Yesterday, I Got Rejected

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Yesterday, I got rejected.

Cue Randy Jackson.

Every week, when American Idol aired from 2002-2014, you could hear Jackson’s uniquely monotone rejection voice crushing the hopes and snuffing out the dreams of many aspiring singers and artists on this very successful reality singing competition show.

But this post isn’t about him. And its definitely not about the amazingly hilarious memes that have been solely created in honor of these famous six words.

Anyway, let’s get back to my story. But in doing so, I must back up a bit.

Over the course of maintaining this blog, I’ve chronicled my journey towards becoming a published author. I’ve had to alter my language when speaking about my writing. I’ve adapted my words and have begun stating, “I am an author”!

Can you believe it? Well I hardly can sometimes despite the fact it’s true and despite the fact I have yet to be formally published.

To date, I’ve written three children’s picture books celebrating the African American experience and currently am in the process of shopping one of these books around to publishers. I guess three books under my belt is all the proof I need of being an author, right?!

Last summer, I sent a flurry of submissions to various agents and publishers in hopes of someone falling in love with one of my stories as much as I have. I’m hoping they’ll take a chance on me so I’ve been going for it.

However, I have yet to be so lucky as to have this happen and instead have received rejection after rejection.

Well, my rejection yesterday came in a sort of matter of fact way. My family was loaded up in our blue minivan headed down the highway to Nyla’s two month check up. I was in the midst of some pretty important Facebook stalking internet research to find the name of a person who I had a very encouraging conversation with the day before about my writing.

That was the moment the fateful email notification disrupted my hot pursuit of said individual. Surprisingly enough, I received an extremely polite yet very direct rejection letter from one of the publishers I sought out over the summer months.

The funny thing is I had actually forgotten about this publisher in particular because so much time had passed. In the publishing world, I’m learning that if more than three months goes by without a response, you can pretty much count your submission as a no-go. Most likely the publisher has moved on and is not interested in publishing your manuscript.

Truth be told, I’ve gotten pretty used to this. I’ve been at it since April 2014 and I know how the game goes.

But yesterday felt a little different.

In the mere seconds between seeing the notification pop up and opening the actual email, I already figured it was a rejection. This lack of hope struck me as odd but I didn’t linger there.

However, in the wee hours of the next morning as I sleepily nursed my eight week old, my mind went back to that instance of premeditated defeat. I had to tweeze it apart and find out what was really going on.

Hence the reason for this post.

I think what was at the heart of my assumed rejection before the actual rejection was the  fact that I’ve grown so used to this process. As I mentioned before, I’ve been formally writing for almost four years and am getting pretty familiar with the word “No”. The way I usually get it goes a little something like this:

“Dear Courtney,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript The Rumble Hunters, unfortunately we have decided not to pursue this to the next stage.”

…Blah, Blah, Blah…

And in those particularly exciting instances, there’s the all too familiar chirping of crickets I hear from non-responders altogether. *insert sarcasm*

I’m learning that along the road to success, rejection of some kind and in various forms is to be expected. It’s just apart of the journey. But for me, because I’ve experienced it time and time again, edit after edit, following late night writing sessions and early morning proofreads, its becoming normative.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel defeated. I don’t want to quit. If you would’ve checked in with me last spring, that might have been a different story. Thankfully, by God’s grace, I’ve found a way to get out of that funk.

What I am saying is that rejection is becoming something I expect. That may sound depressing. But its really not, just hear me out.

At some point last year when I was discouraged and feeling like, “What’s the point?”, my loving hubby and amazing sis encouraged me. They reminded me of the dozens of times J.K. Rowling was rejected before Harry Potter made the slightest splash.

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This motivated me.

In the same fashion, the rejection via email yesterday motivated me once again.

The point of all this isn’t to celebrate my rejections. Rather, I’m celebrating the fact I still have the courage, endurance and motivation to scout out another agent or publisher, and open up The Rumble Hunters document in Word to have at it once again.

So here I go. I’m back at it today and am hoping for the best while bracing for the worst. And trust me, I’m gearing up to fully celebrate once I receive that needle in the haystack of good news when it comes through my email notifications.

And guess what, you guys will be some of the first to know!

Thanks for reading. And if you like what you see, go ahead and hit that follow button on the side. Who knows, if you don’t, you might just miss out on the chance to celebrate once my manuscript strikes gold!

Blessings,

Courtney

P.S. – Here’s the rejection letter just as a reminder of what my fuel will be for the celebration at my big publishing party.

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