Philosopher Alan Watts wrote a book a several years ago that inspired me immensely entitled, The Wisdom of Insecurity. In it he speaks about how backwards principles play a role in all our lives. I have discovered that this backwards, reverse-style of thinking plays a role in writing especially in the query process.
If you spend enough time around authors they will begin to talk about finding a publisher and then the talk turns to the debate between whether you should search for an agent. The one thing common in these two topics is the comment most authors make about “rejection” letters. I have a semi-long history in sales and so a few things come to my mind when I hear talk about rejection. I am certainly stunned to hear that anyone keeps their rejection letters. Why would you do that? I suppose there’s a bit of inspiration to be found there, that is, by goodness, I will show the world what they missed when I get my Pulitzer prize. I guess if this scenario played out it would be kind of inspirational for others to see and hear about. I DO know that many people find a certain amount of passion to succeed when told they are no good at something. I know that if my grade school teachers were to hear I’ve become immersed in the world of writing and publishing it could not be more shocking than saying I’d become an NBA basketball center. I was tutored in English for years and years, writing was absolutely not in my future at age ten. This is one of those backwards principles, inspiration through failure.
However, I don’t know that collecting your rejection letters is really that useful. I would suggest from a sales point-of-view that getting a rejection letter is worth being happy over. Why? Well, in sales you know from that start that perhaps six to ten percent of those you contact will buy what you are selling. Therefore what you are aiming to do is speed through the no’s, for the sooner you can get them out of the way the sooner you can get your sale. I would urge you to think of submitting your writing in much the same way. What you are trying to do is find the publisher, or agent that is right for you. The sooner you can weed out the rejections the better. Thus, embrace your rejection letters for you are that much closer to getting your book accepted.