I got my first rejection letter last week.
Obviously that was not the reply I wanted although realistically it was what I expected. My first book was written, rewritten, edited and polished before being sent off for agents to glimpse at. One amongst all the thousands of other manuscripts they get sent, only a few of which they can actually take on.
The standard advice for writers submitting a manuscript is to do your best, send it off and then start the next project. It stops you brooding or obsessively checking your email or wanting to phone them up to make sure it has been received. It turns out however that starting a new life and trying to organise things like schools, jobs and everything else is quite a useful distraction from waiting to hear from the agents. The weeks have flown past in a blur of activity and adjustment with me only occasionally wondering how long it will be before I hear.
So now, here we are, the first rejection letter has arrived in my inbox. Polite, to the point and very matter of fact but never the less a rejection. A year of work and hours of writing and editing. I should probably feel more disappointed but really it is an achievement in its own way. I actually finished a book and sent it off to several agents and this little email acknowledges that work.
Some people estimate that there are thousands of unfinished manuscripts sat in drawers, filing cabinets and boxes all over the country, started but never finished. If you then think about all the people who say ‘I’ll write a book one day’ the numbers go even higher. But I did it. I actually finished it and sent it off.
I have also learned a lot about the submission process from this and about writing a synopsis. If nothing else, these will be useful skills for the future. If the worst that happens is a polite email saying no what have you got to lose? I’m not pleased that it was rejected. I’m not celebrating failure but I am marking a milestone. I have received the first 'proper' acknowledgement of myself as a writer, as yet unpublished, but you never know what tomorrows in-box will bring.