My self-publishing journey: Handling rejections
So, everybody loves you.
You’ve always been a superstar on social media and treated like a major celebrity at almost every social gathering you go to.
In fact, when you posted a photo of your homemade cupcakes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you’ve earned over 500 thumbs-up or LIKES from your social media friends raving about your awesome, fantabulous, are-you-kidding-me-no-one-else-is-as-talented-as-you creativity.
So you got excited, created an event and hosted the best cupcake party you could put together in the history of OMG-it’s-so-cool-my-jaw-dropped-I-can’t-believe-I-was-invited cupcake parties ever.
But guess what, out of the 500 people you had invited, only 20 showed up.
You felt really embarrassed and upset as if you had just been kicked right in the face.
Well, if you were only not as sour as the unripest greenest tamarind in your Hold-Up-I’m-Not-Ready-Yet garden of woes, you would have considered the hundred million other reasons why your cupcake party flopped and that only 50 million of them had to do with what you’re truly sour about - meeting the scariest, snottiest R in the ultra limited alphabet of crazy-popular people: REJECTION.
This scenario could very well apply to aspiring writers.
If you’re an aspiring writer who thinks the world will drop everything for you when you’ve made the announcement to launch your first attempt at completing a manuscript, book, essay, blog or any piece of content, then you must not have gotten the memo.
Unless you’ve already built an audience of strong faithful fans sometime in your past endeavors, here’s the hard truth.
Not everyone you thought would care about your work actually cares.
Hard pill to swallow
Simply put, if you’re an aspiring writer and you can’t handle the big R, then you should not even think of writing that first word on the blank pages of your dream manuscript.
Because rejection is part of a writer’s life and you’ll experience loads of it throughout your journey.
And don’t say you’ll hide or duck when it’s about to hit you.
Because no matter what you do, it will find you.
What about rejection?
Rejection can happen at any stage of your writer’s life.
It can strike right when you’ve first declared your intention to write, when you’ve gathered the guts to actually write, when you’re already deeply immersed in your writing, as you start looking for literary and film agents to peddle either your finished manuscript or budding story ideas, as you submit your portfolio to potential clients, as you pitch your writing to publications, as you present your story board, or as you promote what you think is one of your best achievements in life - your very own piece of content.
And the list goes on.
Rejection will come in many forms, sometimes sneaking up behind you when you least expect it.
It may look a little something like these:
Rejection letters from literary agents, editors, creative directors, clients, publishers
Cold shoulders or blank stares (whichever come first) from your friends and family who do not support or believe in your writing endeavors
Cold shoulders or blank stares (whichever come first) from strangers who do not have the time of day to read, view, listen, buy or even ask what you’re trying to say
Fluffy who tore the edges of your manuscript not because he thought it’s useless but because it looked really chewy good
You’re not alone
As a freelance writer, I’ve had my share of rejections ever since I started as a newbie who thought she could write about anything under the sun and up to now that I’m more seasoned and have a few writing successes under my belt.
Some rejections I’ve tossed and hurled on my imaginary therapeutic wall while anticipating the most satisfying crashing sound (also imaginary) that came back to my ears three seconds later.
Some of them I’ve kept with a heavy heart and placed in my Rejection Box to collect and inspect when I felt strong enough to take a second look, relive the painful moments all over again, and hope I could, at least, learn from the experience over time.
And I did learn something over time.
I learned that rejection is not personal.
It’s just part of the process.
Because rejection happens even to the best writers in the world.
In fact, it has happened to the great writers we now celebrate, not just once but countless times.
Did you know none of us would have experienced the brilliance of Harry Potter, Carrie, Little Women, The Jungle Book and all the other classics if J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and other brilliant authors gave up on their dreams to write when their work was ignored or thrown in the trash many, many, many times?
Here’s the thing
To the newbie writers, listen up.
It’s not a party out there.
It’s a bed of roses with thorns.
Lots of them.
But who cares?
As Guy Kawasaki pointed out on APE, “Writing … isn’t an easy process, and neither is it always enjoyable, but it is one of life’s most satisfying achievements.”
Are you in or out?
So back to the cupcake party that flopped.
If you’re one of those who can and will move on after hosting a cupcake party that ninety five percent of your invitees did not attend, and if you’re one of those who would choose to indulge the gracious five percent with the awesome cupcakes you have worked so hard for that your no-show guests will never ever enjoy, then welcome aboard.
You’re already one step ahead of the rest of the aspiring “Tough Enough” writers of this world.
Grab your pen and paper.
Writer has just become your middle name.
This blog has also been published on Medium. See the article here.