We all get rejected. We’re spurned by a lover, we don’t get a job we want, we submit a story to a publisher and it comes back “thank, but no thanks.”
I was rejected. I sent a publisher (a new one, not one I’ve published with before) a story I’ve had laying around for a few years, and they politely declined. It wasn’t angsty enough, too little conflict, and definitely not steamy enough.
I have to say, the rejection email was the nicest one I’ve ever read. It was really beautiful. I saved it, it was so pretty. They did invite me to submit again if I had something suitable, and I’ll keep that in mind, but this particular story was meant to be angst- and conflict-free, and while there’s sex throughout, it’s not terribly graphic and certainly not the point of the story.
I sent it on to a friend of a friend to read. I want to see if it keeps her interest, if she thinks the story is marketable ‘as is.’ If her review is positive, I may very well self-publish. This story doesn’t easily fit into any one genre, and so it’s hard to sell. It’s also not something I’d write today, as my style has changed significantly since I finished it.
The amazing thing is that this rejection didn’t adversely affect me. I read the email, shrugged, and instantly started making plans to get it out there anyway, because it is well-written, and I think some people will enjoy it. I didn’t feel bad at all.
Either I’ve reached a significant level of maturity, allowing me to take a Zen-like attitude to adversity, or someone turned me into an emotionless zombie when I wasn’t looking.
I’ll let you be the judge.