During the last several months I have been in contact with a literary agent whom expressed interest in my first novel after meeting at a conference. I like to compare these months since to a season of courting. Our first date was at the conference, second date was sending a full book proposal, third date was a lengthy phone call that resulted in her request of the full manuscript, and our fourth date included her request for me to fluff the book a little more in some specific areas. It seemed things were looking very promising. Soon, maybe we’d “go steady” — be exclusive and she’d sign me. (Pardon the cheesy analogy.)
However, this week I received a rejection email from that agent. I’m thankful she made the effort to give me some explanation. Though kind and respectful, the tone was very much the dreaded, “It’s not you, it’s me” message. The “You’re great, but…” still hurts. After all the time this agent and I spent going back and forth, the rejection is quite unexpected.
But, not all is lost. In fact, I can already see a lot of good that’s come out of this time.
First of all, I now have a finished book that’s all the more ready to be pitched to other agents and editors. The suggestions and guidance received from this agent during our “courting” has been vital and insightful.
Secondly, I now join ranks with countless other authors who’ve been rejected. I’ve earned my stripes, been to the trenches and back. It’s just part of the business of being a writer. If you write for publication, you’re going to experience rejection. Just today, I read sweet Ashley Clark’s post, Let’s Talk Rejection. She’s got some great insight on how to best deal with rejection.
Lastly, this experience brought with it a close moment with my Father God. As I read the unexpected rejection email from the agent, I sensed a palpable message being whispered over me. “Teresa, your worth does not change based on this one email.” God was there with me in that moment to hold my hand and envelop me with His comforting love. I’m not a different person than I was before that email. Nothing substantial changed. He still loves me. He still calls me to write. He’s still in control. And He still wants good for me.
At the end of the day, this one “no” is but a minuscule blip on the timeline of my life. Just because a “yes” would have felt monumental to my writing career, a “no” does not have to carry the equivalent weight.
How have you dealt with rejection in your life? When is a time you chose to let a rejection push you forward instead of back? How can I be praying for your next steps?
It’s Not You, It’s Me: Dealing with Unexpected Rejection — TWEET THIS!
“You’re great, but…” Rejection hurts, but doesn’t define you! — TWEET THIS!
“No” does not have to carry the negative equivalent weight of the celebrated “yes.” — TWEET THIS!
8 thoughts on “It’s Not You, It’s Me: Unexpected Rejection”
Teresa, I went through something very similar with “Emerald Isle”; it’s very much a Catholic story which an agent asked be recast to appeal to a CBA/evangelical audience. It was hard to do, and awkward (for me), but in the end I got the dreaded rejection (which was actually more an “it’s not me, it’s YOU”).
I was discouraged; very discouraged. But eventually I restored it to its original form, and Carol Ashby got it up on Kindle…and I’m proud of it as it stands now.
Had I been ‘accepted’, the book would have been worse, and I would have missed out on a wonderful lesson in friendship.
The biggest things can come in the most humble guises, rather like what happened in a stable in the Levant, about 2000 years ago.
Thanks for the sharing…and you know I’m THRILLED Emerald Isle made its way out to us.
😢 Feeling your pain, Teresa. To further your analogy, “Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs to find that prince.” It doesn’t make the breakups any easier, especially after that long courtship, but you already know God has your best interest at heart. He will continue to guide you to the agent who’ll be fully equipped to walk with you the entire journey.
Thanks, Lara. I very much appreciate your support and encouragement 🙂
So sorry to hear this, Teresa! But I think the way you’ve handled it is great–especially the reminder that nothing changes the worth and value God places on you! 🙂
That’s tough, Teresa, but I love your perspective, esp this part: “I’m not a different person than I was before that email. Nothing substantial changed. He still loves me. He still calls me to write. He’s still in control. And He still wants good for me.” As writers, we do so often get bad news in email–I did recently, too. It can be so difficult to remember that nothing substantial has changed. I’m glad you got that sense as you read the email, though. God is good.
Rejection is so hard, isn’t it? Particularly when our art is involved. It might be a business decision, yet it feels so personal. It sounds like you’re using this part of the journey for good. I really liked what you said about how this doesn’t change your worth in God’s eyes. So true! Thanks for posting. I was blessed by your words.
Thanks so much for sharing, Heidi. Yes, it can be hard!!