Hello Ebi! Hello Family!

It was 2014 when I first started to query literary agents and publishers. I was confident that my novel was ready to be shared with the universe. I remember sitting in my kitchen with my finger hovering over the send button and my husband’s amusement.  It took me twenty minutes to screw up the courage to send out my first query letter.

I stopped counting how many rejection letters I received – not understand what was wrong. The thing is when I look back on that day and everything else that happened afterwards, I am embarrassed to say that my novel was not ready.  When I compare who I was then to the writer I’ve become now, it’s hard to believe I’m the same person.  But isn’t that the point? We continue to grow as writers thanks to every critique, every book we read, and editor/agent that takes the time to tell you what your story lacks. Which is what happened when I turned in a few pages during Pitch Wars.

I scrambled off with my tail between my legs. Realizing (when I got over feeling broken-hearted) that their suggestions, though hard to accept were valid. William Faulkner once said, “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

I took the chance and put myself and work out there. The steps I’ve taken put me where I needed to be personally and as a writer. The ghosts of my previous rejections have been cast away, and though there may be others, I won’t take them all as a personal affront. Instead, they will be just another obstacle to discard – another stepping stone.

So how should we handle literary rejection?

  1. Try to look at the positives before the negatives. (After you wipe away the tears.)
  2. You won’t necessarily agree with all the critiques. Decide which ones benefit your story. 
  3. Move Forward!

How did you handle your first writer’s rejection? I’d love to hear about it!

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Ibukun! (Blessings)