There was an article in the Los Angeles Times Friday, September 14th, about a literary agent who
was assaulted by a rejected author.
From the article: “This is how the story goes: [Pam van Hylekama] Vlieg was in her car and
an apparent stranger knocked off her side mirror. Then he reached into the car and pushed her forcefully into the steering wheel. One of the two dogs that was with her, a Jack Russell terrier, bit the attacker’s arm and he took off. (The bulldog licked him).”
Now see, I’m against that. One thing is for sure, if you’re going to be an author, you better have thick skin, especially if you start out as an Indie author, in which case your skin should be akin to an elephant’s. You’re going to need it. Rejections are a part of the game so get used to it.
Luckily, I was single for 40 years, so being a bachelor in the 80s, 90s, and double oughts, rejection for me was a common occurrence. Heck, 99% of the girls I asked out rejected me. To quote a line from the funniest movie I ever saw, They Call Me Bruce, “I’m a sex object. Whenever I mention sex, they object.”
Who knew all those years of social faux pas was preparing me to be an author. Heck, agent rejections are completely civil compared to the others. Not once have I gotten a rejection from an agent that read, “Your manuscript is great and shows a lot of promise. However, we are just not that into short, fat, bald authors.”
Take rejections for what they are: encouragements to keep trying. Sometimes it might not even be a reflection of your writing, but more to do with that proverbial decree you will often hear muttered in the industry today—platform. It might even be that good agents are inundated with a ton of submissions and simply cannot work with them all.
But, getting an agent is kind of like me finding an incredible wife. Sure, the odds were not in my favor, but as a ton of my rejection letters have stated—it only takes one.
The moral of this story is quite obvious: Always keep Jack Russell Terriers in your car instead of bulldogs.
Neal Wooten, Publisher/Indie Author/Illustrator/Cartoonist