Monday, March 21, 2011

Rejection Feels Like . . .

So yesterday I got a rejection that really, really sucked.

I'd written this short story that I had really high hopes for, one I thought was actually quite good. I definitely don't think that about most of my short stories, but this one was my very favorite and I felt pretty confident about it. I send it to a sort of prestigious magazine (that would totally score me membership points for SFWA) and I got a response from one of the editors saying she loved it and that it was getting passed on to the second level of consideration for the next issue. I was very excited, and I waited several weeks for a response, my anticipation getting higher with each day that went by without a response (they say not hearing back is a good thing when it's a fast turn-around market like this one was, because you're being seriously considered the longer you wait ).

Then yesterday I got some really upsetting news by the way of family. Not a death or illness or anything like that, but definitely something huge and something that I think is pretty awful. I was very upset about it. I went home and logged onto my email to tell my brother about it since I doubted he'd heard yet, and waiting for me was an email about the short story.

I clicked on it, and a tiny bit of hope fluttered inside me, but (I swear, sometimes I think I'm psychic) I really knew already somehow. And yeah, it was a rejection. A form rejection, no less, which is always tough after a very nice, very personal note from an editor from the same magazine.

So it sort of sucked. I think it felt like, to borrow an analogy from this, that I was opening a box on Christmas morning and I thought it was something I'd been hoping and dreaming for, and instead my pet hamster was inside. Dead.

NOW. I'm not trying to whine about this. Am I sounding whiny? I know agents often go off about whiny authors on their blogs, and believe me, I get that rejection is part of the business. I totally get that, and to be honest it has gotten a lot easier for me too. I didn't cry. I sort of shrugged my shoulders and moved on. The family thing was definitely bringing me down much more than the rejection. But combined they were sort of a rough set of disappointments, you know?

Instead of whining, I'm trying to sort of cheer myself up. Sometimes I have a darker sense of humor. So tell me. What does rejection feel like to you? Be colorful.

I say rejection feels like getting sat on by an elephant. While you're also on fire. On your birthday. Oh, and he totally squashed your ice cream cone with his foot, too.

See? I feel better already!


  1. Rejection feels like being covered slowly in mud.

    Also: Your story was good. You have good instincts! It just wasn't what they were looking for, and you know that b/c you passed the first round, and that's what the first round is about. Being good or not.

  2. Thanks, Jaimie. I should frame the note from the first editor, because it makes me smile every time I read it.

  3. Sounds like the story is great - just maybe not for them! Definitely frame the first letter!

  4. Sorry about the rejection, Katie :-/ I'm glad we talked about it though


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