Rejection Is Not For Sissies
I’m on vacation… but due to the wonders of modern technology, the blog is NOT on vacation. This is a re-run.
“When am I going to stop feeling so bad about rejecting people?”
My husband muted the football game. “What?”
“When am I going to get a thicker skin? When is it going to get easier for me to tell people no?”
Okay, I probably should’ve waited until half-time. But I’d just written a rejection letter that was painful and it was bothering me. My compassion for writers sometimes makes saying “no” difficult.
Remember when parents used to say “this hurts me more than it hurts you” and then deliver a whopping spanking? Well, I can’t say it hurts me more than the person to whom I’m delivering the big “no” blow. But it does feel bad.
Anyway, hubby had to sit through my agonizing and analyzing. “I hate ruining someone’s day. And right now, with the holiday coming… I don’t like to ruin someone’s holiday.”
First he told me to get over myself, I’m not so important that I can take credit for ruining someone’s holiday. Fair enough. Then he said, “You know, every bit of MY job is about someone else having a bad day.” (He’s an EMT and firefighter.) “When I show up,” he said, “it’s because they’re having a really bad day.”
Right. And your point?
“I don’t cause their bad day,” he went on. “I’m just there for it. I’m there to help.” Uh-huh. “And YOU don’t cause a writer to have a bad day, either. You’re just the messenger, delivering some hard truth. And you’re there to help, too. Sometimes you help by telling them a truth they need to hear. And other times you’ll help by improving their manuscript or by selling their book to a publisher. You don’t cause their good days or their bad days. You’re there to help. Just like me.”
Huh. Wisdom from the cute guy on the couch. I have to admit, it made me feel better.
So if I ever send you a rejection letter, don’t imagine me sitting at my computer with an evil grin and a high pitched laugh, hissing maniacally, “Tee-hee-hee… got rid of another one!”
Seriously. I don’t relish the rejections. Just part of the job.
Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent affiliated with WordServe Literary Group in Colorado.