Monday, 7 December 2015

The bitter pill of rejection

Rejection is a dirty word to aspiring authors - and all the top authors have experienced it before getting an agent/publisher. We all know about J.K Rowling, that example is quite legendary; William Golding's book Lord of the Flies had been rejected 20 times. And John Le Carre was rejected and was told "he had no future".  So this just proves that the gurus of the book industry aren't always right -they can be dead wrong. And most of us unpublished authors always use this fact as a crutch, especially when one gets a kick in the teeth via a short, albeit robotic letter which was copy and pasted in an email and sent to us, and it all varies to being very cold to atleast warm - unless we get a feedback, to us it always looks like it has been served cold.
   My first adventure thriller had taken me three years to write, and I definitely felt like Ben Hur after the chariot race when I had completed it. In my mind I thought: yeah, I'm going to impress someone, cause I believed in my book. Maybe I was naive. But I always believed that one has to be hopeful, but perhaps I was too hopeful. On October 2014, after years of slogging with my manuscript, I sent it to the agents - mainly in the UK - and I thought I would get a full manuscript request - so I waited and .... Progressively, on each week, the rejection letters kept piling up, killing my hopeful attitude dead. I did get some feedback, however minuscule, but rejection, no matter how it's dressed, is rejection. For my second book, I was hopeful but overly so - the bruises attained from my last setback dampened it a little, but I sent the submission to 28 agents - not all in one go - and the answer was the same as the last.
   To be honest, with my second set of rejections I felt very dejected, annoyed, and downhearted. Perhaps, it was a confirmation that there's something wrong with my writing, or its not what they're looking for. Whatever reason it is, it's not a good feeling, its a very gloomy feeling; sometimes I felt that getting a date with Scarlet Johansen was much more likely than getting agent.
   The question is: how do we cope with these feelings and not throw in towel. Most experts would say, don't take it personally, and just write your next book. I agree with this advice 100 percent. What made John Grisham, John Le Carre and J.K Rowling eventually overcome rejections? Persistence. And that's what I'm doing; I just concentrate on my next book whether than being bitter, and remember, the publishing business is a business - they aren't charities. The unfortunate fact is that not every one of us can get published, but the thing to also remember is that no one knows their luck, not until they try it. But the one thing that spears me on is my love of creating new plots and characters - if we try to remember what had made us write in the first place, then that would be a great help.
   Also what can help to make you feel that you aren't alone in this quest to find an agent is by joining a writers forum, or tune into social media, converse with other aspiring authors who have tasted the bitter pill of rejection. Or read author interviews about their journey to publication.
  And another thing to consider is self-publishing - before, if you got rejected by an agent/publisher it was the end of the line, but self-publishing is an avenue that can allow us to reach a readership. I have personally decided on this venture, and hopefully I'll have an ebook out on amazon.

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