Finishing my first book felt like such an accomplishment. I still remember printing off those almost two-hundred pages and staring at them stacked up on the kitchen counter. And then I began querying. After a month or so the form rejections started rolling in. Those weren’t so bad. It was the few requests for pages that turned into full request that then eventually turned into rejections—those were hard. The waiting months for a no also sort of stunk.
With my second book I received a few more full requests and a lot more rejections. I started to view the rejections a little differently. Some were very short, and some included a few lines of feedback with specific references to the story. I more carefully researched agents, and in the process gained a lot of advice on improving my craft. I joined a critique group, revised, and sent that novel out again…with the same end result. Only this time, I got many more requests for pages and full requests. At least, I thought I was making some progress. I’m not sure if I was learning to handle rejection better or if I was able to better manage my hopes. But one thing was for certain, I was getting better at writing.
My third novel went much the same as my second with one big exception. One of those request for pages turned full request led to a yes! I was offered representation on the Friday before Christmas of 2017 and signed the paperwork to kick off 2018.
After months of revision, I’m about to go on submission, and I’ve been thinking about all that rejection. It feels a lot like querying again but with higher stakes. People say it just takes one yes. But in my case, it took three novels, over five years, close to one hundred no’s, and about twenty-five maybe’s to get to that yes. I know my learning relationship with rejection and failure isn’t over, but I’m super hoping we can take little break.