Friday, March 5, 2010

What a Difference a Nice Rejection Letter Can Make

I recently sent the first 3 chapters of Homer and Rosie to 3 editors who attended the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic conference in Arlington last November. The first 2 haven't responded but the editor who would have received hers last, sent a nice note back. Granted it included that she didn't have the space in her small imprint to include my MS but that was something I already knew. Even as the kids and I kissed each of the envelopes for goodluck before slipping them into the post office mailbox, I knew it would be rejection letters in my mailbox.

The main reason I know this is because I haven't sent it out nearly enough. Maybe to 5 agents and these were my first round of editors. But, also, because the tale is not going to be an easy sale. My middle grader includes talking animals. Something that is taboo these days but I didn't care because it was the story I wanted to tell. And, although I am sure it could still be edited a thousand times, I'm proud of it. It's my first novel and I actually finished it. That's a big deal to me.

As my kids kissed those envelopes I know what they were thinking. Macy: "Please let Mom get this book published so I can get a dog, finally!" (We have to buy a hypoallergenic dog due to my husband's allergies and those suckers are expensive) Julian: "When are we going home so I can play with my pirates!?". I was thinking: "Please let me actually receive the rejection letters". Yes, that is what I was thinking. Well, I did have one positive moment. But, the letters are really what I was hoping for because honestly, I didn't receive responses from most of the agents I sent to on round one.

But, here's the best part of the letter. It wasn't a form letter!! I know this because she referred to the conference, suggested it would be great to meet at another, said my work had merit and that she hoped I found a home for it. Now, I'm sure all these phrases are ones she has used thousands of times. But, it gave me hope. And, it also brought back the wonderfully inspiring memories of attending my first writer's conference.

And, that's a truly great thing. I have the silly letter stuck to my bedroom mirror next to my husbands gift tag that came on my netbook this Christmas which read, "Finish those books hon." Whatever it takes to keep you going, right?!! I remember reading Stephen King hung his rejection letters all over his bedroom as a kid. Works for me!

I'm looking forward to hanging those rejection letters everywhere. That way, I know I'm a little closer to actually being published!


  1. Ah! There's nothing like a personal rejection. I think we all remember our first. Mine was from Alison Keehn at Barefoot Books and I was ecstatic!

  2. I cherish my rejection letters. I've learned something from each and every one of them. The personal ones are especially nice.

  3. This is how it goes for all of us at the start. Good luck. Maybe you'll get something far more positive if you've honed your craft, but if you do get a rejection may it be personal and detailed! Fingers crossed for you and thanks for saying hello on my blog!