Monday, August 29, 2011


I got my first official rejection letter from a publisher on Friday. I "do not meet their acquisition needs at this time."

Ah, well.

I thought it would sting more, really. I thought I'd be brokenhearted and downtrodden and all that polysyllabic stuff. But I'm not, really. I thought the meeting went poorly at the time; the lady was hard to read, so it felt like I rambled in an attempt to get her to react to something. Didn't work, and then I just ended up with logorrhea.

That's the technical term for "diarrhea of the mouth," if you want to add that to your vernacular. And, no, I didn't make it up.

What it really feels like is a funnel. I've been at the top of the funnel with a lot of choices (and a lot of worries to go with them). It feels like this is God pushing me down the funnel a little bit. Moving me toward where he wants me to be—where he wants me to focus. I'm OK with that. As long as I'm moving, right? Not knowing is pretty much the worst.

I've never done well with rejection, but a theater director I had in high school helped me with it. She pointed out that sometimes rejection doesn't mean you're not talented—it just means you're not what they're looking for. In theater, I'm a sidekick-type. I'm not an ingenue. Just because they don't need my type doesn't mean I wouldn't be useful elsewhere—in another show, at another theater. Or I may not fit with that director for any number of reasons. I once didn't make a show because I looked too young and they'd mostly had older people audition, so the cast was skewing older.

That's an awesome reason not to make a show.

I have to assume publishing is the same way. I just don't fit in at their publishing house, but that doesn't mean I won't be a fit elsewhere. Doesn't mean I'm lacking talent, and it doesn't mean I'll never be published. After all, I could just take matters into my own hands and make it an e-book, right? Right!

How do you deal with rejection? Assuming you've ever been rejected, that is (her voice dripping with sarcasm).

P.S. - Part of me really thinks the publishing house will just end up kicking themselves later for passing me up. Does that make me arrogant? Maybe it's just my ego trying to make me feel better.


  1. Keep the Faith!
    Hey the author of The Help was rejected around 60 times and now look at her!

  2. It's TOTALLY their loss! When I'm rejected, I tend to cry (once I'm in a private place), become indignant (screw them!), and then wonder "why me." The indignant phase always feels the best:)

  3. Rachel,

    Long ago and far away, I had a career as an opera singer. (No joke!) I was once nearly disqualified from a vocal competition because I wore a purple dress. One of the judges was an Italian maestro who was extremely superstitious about the color purple. Forget for a minute that it was a VOICE competition, not a fashion competition! All this is to say that I DID have a career, despite losing that competition, and you WILL have your chance, despite this rejection. Cuz you're that cool.

    (aka Wendi)

  4. I really like the funnel illustration. It is so true. When we start out we have the whole world in front of us and ask God what he wants then he begins to trim off the excess choices.

    I would love to say that I take that whole God pointing me in a new direction thing as my reaction to rejection however, I am a man. Generally, I just puff my chest, act like it didn't matter anyway and then, like HopefulLeigh above, I go hide and cry til it's better. More or less. Ok, I don't cry. How many people will read this? *Awkward silence*

  5. I'm glad it didn't hurt your feelings too much. And they'll totally regret it, I'm sure. :) How do *I* deal with rejection, you ask? Not the greatest. Although I'm getting better in my *old* age.

  6. At She Speaks 2010, Lysa TerKeurst said words that I like to remind myself of when I face rejection... "Sometimes man's rejection is God's protection."

  7. I'm having to learn more and more about how I handle rejection as it seems to be coming from many different places these days. I don't like it much, thank you. But, in the end, it always works out for the best. So, I, like you, am taking my 2 publisher rejections as God's graceful way of telling me, "not yet."

  8. They were looking for a Mercedes, and you are definitely a Porshe.

  9. Just remember how brave you were to put pen to paper!

  10. Consider it an honor that you heard back from them so quickly. At SS, year before last, a publisher took my proposal and I got nothing. No email, no letter, no phone call.

    I don't dwell on it much, but every once in a while, I wonder, "Are they still thinking about whether I'm worth the risk?"

    Your perspective is beautifully real. I can't wait to see what He has in store!!!!

  11. God has a place for you with this book...and yes, if that means self-publishing this one, that's what it'll mean if He leads you there! :)

    I am proud of your candor in all of this. You are handling it extremely wisely. I haven't ever dealt with rejection very well...until my own parents rejected me recently. Talk about rejection...that is a like the whole cake of rejection rather than a slice to someone like myself who put so much value in my parents. But through God's grave and strength, He has given me a peace unlike any other about rejection now. It took me over 10 years to come to this moment...and mercy, what a work He is doing now!

    I am so excited for you though, Rachel. He has an amazing journey in store for you with your book and your career as a writer. Keep up in His strength and the wisdom you were taught early on in life through theater to embrace rejection like you are now...and let it grow you instead of stifle you! I am so grateful to be on this journey with you. Your heart inspires mine to continually challenged in great ways!

  12. *grace...not grave! Arrrrrgghhhh..... iPad!


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