Earning My Stripes: My first rejection


Those of you who tune into my Twitter feed may have already seen my first real milestone. On Friday, I received my first rejection letter for a query re. The Elder Throne.

It was an exceptionally polite and nice rejection letter, and I wouldn’t mind receiving such a missive again from them. Obviously, the basic message was still ‘no thank you’, which led me to conclude four things:

  1. Rejection isn’t as heart-crushingly awful as I thought it would be.
  2. My fellow writer friends (notably Lucy Flint, S.E. Berrow, Julie Hutchings and Mandy Rabin) are lovely, lovely people.
  3. The Elder Throne may not be as finished as I thought it was (but I’m waiting to make a decision on that one until after I receive replies from the outstanding 4 queries I sent).
  4. I can absolutely do this writing thing.

By nature I’m a bit too thick-skinned. My apathy levels rise to irritating heights on occasion – for others – but I’ve always been pretty nervous about writing. I don’t like showing my writing to people, I agonise over wording, I feel actual shame when I spot a wayward typo after I’ve released a passage to someone. Let’s also not forget the stir-crazy instinct to bake and sew and do anything but sit-and-wait whenever I send a novel draft to my editor. I actually fret until I sternly tell myself not to be a twit. Fret! What was I going to be like if someone actually said no to me? Let’s face it, this was never not going to happen. Rejection is part and parcel of the writing/publishing life.

So, it happened, as I knew it would. I was on the lookout for signs of unreasonable responses, like shaving my hair off, leaving home to join the army, or supporting Donald Trump in whatever inane filth he’s spewing into the public realm this week. If I reacted badly, threw a monster-sulk and quit – I had to be honest with myself – I wasn’t cut out for this game.

Well, I didn’t do any of these completely unreasonable things (although, on an unrelated note, I did get a hair cut this weekend and I love it.). Instead, I tweeted my news and received lovely tweets back from the aforementioned people. I listened to some dramatic music on the train home and I ate a jam doughnut. This is how I grieve. Quietly, quickly, with sugary treats. Turns out, I can stomach this aspect of writing without turning into a complete emotional wreck. Well done me.

This morning, I started writing again and I await my other replies with a little hope and a medium-sized dollop of ‘probably not these either’. But that’s alright. It’s all a learning curve, Rome wasn’t built in a day, etc. etc. In theory, I’m already on the path to publishing. I just need to walk a few more miles.

Literary Agents found: 0

Books published: 0

Writing stripes received: 1

Go on, let me know what you think!

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