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On Rejection

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Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

I recently saw a tweet (I wish I could link, but I can’t refind it) where a writer posted her list of rewards. It was something like:

1 rejection = cake

10 rejections = a new notebook

50 rejections = a new outfit (for the book tour)

100 rejections = a writing retreat

I like it because it reframes rejection.

The legendary Lucy from Bang2Write told me that it’s nearly impossible to sell your first book. You’d have to be a genius and, let’s face it, I’m no James Joyce. Which is fine, by the way. I have no need to be “the best” or “the greatest”, not even the “best selling”. I want to publish my books and have readers, but mostly because I think there are no stories like mine out there. Or at least, I haven’t read any.

When Lucy told me that basically there’s very little chance I can sell The Mommy Manual, something clicked. It was like when you’re at the optometrist, and she switches the lens and suddenly you can see. I realised that this wasn’t a “get published” exercise; this was a learning exercise. A good result of me sending out The Mommy Manual will be if I learned how this process works, how to craft a query letter, what agents like and don’t like, who answers “sorry, it’s not for me”, and who lets you languish. It was a change in expectations.

I’m now not expecting The Mommy Manual will be published, not in the next year or two. I’m expecting my next book to be better, and to write it faster. I’m expecting to have a list of agents I like enough to send them the next book. I’m expecting to have lots and lots of cake over the next year.

Rejection is a part of this business. A lot of writers I know talk about it. Being rejected means the timing isn’t right, or you haven’t convinced the right people, or you haven’t even found the right people to convince, or, sometimes, it means your writing isn’t good enough yet. But most of all, it means you’re in this crazy business of telling stories.


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1 komentář

Caroline Studdert
Caroline Studdert
08. 12. 2021

Gal, thank you! Another really good one for me, who like many people I think, dreads rejection so much I'd rather not try. It's an excellent formula for turning the whole thing round, I will definitely use it.

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