As I settle deeply into my bear-like cave (which is my mind! Whoa…), ready to continue my long, quasi hibernation-esque meditation, tempered with perseverance and sprinkled with a healthy garnish of doe-eyed naivety, waiting for literary agents to get back to me with either good or blegh (official term) news, it has given me the opportunity to ponder my personal framing of receiving rejection.
Rejection is a part of this game, and it’s an element that I am becoming quickly familiar with. Some might say we’re becoming bosom buddies. Others would agree. Like BFF shit. In truth, I actually prefer receiving a bonafide rejection. A lot of agencies don’t have the time or inclination to send you this formal, kind announcement, letting you know that you no longer have to hold your breath on them. Because, y’know, continual breathing tends to be a good thing…
Since being officially recognised as depressed, I’ve been going through a lot of emotional introspection and reflection whilst waiting on these potential acceptances and rejections. It’s a turbulent time to be throwing yourself out there in a creative way, opening yourself up to rejection whilst trying to deal with these other elements.
I travelled back home to try and reconnect with my roots, having an awesome time and saying goodbye far too quickly for my liking, and have dedicated many accumulated hours in pondering what I want, where I’m going, and just how to deal with certain voids I have and demons that haunt me. So, when rejection e-mails come through it’s always a conflicting feeling.
Yes, I’m grateful that I’m no longer on tenterhooks and can cut the cord with that particular agency, but at the exact same time…oh man, another rejection?
And yet, recently, in the run-up to flying away, I had become the recipient to a few more…uniquely written responses.
Spoiler: still rejections. BUT, the wording, the phrasing, the intent…I believe I had just encountered the positive/negative.
Oddly, like buses (or so I hear), these +/- rejections seemed to roll into my inbox all within a pretty quick time period. Although still a polite, professional ‘thanks, no thanks, babes!’, these messages extended a message of hope. They told me that, although not right for them, that I should continue the process, that they highly encourage me to continue to submit to other agents.
What their words meant on face value is obvious. What they meant on a deeper level warmed me: keep going. Keep trying. It’s not for me, but there’s something here. This has potential. This is good – it’s just not for me. Don’t stop. Hold strong.
During the copious amounts of research I conducted, I came across multiple examples that all highlighted the same message: if the rejecting agent expresses that you should continue, then fucking do it! They aren’t saying it to make you feel better, and they aren’t saying it to protect the artist’s poor fragile ego-armour. Which, incidentally, leads to a -80% protection rating when equipped.
These responses, again all quickly following one another, helped bolster me at a time that I was on another personal downward slide. They strengthened my resolve and faith I have in my story – a story that I am so desperate to share with the world; a story about committing yourself to trying, to instigating the change you may need your life.
I am so grateful to those agents that took the extra time out to amend their responses with their words of encouragement. It meant the world to me, and the only thing better would have been a wholehearted acceptance of representation. Natch. Hell, I am of course grateful to ALL the agents that gave my query letter a moment of their time for consideration…
During my time away reconnecting with roots in far away homeland, however, I’ve not had too much to report on the agency front. Neither rejections nor acceptances have graced my inbox, and I worry that I’m entering the no man’s land that is the silent, “if you haven’t heard back in ‘x’ amount of weeks” phase of muted rejections.
I have one more wave of agencies to apply to. Once that’s done, it’s back to the drawing board once more to try and root out more, genre appropriate, agency details. That sound, though? That odd scrapping? I worry that’s the sound of me getting to the bottom of the well, desperately attempting to gather the last few drops. Perhaps there’s an oasis of agencies I have yet to discover just around the corner of my next Google search, but given the amount of agency cross over I am now encountering in subsequent searches, I can’t help but feel that my concern is warranted.
It’s a long game, this. An even longer one if all roads lead to dead ends. All of this is, of course, all the more difficult to deal with whilst engaging with my personal issues. I am undeniably terrified of what happens if nothing comes of this. If all this radio silence is because the worst is unfolding as I wait, and wait, and wait…
I was recently told by one of my best friends that they admire me for my staunch perseverance. I’ve never been particularly monk-like with patience, but perseverance? I think I’ve nailed that trait. A stubborn reluctance to stop, to endeavour onwards and continue despite the slog, even if it’s inch by painful inch. That’s me, man.
Let’s just hope that the +/-‘s return in greater number before eventually dwindling down, leading to what we all really want to hear…
Or, I mean, if we could go straight to yes instead, that would be better. Wait, can I change my answer? I want to go straight there! Hello? Dammit…