About Me · Writing

Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Do all things shine? Because I’m having a really difficult time finding the silver lining in rejection letters today. Yes, I could go back to a couple of posts ago and see that– on that day– I was okay with the letters of doom.

Not so much today.

I’m the type of person who hopes for the best but prepares for the worst. So last night, when I posted my prediction for four rejection letters today, I was preparing myself… I was kind of joking.

It’s not so funny when it all comes true. All morning, I kept checking my email. By 2pm, I had all but given up on hearing from any of the 50-ish literary agents I have pestered in the past week or two. I checked my mailbox as I left for work. What awaited me? Yeah.

Three rejection letters from New York, all uniform in the self-addressed-stamped-envelopes I had included with my queries. I cursed those damned envelopes. If I get one of those, I know that the agent had no interest. There’s really no point in opening them, as I’m discovering, because all the letters are impersonal apologies.

“Dear Author,
I apologize for the impersonal nature of this letter, but I don’t feel that your project is a good match for our company. Because of the sh!t-ton of queries we receive, it is impossible for us to write a more personalized response.
Sincerely, No-Longer-Potential-Literary-Agent”

I open them anyway, though, because I keep hoping someone will say something along the lines of “your query sucks, this is what you should do differently,” or “I read this exact plot last week, start over.” But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

So anyway, back to the three rejection letters from New York. I grabbed them out of my mailbox and took them with me to my car. I opened each one and read the letters inside. Most are old photocopies with faded logos. I’m talking super impersonal… and after I spent countless hours going through the varied, specific requirements of every single agent and preparing my packets on bright-white 24-lb paper using my laser printer (yes, they said not to print on inkjet printers). I printed labels. I stamped them all. I protected the edges of the envelopes as I took them to the post office (those still exist?!) and weighed each one individually. I did everything they asked.

Not to mention the fact that I wrote three novels that the vast majority of readers have not just liked, but loved.

Sigh. So anyway. Three rejection letters in my mailbox. After I read the letters in my car, I thought to myself, “When’s the fourth one coming?” Literally twenty seconds later, my iPhone dinged, notifying me of an incoming message.

Number four stared back at me.

Now, last night after I posted my self-fulfilling prophecy on Facebook, one of my friends scolded me, telling me not to put that negativity out there. I’ve read the Secret. I don’t know that I believe in that, but I do know better. I deleted the post, hoping to take it all back, but that obviously didn’t work.

So back to my original question. Do all things shine? Is there good in everything? Because it’s my personal motto. I’ve always been able to find some positive thing to focus on in every situation. This is getting tough, though. One of my co-workers said, well you’re just closer to 150 rejections… he thinks that’s how many I’ll need before I get an acceptance.

It was funny at first, but as I inch closer to 150 rejections, it makes me question everything. Are the novels good enough? The queries? What can I do differently?

How can I make my novel SHINE?

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