Rejection · 11 July 2008

Rejection is a funny thing. Most of the time, we think rejection is bad. Some men really do not like to ask women out on dates because they are afraid that they will get rejected. Personally, I have gotten rid of the notion that rejection is bad. This rejection of rejection has happened not because I am already married but because of my search for a literary agent and/or book publisher for a children’s book I wrote last year. It turns out that rejection is just a step on the road of life. Whatever the quest may be.

At the start of my quest for a literary agent, I wanted to check my email as soon I got home every day to see if anybody had responded to my queries. When I did not get even rejections, I started to wonder if I was even on the right path. After a few rejections, I came to dread opening emails or letters from prospective agents. Last week, I got an envelope from a literary agency whose website said that they respond within a couple months. It had only been a couple weeks and I was excited to see if I was once again rejected. I was. It was actually exciting because I still believe that I am called to write. I still believe that somebody wants to read what I write. And so I am excited to get more queries into the inboxes of another set of literary agents because somebody will eventually say, “Yes.”

I have heard it said that if an author tries to wallpaper a wall of his home with rejection letters, he will get an agent or publisher before he is finished. If I was to really try this, I would still be less than a quarter of the way on a small wall in a tiny room of the house. That is wallpapering with just the rejections for this one book.

I have actually kept all the rejection letters I have ever received from publishers of magazines and newspapers for different stories I have written. Still, even all of those would not cover a wall yet. Even a small one.

Currently, I have a physical and digital file folder with a corresponding spreadsheet of literary agents who have rejected my queries for my current book. These are not to remind me of the “failures” I have had so far. I keep them to show me how far I have come from the days when I could not finish a short story much less a kid’s book. I keep them to tell me that the road to publication may be long and arduous but I will make it to the end. I keep those letters to remind me that I will never quit regardless of how many rejections I get on the way to being published.

Rejection is not something to be feared. Whether we fear it because we have had so much of it or just because it is part of human nature is not really the point. Like any fear, we must overcome the fear of rejection by simply asking whatever question needs to be asked. We must ask whether somebody will represent our books and we must ask if somebody will go on a date with us. I will persevere in the literary arena and one day I will write a column about finally getting that literary agent and I will tell how many rejections it finally took. But do not expect a column on asking women out because I am not much of an expert on that subject. I might be able to write about confusing women’s messages though. After all, when my wife first asked me out almost thirteen years ago, all she really wanted was to borrow my pickup truck.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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