Finding Your One True Love During the Submission Process
Submitting your work can feel like plucking petals from a daisy — He loves me. He loves me not. It’s the ultimate dating game and actually, for me anyway, it’s sometimes more like He loves me not. He loves me not. He loves me not… Well, I can pluck petals until I’m blue in the face because I’m a romantic and I’m looking for nothing less than the perfect match.
No one likes getting rejection letters but I doubt there’s ever been an author in the history of authors who has managed to avoid one. Unless I’m soliciting a market that I have good reason to believe will love me back, I honestly welcome a good rejection letter. The way I see it, once we’ve scratched each other off our lists, I’m one step closer to finding true love.
In the early stages, it’s easy to doubt yourself. Maybe I need more lipstick? I’ll think. Or, Why did I come on so strong? I go out the door with a hopeful smile and this really cute scarf flung around my neck and when the first person doesn’t whistle, I’ll admit the truth, it smarts a little. I’m reminded that the world is brimming with all kinds of beauty and I might not appear to be as special as I think. But then I’ll also remember that love is complex and if I want to find the real deal, I will need to be patient. I’ll need to persevere.
Some will drop out of the dance, that’s a given. Some will run off at the first sideways look and change their perfume. It’s always a little hard to decide when the time has come to take a new approach because there are no concrete rules to follow. Everyone has a different opinion about how many He loves me nots should be tolerated before it’s time to put on a new dress. I base it on the individual project and how well I’ve done my homework when it comes to finding Mr. Right. Before it gets to that point, I read all professionally written rejection notes like this:
Please forgive this very general observation but time and the sheer number of raving beauties I have to choose from prohibits me from responding personally to your numerous and wonderful attributes. Suffice to say, I prefer red heads.
I’ve known plenty of people who will stomp their feet in anger at the unfairness of it all at this point, and bitterly exclaim that love sucks when really they haven’t even gotten to the love part yet. They’ll viciously rip another petal off their flower, forgetting that anything worth having takes some effort. It’s easy to become discouraged. It’s easy to forget that some guys are just legmen and your strong suit is your ass. So why would you want a legman, anyway?
If it comes to that, even a shoeboxful of rejections can be a positive thing if you try and learn from them. Don’t let a lackluster query hold you back forever. Comb out the tangles and try again. If your story strikes too many people as flabby, jump back on the treadmill and tighten it up. And if the color you’re wearing right now is getting you nowhere, why not try blue? It really brings out the sparkle in your eyes.
Having been rejected a few times in my life, here’s what I believe: Rejections make the whole experience that much sweeter when that box of chocolates finally arrives from the one who is meant for you. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but try and embrace those rejections a little. At the same time, don’t give them too much of yourself. Save that for the wedding night.