Within 48 hours, I have had two pretty heart-stopping rejections and two pretty nifty acceptances? Usually they don't all come within such a brief period, but how do you handle the gut-wrenching angst of it? So far, I have been relying on Ativan and a therapist but my medical care plan is about to say "whoa." Do you ever get used to it? Does self-doubt ever recede?

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Once I submit something, I put it out of mind. Granted, it's easier to do this with a poem than a story or a novel, but I think the principle applies. I keep in mind that a submission represents my best effort at the time it was sent; no more, no less. I feel crappy about rejections, but very rarely do I abandon a core idea. If it's rejected in one place, it will be accepted elsewhere. It also helps that I'm a zine editor. I go from one side of the desk to the other. The bulk of my self-doubt comes just as I'm about to submit, when I still have control over the product, but it passes.

With acceptances, I remind myself there's always the next project in a different state of readiness.
Tis true. I celebrate with a Bailey's on the rocks.

And I suffer through rejections with a Bailey's on the rocks (actually more than one).

I think if we were prize fighters we would all have noses three-inches wide and a slight case of Parkinsons.

Seriously, though, rejection is wounding now, isn't it?

I actually turn rejection into a "I'm-gonna-show-you" rage and then when the material does see publication, I can issue a "See? I told you so." kind of response that no one hears, (except my husband, perhaps). But still, the anger to drive me, makes me get the thing done faster. I just hope I don't turn things out into the universe too soon, the other inherent problem with wanting to prove the material is good, and valid.

Right now I have two book reprint possibilities and one huge book ms. with a publisher which looks very promising. But I must admit I've pulled their chain for an answer once and am reluctent to do it again for fear the answer might be "No, thanks." and then I will have to muster up the courage to peddle it again elsewhere.

I often think about leaving this profession but I've invested so much time into learning my craft and forging an "expert" status, I hate to leave with these feelings of undoneness. So I plant my hiney in the chair and continue to look for nice people and good business.
Andrea,
I think we were separated at birth. Very similar responses -- except I go for scotch (or a really good Shiraz . . . dark chocolate helps, too).

Rage into action -- yeah.
It's definitely difficult. Some weeks more than others.
I received two rejections on a novel this week from major publishers. One gave me an "it was a close thing" and a courteous "send me the next book" pat on the head, but the other slapped me upside the noggin' as though I had taken a dump in her cornflakes. And this was an editor I had encouraged my agent to court because I really thought we'd mesh. Yikes!
Even though I try to look at rejections as simply saying "No, thanks" sometimes they definitely sting for awhile. You would think after all these years, my skin would be tougher, but every time I send something out into the world there's that little boy part of me that still hopes for wonderful, wonderful things.
This is what I am actively dreading as I start the second hundred pages. Rejections from literary journals didn't bother me so much because I could simultaneously submit stories. Sometimes to 20 places at once and usually I got the story placed before too long (although not always by any means). The crime zines are much less in number and I don't submit to more than one at a time. So I take that harder because the investment seems greater. But the novel thing is going to be brutal.
You have to learn to ignore rejections, keep things in the mail, and continue to do what you do--Write. I got through an early rejectiong that said, "I don't think this is very well written." You know what? The agent was right, although I still hold fond memories of that particular book, which we could call "Glitz" today. It is still the longest book I have ever written.

Sometimes I don't even know why the downs. All I know is what I think is crap when I'm feeking crappy, seems better when I feel better. I always have periods of self doubt, but I always bounce back from them. You have to know that things will get better--they always do.
Writers suffer from riding on a constant roller coaster of emotions - with the highs seeming to touch the heavens, and the lows scraping the ocean floor. And sometimes, just when it appears that the roller coaster is in a freefall towards a bottomless pit, you get that sudden reprieve, that hint of hope, that single sentence from an editor or agent telling you that they liked YOUR writing - and you're right back up there soaring toward the skies.

While I suspect that a good therapist would say that we'd be better off if we learned to temper our emotions and go toward neither extreme, doesn't being a writer, especially a fiction writer, mean that we think with our brains and our hearts? So maybe rejection is just one of the hazards of the profession?

I also like to remind myself that even the most successful mystery writers also have drawers filled with early rejection letters. It's a rare writer who hits it out of the park first time at bat.
My first bad review was a shock - handed to me by a bookstore manager no less. Last year got a negative review in PW and two days later got a starred review in Library Journal that said my writing was "music for the soul." Could not have paid for higher praise. I find, however, that negative reviewers are all wrong and positive reviewers understand me as well as one human being can understand another...

I do get used to it. Don't know if I could stand just all-rejection, all-the-time. I give up quite easily...

I know of writers who keep rejection letters in an album. Not sure why. I toss out the rejections and the acceptances. Keep the checks long enough to cash them.

Really one way to deal with the roller-coaster is to think of this business as a business and realize not everyone is in the market for your brand of carpet-cleaner. Next week/month/year you'll be selling something else. Maybe they'll want that.
Just thought that last line might be a little cryptic - been reading a lot of haiku.
I think the sad thing is that rejection has taught me not to be so hopeful. The old I-was-hopeful-before-and-fell-on-my-face thing has really done a number on me. Just the other day my agent emailed me to say that an editor at a large publishing house was wondering if I had anything to send him because even though he rejected that first book in the series 18 months ago, he couldn't get the characters out of his head(!) Now I *should* be jumping around the house tearing down curtains and breaking crockery and whooping until the neighbors call to complain. But I've been there before. So I wait as he sends out the new one (that I just finished tweaking). Quietly and patiently. And drink. Tequila would be my poison of choice (hey, didn't the owner of crimespace promise us drinks?)
"Really one way to deal with the roller-coaster is to think of this business as a business and realize not everyone is in the market for your brand of carpet-cleaner. Next week/month/year you'll be selling something else. Maybe they'll want that."

Excellent point, Steven. What I see as choppy and hard work to read, another editor might see as energetically masculine. (Example received today.)

What I want to know is, do authors want to be told why their books weren't accepted? I have been doing that, but is it helpful? Would you prefer a form letter?
It is helpful to be told. It is one editor's opinion, after all, but sometimes it can be something on the money, something that can be fixed for the next round.

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