Rejection is what it is

And it’s not about you.

It’s not even necessarily about your work.

It can be about timing.

About platform (I hate that word but it’s a part of author life).

About relationships (or lack thereof).

About literary maturity.

About Mercury conjunct Uranus…

But it’s not about you.

Though it feels like it is.

I pretty much knew what the email was going to say. It’s not my first. Won’t be my last.

Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for allowing us to consider your query. Your submission has now been reviewed and unfortunately did not find a fit with any of our agents. Due to the time commitment and long term nature of the agent/author relationship, an agent needs to feel committed and enthralled with the work they are representing in order to do the best possible job of selling the manuscript to publishers.

Please accept our best wishes for the successful placement of your work.

Kind Regards,

Agent name here

I hand-picked one agent. There were sentimental reasons. Really, it’s a numbers game. And I haven’t played it in a few years.

I self-published the Anna series of children’s books because I wanted to plant a tree for every print copy sold. And print on 100% recycled paper. I didn’t want to have to find a publisher who understood that and was happy to share my vision. I pretty much assumed that person doesn’t exist, and being me… I like things to get done when I want them done. And I’m not afraid of education and elbow grease, so down the self-publishing road I travelled.

I’m contemplating, however, going the traditional publishing route for my yoga memoir. So I tested the water.

Well, dipped one toe in, really. The baby toe.

And knowing how small the sampling was, you’d think it wouldn’t sting when the water registered ice cold. But it still does.

And I give myself a moment to feel the disappointment fully and acknowledge the emotions tied up in this messy and marvellous game of literary musical chairs. Then I take a couple moments to take stock.

Of all that has unfolded over the years since I last tested the water.

The Anna books.

The poetry book.

The art classes to go along with the poetry book.

The new children’s book.

The art classes to go along with illustrating the new children’s book.

Self-publishing love affair.

The advanced manuscript workshop — where I have met fantastic writers and their stories, and improved my own writing and critiquing skills.

Time. To ripen. To deepen my relationship with story. To realize that aside from physical, mental and spiritual wellness, the only thing I have pursued as often and passionately

is writing.

I once read somewhere that the best thing to do when your books aren’t selling or publishers aren’t biting, is to work on your backlist.

So that’s what I’ll continue to do.

As Dory sang, “Just keep swimming.”


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