And we have our first rejection: Let’s rip that bandaid right off!

So, the first submission is a rejection.

Therefore, the slogan of today is:

Accept failure as part of the process.

The one thing I am curious to is: was it the writing or the query that was bad?  Or was it “good” and just “not good enough?”  Alas, that’s the rules of the game, apparently.  You never get to find out!

So, whatever.  I’m coping with chocolate frosted butter cake because, not surprisingly, I’m actually quite bummed about this.  And because you can’t go wrong with anything that has “chocolate” and “butter” in the title.

So today I’m a failure.  It’s kind of like that time I failed at being a vegetarian.  I decided I wanted to go vegetarian because I read Toxin by Robin Cook and was convinced I was going to get trichinosis or e-coli or whatever.  I ended my relationship with all things meat.

Now, I don’t mind gardenburgers.  I don’t mind soy or tofu either.  But I had to draw the line at vegan hot dogs.  The vegan hot dogs tasted like dirty feet smell, and oddly had a cheesy after taste.  Which was disconcerting.

Bit by bit I started missing red meat.  And then I started feeding myself falsities:  “You can still be a vegetarian and eat fish.  Well.  Fish and turkey.  Because turkey is white meat.  And chicken.  That’s white too.  Well…you might as well stop being a vegetarian and just say you don’t eat red meat.  No red meat because that’s where the e-coli is hiding.”

And then, one fateful day in November, after almost ten months as a faux-vegetarian, my mother-in-law made a pan of seven layer dip.  Seven layer dip with delicious, taco seasoned, beefy goodness.  Without going into the unladylike details, The Hubs, his brother, his brother’s girlfriend, and I ate the entire pan in one evening.  The entire 9×13 pan.  Okay, so there may have been beer involved.  Actually, I didn’t like beer at the time so it was probably more like mass quantities of wine coolers (Jamaican Me Happy, anyone?) for me.

And thus ended my vegetarianism.

So today I’m the failed vegetarian of attempted publishing.  And that’s okay.  Tomorrow I’ll go back to being hopeful and positive or whatever, but today I’m going to drown my sorrows in chocolate frosted butter cake and be all bummed and fragile.  We all get one of those days.  But hey, the first one is over and done with and boom.  The next one won’t be as bad.

But we’ll just go ahead and say the next one is “that bad” to come up with a decent excuse for cake.  Ha, like I really need a valid excuse to eat cake.



  1. I’m sorry. 😦 At least you’re handling it well with cake! I wish I could tell you it gets easier, but I won’t. Every rejection stings, though I guess you get used to it. I’m sending you positive thoughts and more yummy, gooey chocolate virtual cake!

    1. Aw, thanks!! I’ve gone to conferences where authors talk about being rejected hundreds of times. I’d better start working out more or buy bigger pants, lol! I actually feel better having blogged about it. Like it’s out of my system. Rejection out, chocolately cake in!!

  2. Very sorry to hear it. Chocolate definitely helps, and so does a little wine (or is that whine?). Yes, I wrote on this topic this week — rejection. It hurts not matter what level. Feel bummed today, then dust off and keep on going.

    1. Thank you so much! Both wine and whine help, lol! I ate waaay too much cake and cheese–obviously not together, tempting as it was–and felt a lot better yesterday. I worked some on my current WIP and then started something new. It definitely helped!

  3. Hang in there. The rejections will always suck, but you just gotta keep plugging along! I’ve got eleven years (might even be twelve) worth of proof. Still, I keep writing and keep submitting. . .. And keep a stash of chocolate close by!

    1. Thank you so much! When I was at the writer’s conference, I took a workshop on rejection. One of the things he said that stuck with me is that you’re allowed to be upset. I think in times past I tried to just skim over it, like it was no biggie. But it kind of is a biggie. It’s like someone rejecting one of my kids. But, I wallowed in a bummed state and ate mass quantities of cheese and cake. And then I moved on. We’ll see what happens!

  4. Big hugs, Heather. I don’t mean to sound cheesy, condescending or patronizing but it’s a rite of passage. You’ll pick yourself up, and then you submit to someone else all over again. It’s hard to know what was at fault ~ the query, or the first three chapters or whatever you needed to send ~ but I wouldn’t beat myself up about it. Put it down to experience and keep going. One thing that helped me get a bit more traction was to phone agents before submitting to see if they were accepting submissions, to introduce myself, have a little chat and get a feel for what was wanted, and ~ importantly ~ who I should address my submission to. This excercise taught me a lot of things, notably that agents seemed to care first and foremost about the one-sentence summary and the unique selling points. So I started leading with those and got a bit more interest and a few requests for full submissions. I can’t begin to pretend that I was successful ~ I am unagented to this day ~ but I do think it helped, and the experience *certainly* helped when I started submitting to publishers directly. 🙂 Enjoy the cake! XX

    1. Thanks, Nicky! I do think it’s a rite of passage and I guess it’s part of the process. I took some time to be all bummed and whiney, but the next morning I went back to work and even started something new. Liking a particular book is subjective. I don’t get all hot and bothered by the book “The Killer Angels,” but The Hubs raves it’s one of the best Civil War books he’s ever read. I adore “The Great Gatsby,” it puts him to sleep. The worst part about the rejection maybe wasn’t so much the rejection itself, but the fact I also got results back from a writing contest I entered: and, although I made it to the final round, I was informed that my book started slow, didn’t “feel” like it took place during the Civil War, and wouldn’t grab the attention of an agent. However. The judge didn’t like historical fiction. So, I took it with a grain of salt and moved on. Seriously, I feel like my writing muse is more like the Weeping Angels from Dr. Who–sweet and innocent until I turn my back and then WAM! Carnivorous.

      1. LOL–true! Can I just, for a moment, admit that I’m the biggest dork and after the season finale last year, I was nervous walking into the kitchen in the dark. You know….just incase there was an angel waiting for me. Sigh.

  5. I got a rejection letter from Kathleen Zakhar…it said

    “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to consider WALKING FOR FREEDOM for possible representation and for your patience in awaiting a reply.

    I enjoyed taking a look at your project and believe you have a fun story on your hands here with many great elements: a really strong voice, an important moment in American history, a memorable cast of characters, and beautifully lyrical quality to your prose, further enhanced by a great use of repetition. I particularly appreciated the somewhat didactic tone, presenting interesting information in a way that will captivate your readers. You’re clearly a very talented writer and though there is much to admire, I’m afraid I don’t love it as deeply as I would need to in order to represent your manuscript in today’s competitive marketplace.

    This is just one opinion, of course, and hopefully another agent will have a different perspective. Thank you again for thinking of me and Harold Ober Associates. I wish you the best of luck with WALKING FOR FREEDOM and all your future literary adventures.

    Best wishes,


    It inspired me…so I will continue…now I am working on a series for early readers…Maybe I will have better luck

    1. Wow, that’s awesome! That’s the kind of rejection that doesn’t hurt so much and, like you said, is inspiring. I wish that more agents could respond like that. It would feel less like “terrible writer!!” and more like “sorry, it’s just not my thing.” I think sometimes it really just isn’t exactly what the agent is looking for, but they are so busy they just don’t have time to respond with more than a form letter. Thank you so much for stopping by and posting comments–it has inspired me to press on!

      1. We have to keep on….I am a teacher and I taught students with disabilities how to write to pass state assessment. My students kept saying you write good stories…you should write books. So I am trying to do it. One agent told me that my character was two dimensional…I was so happy because it was not one dimensional…I will keep trying.

  6. Enjoy your cake and eat it too.
    I think from rejection can come some positive things that you may never have otherwise attempted. As a result of one rejection, I ended up writing radio. Sadly at the juncture of another rejection I had a scheduled sporting event (indirectly related to the book) that got cancelled.

  7. Saw this tweeted by The Romanceaholic.

    The first rejection is NEVER a failure – you just won the right to become PRO! You, my dear, can now be officially be considered a ‘writer seriously pursuing publishing’ by the RWA *and* the governement! Celebrate reaching that milestone 🙂

    Not making light of the stomach-dropping awfulness caused by your first Big R. It sucks, and I’m sorry. You earned a little cakey goodness 🙂 But take it from someone who has a stack of rejections filed away (the first of which arrived almost exactly 3 years ago), and who now has an A-list agent and five books contracted by a Big Six publisher – Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your happily ever after. Keep going! All you’re doing is eliminating the *wrong* agents for you before finding the *right* one!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! They really mean a lot to me. It was a brutal week for rejection–agent rejection and terrible results from a writing contests I entered. I’m trying to develop “thick skin” when it comes to harsh critique and rejection. Your story really inspired me and gets me excited to see what the future holds! That said, I gained three pounds from too much cake. I need a better outlet for the next rejections, lol!

      I think one of my favorite things you said was that I was eliminating the wrong agents before finding the right one. I’m going to hold that close as the submission process continues!

      Thank you again for stopping by!

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