Form Rejections

I know that some people hate form rejections, loathe their quick formality. They all run along the same vein: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to consider your work. Unfortunately... Whenever you see those words, it's like someone knocked the air out of you. The hope dies just a little.

Now here's the kicker: I like form rejections. Wait, wait. Before you go thinking I'm a freak or a glutton for punishment, let me explain. I like form rejections because they don't leave you hanging. Some agents - more and more, actually - don't respond at all if they aren't interested in your work. I think that we, as writers, should be grateful that an agent took the time to notify us of their choice to pass. They took the ten seconds out of their busy day so we're not sitting around wondering, waiting. Sure, they're not personalized. Form rejections are honest, and, yes, they hurt. But I think it hurts more watching the days go by without any response at all.

When an agent passes we have so many questions: Why? What was wrong with it? What can I do to make it better? It's hard not to bother them after that experience. But we have to try and look at it from their point of view: personalizing a form rejection is encouragement. For anything, really. An argument, a plea to revise and resubmit. So I understand, and I'm grateful. Plus - and maybe this is just me - the hurt aspect of getting a form rejection starts to fade after you get so many. So there's something to look forward to!

What are your views on form rejections?

Dealing With Rejection

We've all dealt with rejection at one time or another. And if by some miracle you haven't yet, I can promise that you will at some point. It's hard to take and the hurt can linger for a long time if you let it. There's not much you can do besides ride out that pain - maybe not what any of us want to hear. But I have a few things for you to think about until it fades.

It's not about you.

It's about something you created. Okay, still not great to hear, but it's still important to know, because here's the big point: Your writing is always improving. So when you get a rejection, know that you can always try again, and the next time might be different. The agent isn't out to make you feel miserable or to make you feel so horrible you give up. It isn't about you, it's about the craft that we're all constantly working on to improve.

It isn't the end.

When we fall, it's so important that we get back up again. Because even if we don't reach that ultimate goal - an agent, publication, whatever it is - we still benefit from pushing on. We grow stronger, we learn. And learning from rejection doesn't just apply to writing. It can be applied to life. I realize this may sound like preachy, but I honestly believe it. Every time I saw those words: Thank you for the opportunity to consider your work, but... I just got more determined. I just wanted it more. I just worked harder. Like I said; it can make you stronger. If you let it, it can also do the opposite. It just depends on how we choose to respond.

It's one opinion.

Maybe your writing is ready for submission. Maybe that agent really isn't the right fit for your work. It doesn't hurt to go over your query again and send it to someone else. Okay, if you are getting the same responses over and over, then you know you're going to have to do more than reread the query, but in the beginning it could just be that you're querying the wrong people.

Rejection sucks, put simply. But it doesn't have to be looked at as a bad thing. So even though a door is closing, there are other open doors and, hey, maybe the door previously closed will crack open again in the future. (I just got a little dizzy from this. Sorry.)

Anyway. Just wanted to share my take on this, since, quite honestly, I've dealt with it a lot. This is one area I will admit I know much about. And for those of you who are feeling discouraged, or have had one too many of these rejections, read this. So, now that I've hopefully given you something to think about... I'll step down from my pedestal.

See you all later in the week!