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gothicangel
02-08-2011, 09:23 PM
After reading a thread in Rejection and Dejection, I thought I would pose this question:

Is the first rejection the hardest?

It was for me. It went along the lines of 'men won't buy this, and women won't read a male protaganist.' Looking back now [this was in 2002] I would laugh it off as an essentialist view of crime fiction, but back then it hurt. What probably made it worse I had been really successful with my poetry - never rejected and won competitions without really trying.

Any other thoughts?

Mr Flibble
02-08-2011, 09:26 PM
Women won't read a male protag? That's news to me...


And it's kinda hard. Yes and no? You get more used to it, but still some sting more than others, depending on how they are worded (so form rejects barely raise a ripple now, but a personal reject can sometimes sting because of what it says, because it's personal.)

gothicangel
02-08-2011, 09:34 PM
Women won't read a male protag? That's news to me...



It threw me as well. :D

Still have that letter, from a top UK agent too. I might use it for leverage one day . . .

I've had plenty rejections since, none of them hurt like that one though.

amyashley
02-08-2011, 09:36 PM
Some rejections sting badly even when you know they are groundless. It's a little like breakups. Even when you know a relationship needs to end, it still can bite. Although agent hunting isn't anything like dating, I think the emotional impact is similar since your emotional investment in your novel can be extreme. Reactions can seem ridiculous, but you have to give yourself room to feel. Get it out and groove on.

Just because it is a business doesn't mean you are going to act like a robot. The thing to keep in mind is that you can control your actions. Lashing out at agents and posting vitriol in public places bites us back. We need to act like adults but that doesn't mean we can't FEEL like adults too.

amyashley
02-08-2011, 09:37 PM
So freaking stupid. I read books with male protags all the time.

Ryan David Jahn
02-08-2011, 09:40 PM
I was fourteen or fifteen when I got my first rejection letter and felt pretty good about it. I'd written a story and rewritten it and sent it out with a SASE and got a form rejection a month later with a hand-written note on the bottom asking me to submit again. It made me feel like a writer. This was what writers did.

What got to me was the piling-up of rejection letters over the next few years.

C.T. Richmond
02-08-2011, 09:41 PM
I'd have to say that my first rejection hurt the most as well. I remember getting so excited to open the email--surely the agent loved my query!--but it was a form rejection. My eyes immediately sprung with tears.

Deep inside, I had held onto the crazy notion that my road to publication would be easy. Find an agent? No problem! Get a book deal? Sure! But that form rejection brought me back to reality. And it made me realize that getting published was going to be a LOT harder than I had thought.

Phaeal
02-08-2011, 09:49 PM
My second partial rejection hurt the most because I had erroneously decided this agent was THE ONE. Nope, she didn't turn out to be Neo, and I was crushed. However, I learned the danger of emotional over-investment, and now the most I do is snark privately at the Rs before tucking them away in the ever-expanding accordion folder.

;)

Which reminds me. I have a short story to resend today...

Libbie
02-08-2011, 10:09 PM
Women won't read a male protag? That's news to me...


Me, too! Pretty much all my favorite books have male protagonists.

Yeah, I think the first rejection stings the worst. After that, you start to get a tough skin about it. The first time my finished novel was turned down by an editor, I was kind of bummed out about it. But after that, I sort of had fun with the rejections. Most of them were complimentary about one aspect or another of my writing or of the story, and it was cool to pick out the positive things that were said by these big editors. :)

I guess it's all in how you choose to look at it.

gothicangel
02-08-2011, 10:30 PM
Me, too! Pretty much all my favorite books have male protagonists.

Definitely the most bizarre rejection. I do tend to gravitate towards male protaganists. :)


But after that, I sort of had fun with the rejections. Most of them were complimentary about one aspect or another of my writing or of the story, and it was cool to pick out the positive things that were said by these big editors. :)


Same here. I have one rejection from another top agent who said it was a pity he was rejecting the book. He's at the top of my list when I start subbing the new book this year. :)

Renee Collins
02-08-2011, 11:20 PM
My second partial rejection hurt the most because I had erroneously decided this agent was THE ONE. Nope, she didn't turn out to be Neo, and I was crushed. However, I learned the danger of emotional over-investment, and now the most I do is snark privately at the Rs before tucking them away in the ever-expanding accordion folder.


I SO agree about placing too much hope on your "Dream Agent." Like Phaeal, my hardest rejection ever was when said "Dream Agent" rejected my partial. And this was after she had nearly offered on my previous work, but passed, and asked me to "definitely" submit my next work.

I have to admit, that was the one time I've cried over a rejection.

Jamesaritchie
02-09-2011, 12:10 AM
I had quite a few acceptances, both for short stories and novels, before I received my first rejection, so there was no pain, but just from talking to writer, it seems to me that the pain keeps intensifying as a never-ending string of rejection floods in.

The first one hurts, I guess, but two hundred in a row without an acceptance seems to be completely demoralizing. I'm sure I couldn't have taken something like that.

gothicangel
02-09-2011, 12:18 AM
I think having been successful with poetry made it worse. I naively believed that I could easily turn to novels and think I would be just as successful, as quickly as it had come with poetry.

kaitie
02-09-2011, 12:55 AM
For me it wasn't. The first didn't sting very much, and even the first full rejection wasn't bad. The two worst I've gotten were actually after I'd already been querying for a few months, and that was based on the personalized nature of them more than anything.

Jess Haines
02-09-2011, 01:00 AM
I must be the exception. My first rejection was actually the kindest of the few I received, and the least hurtful, because it was very encouraging. I still follow that agent's blog regularly (whereas the others are no longer on my blogroll).

KTC
02-09-2011, 02:08 AM
My first rejection came after a few successful publications, so it was something I always expected to get eventually. It didn't hurt at all. I thought to myself, 'well...finally!' I felt more like a writer when I received that rejection than I did when I received the previous acceptances. (-: The hardest rejection is the one you want the most...not the first.

amrose
02-09-2011, 02:23 AM
Actually, I think it was my tenth or eleventh that got me down. Don't know why but all of a sudden I got depressed by it.

The first one I was excited by because I felt very writerly.

Anne Lyle
02-09-2011, 02:27 AM
I haven't received any painful rejections yet. I guess my first R was when I was 14-15 - a friend and I sent in a script to our favourite TV show, and we got a kind letter from them and signed photos of the stars :)

Fast forward a great many years and my first agent rejection was from someone I met at a conference whom I knew was way out of my league - and again it was a kind personal rejection, complimenting my work and wishing me luck.

What will be painful is if I start getting rejections from people who've expressed interest in seeing more of my work - because it's hard not to get your hopes up, once you're past that first hurdle.

fireluxlou
02-09-2011, 02:35 AM
I haven't received one yet as I haven't finished my first draft but I'm sure it will sting like a bitch when I get it back because I place too much emotional investment in everything. But tbh I won't feel like a writer until I get at least 10 full blown rejections :P.

MJNL
02-09-2011, 02:44 AM
What will be painful is if I start getting rejections from people who've expressed interest in seeing more of my work - because it's hard not to get your hopes up, once you're past that first hurdle.

Exactly.

My first rejection didn't hurt in the slightest--actually, I probably would have keeled over if it had been anything else. I knew I was new and learning, and that rejections were part of the learning process.

It wasn't until a professional expressed interest in a short story that a rejection hurt--the next one I received from her. Because I'd suddenly developed an attitude of "I've got this, no prob." I needed knocked down a peg.

One hasn't hurt since.

blacbird
02-09-2011, 03:10 AM
No. The 100th in a row does.

After that it gets worse.

Polenth
02-09-2011, 09:29 AM
The first rejection was more "woohoo, I'm a writer!", so no, it wasn't the hardest. I think the hardest ones are where they criticise me rather than the writing. When rejections are about the writing, it might sting sometimes, but writing can be improved. When the rejection is about me... there's not a lot I can do about that. Fortunately, most personal rejections stick to talking about the writing.

blacbird
02-10-2011, 01:40 AM
My first rejection came after a few successful publications, so it was something I always expected to get eventually. It didn't hurt at all.

I'll bet getting that Nobel Prize notification the same day she received a rejection on something helped Pearl Buck get over the sting, too.

AlwaysJuly
02-10-2011, 03:45 AM
The one rejection I've gotten that stung a little was the form rejection off a full request. Just because I had my hopes up, you know?

Normally rejections don't bother me that much, they do cause a little self-doubt as to whether I'm doing something "wrong", but I accept it as part of getting my work out there. But I think it's likely to hurt more in the future when I again have my hopes up.

Karen Junker
02-10-2011, 04:58 AM
I read books with male protags all the time too.

The nice thing about a rejection letter is that you can use it to get your PRO status with the Romance Writers of America, should you happen to be a member.

I've received a few rejections and was disappointed. But my most recent submissions were either published or sent a contract to be published (I didn't take them up on it). I'm in a weird boat of not sending things out so I don't get the rejections lately!

Jamesaritchie
02-10-2011, 05:38 AM
This has been posted before, but for those who haven't seen it:

http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Reject.html

Toothpaste
02-10-2011, 05:41 AM
I dunno, I suppose the first one stings, but then there's still the hope that eventually you'll get the "yes". After more and more rejections and as options slim down, that's when a mild panic can set in and each new rejection hurts more than the last.

Still. In the end, there's nothing for it but to keep on keeping on, and working on another project at the same time does wonders.

PoppysInARow
02-10-2011, 05:47 AM
No, actually. My first rejection was a sigh of relief. My very, very, very first response to a query, I sat and stared at it for a while before I got up the nerve to open it. I was really relieved when I found out it was a rejection. I had wanted to be a published author so badly for so long that I really wanted to work for it.

And I did. Still am. And will continue to.

The first rejection on a full hurt. That one actually got me bumed because he rejected it so fast. :( I don't mind so much now. Full rejects sting, but after a while, you get used to it.

blacbird
02-10-2011, 07:30 AM
This has been posted before, but for those who haven't seen it:

http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Reject.html

Great. That means we're sending our stuff to idiots.

Karen Junker
02-10-2011, 07:44 AM
It was 1968. Consider the times.

scarletpeaches
02-10-2011, 07:49 AM
Not for me, it wasn't.

My worst rejection came last year; it wasn't that severely worded I suppose, but it was ouchy. A lot of it had to do with things I had going on in real life at the time, too. Bad timing, a little insulting in its phrasing, me not being well and having other things to cope with.

My very first rejection, when I was nineteen or twenty, was surprising rather than hurtful. I was sure my words were Golden Prose, yo. If only I'd had AW back then. You guys would've kicked that shit out of me, quick smart, and deservedly so.

Phaeal
02-10-2011, 06:35 PM
The nice thing about a rejection letter is that you can use it to get your PRO status with the Romance Writers of America, should you happen to be a member.


Wow! That's cool. To get into SFWA, you have to have a pro sale to even make associate and three pro shorts or a pro novel to make active.

I could get into RWA, oh, a few hundred times over. ;) Unfortunately, I don't think I have anything that qualifies as romance.

Jamesaritchie
02-10-2011, 06:52 PM
It was 1968. Consider the times.

Yes, that was 1968, but you can find similar examples for every year since. Even really great stories receive rejections on a regular basis. It's all about fit. Left Hand actually sold that same year, so the times didn't stop the right editor at the right publisher from buying it.

Karen Junker
02-10-2011, 10:49 PM
I could get into RWA, oh, a few hundred times over. ;) Unfortunately, I don't think I have anything that qualifies as romance.


RWA will take you as a member even if you haven't written a romance. I joined when I first started writing because the members are very helpful people and they do lots of education about writing and the industry. I joined my local chapter, too.

Jamesaritchie
02-10-2011, 10:55 PM
RWA will take you as a member even if you haven't written a romance. I joined when I first started writing because the members are very helpful people and they do lots of education about writing and the industry. I joined my local chapter, too.

I was a member for a while. As you say, everyone is helpful, and some great benefits come along with membership.

Skye Jules
02-11-2011, 07:21 AM
I was already so full of what the industry expects that when I did get my first rejection, I just shrugged and moved on. Granted I never went back to that story, but it's not because of rejection: I just didn't care about it anymore. Plus, I wasn't that great then. I've improved greatly since then.

Shadow_Ferret
02-11-2011, 07:37 AM
Is the first rejection the hardest?


Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them.- Isaac Asimov

amrose
02-11-2011, 08:36 PM
RWA will take you as a member even if you haven't written a romance. I joined when I first started writing because the members are very helpful people and they do lots of education about writing and the industry. I joined my local chapter, too.

I just attended a meeting for my local chapter a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if Romance is my thing or not, but I want to join just because it's a warm group of writers. I suggest anyone go and check out your local chapter even if you write a different genre.

Victoria
02-13-2011, 02:02 AM
This has been posted before, but for those who haven't seen it:

http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Reject.html

I loved Left Hand of Darkness, even though it was a forced read in a college course. Got an A on the response paper too. Go figure.