazzling, a work of art that will sparkle and shine, catching the eye of some lucky agent out there.


6 Responses

  1. Hi
    I too am an unpublished/prospective author and was happy to see that how positively you’ve taken the rejection. You were extremely lucky to get such great feedback from your first submission.
    Well done and Good Luck with the polishing.

  2. Congratulations! 🙂

  3. Joanne, you have such a wonderful attitude, and because of that, I know you will be successful. And I would read any book your write.

  4. I don’t even know how many rejection letters I’ve had, but I learned something from each one and always made a few changes. Now, some twenty major revisions later, I am close to an annoucement.

    Dr. B

  5. My first one delighted me. Maybe it’s the latent S&M thing creative people hold deep in their hearts? I don’t know. But I read it and reread it and thought, “Hell yeah! THIS is what all the writers I love once felt like…I’m on my way.”

  6. […] one and only non-form rejection from my one and only query was a honey. I blogged about it back at the time. It wasn’t a form rejection, but a rather thoughtful, generous email […]

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