Well, it happened. I got back my first response from the agent queries I sent out last week. I know, super-fast, right? Unfortunately, the response was not super-positive. In other words, she said no thanks. Hey, at least she said thanks.
I read the response just before heading for bed, having received it late in the evening. Because I am an imagination junkie and cannot help myself, I had given a lot of (worried) thought to how I would react when the responses came in. My fantasies were divided into two categories; yeahs and nays. Depending on the classification the possibilities ranged from, “yes, well, I always knew success was inevitable,” (too-cool-for-success sunglasses flip/hair toss) or stoic acceptance – to the gibbering, sobbing puddle of glee (or angst) response that is, in truth, far more likely in either event.
None of that happened.
I shared the news with my husband, brushed my teeth and hair, and went to bed. No tears, no angst. Nothing, nada, zip. Ok, to be honest, yes, I was disappointed. The agent in question was my first choice and it would have been awesome had she been interested. But two phrases kept circling my brain like a warm fleece blanket in a snowstorm.
One: They will all reject you except the right one. Rai told me that as I was debating whether to even attempt the traditional publishing route and I have to say, she has a point. I believe that verse that says all things work together for the good, and I believe that God is in control. So the rest kind of follows, doesn’t it?
Two: A rejection letter doesn’t mean your work sucks. (The article I read was a bit more circumspect, but you get the point.) What a refusal actually means is that it wasn’t the right piece for this particular agent/publisher/magazine, etc. for any number of reasons. It really, truly, honestly, isn’t personal.
Like so many of the things we are most passionate about, it is the work that is most important. We need to remember that. Success as the world defines it is far less important than success as we create it. So whatever your definition, keep working towards success. And in the meantime, happy writing.