Everyone deals with rejection. I remember when I was in high school, I had a crush on this football player. My friend was dating one of his friends, and tried to talk me up. Well, the guy actually said, “She’s ugly.”
I’m not sure what’s worse – the fact that the douchey football player said that or the fact that the boyfriend REPEATED it back TO ME. (Actually, I know. It was the boyfriend. He could have made up some dumb lie.) He told me he defended me and told the crush I was cute, but at that point, it was too late. The damage was done. All my worst fears were realized – I was ugly. And at 16 (or 17 or however old I was) I was sure that everyone would find me ugly and I’d be an awful, sad spinster for the rest of my life.
Obviously, as I got older, I got over that fear and shed the rejection, although as you can see, I still remember it as if it happened yesterday.
Now that I’m an adult, and a parent, I face different kinds of rejection. When my agent sent my proposal out to publishers, we got rejected by several houses, but we only needed one who believed our project would be successful. I have been told by several people, several times, that I got lucky because some people get rejected for years and years before being able to publish. I realize this.
When I went for my first scheduled book signing at the craft fair, I was afraid no one would want me to sign their book. I wasn’t completely right – one person bought it. I felt rejection in a way that day, but because of the circumstances of the signing (not many needlecrafters there, signing was in a hidden spot, not much advertising had been done), I didn’t feel that bad. I was able to laugh at my experience and even got a semi-funny blog post out of it.
Now, I live in a decently sized city that feels a bit like a small town. I run into people at the store all the time. I can’t go to Target without bumping into someone from the school, preschool, my old playgroup or my old mom’s group. I like this place, and it has a great feel to it. When I was at the silent auction for our elementary school, I got to talking with one of the dads, who suggested I contact our local bookseller to have a signing there. He said this bookstore LOVED and supported LOCAL authors. He suggested I bend the ear of another local author we know who’s had a signing there.
I sent her a message and asked her about it, but didn’t hear back from her. I thought about contacting the shop directly, but was insecure. I didn’t think they’d want to hear from me, or at best, would ask for my agent or publisher to set it up. So, I did nothing. Cut to – three weeks ago I hear from the author and she suggests I just bite the bullet, so I did. I sent an email asking for an event in October. I heard back from someone at the office who suggested I answer some specific questions and send them to another person at the company.
At this point, I sent the email to my agent and my publicist, neither of whom got back to me, until just this Monday. I went ahead and sent the email with a great write up of the book, my bio, my ties to the community, the fact that I wanted to do a blood drive along with the signing, and thought it was a great idea.
She got back to me within the hour, stating they were booked, and she will pass.
I sent another one asking if Sept. and Nov. were booked. She said Sept was, but she’ll “pass” on November as well, but she’d see if the smaller branch (closer to my house) would be willing to host it (although, she said, they rarely do). In the meantime, I must add, that I filled out a form on The Red Cross page about wanting to host a blood drive. Yesterday someone at The Red Cross left me a message about setting up the blood drive at the book event that wasn’t happening.
The whole thing left me feeling as bad as I felt the day that boy called me ugly. And it confirmed my fears that people don’t consider me a real author.
This wasn’t the first rejection. It won’t be the last rejection. With each rejection, I’ll pick myself up after a good cry and move on. I am disappointed that the bookstore doesn’t seem interested, but perhaps I’ll see if the smaller store would host it. If not, so what? I’ve had a few really terrific events that I can be happy about and really, that’s more than I can ask for.
****How do YOU deal with rejection? Do you let it bother you, or just brush it off? Have you dealt with any rejections that have stayed with you?