I find the most stressful part of writing, although some may argue that sometimes it’s the writing itself, is the waiting. Waiting to hear back from an agent, waiting to hear back from an editor, waiting to hear back from a publisher…it’s excruciating. And then of course, probably even worse after all that waiting, is the dreaded no…the ugly kiss of rejection. Ok, so it’s more like a kick than a kiss, but that’s just semantics.
In my “day” job, I once had a boss who said – it’s a numbers game. The more cold calls you make, the greater your chance of getting an appointment, and ultimately getting a sale. Let’s apply: if you make 10 phone calls, you may get 2 appointments, and 1 second meeting (although 50% odds is aggressive). The chances that you will make a sale on that single second appointment is slim to none. Now, if you made say 100 calls, you may get 40 appointments, then 20 second meetings, then 5 VP level “buying” meetings, and 1 0r 2 actual, honest-to-goodness SALES.
This methodology can apply to getting an agent but it doesn’t really help in getting a publisher because you’re depending on someone else to make that sale for you, which means it’s out of your hands…hence the waiting game that you have zero control over. If you’re a control freak like me, that’s worse than torture. So you pretty much have to trust in the knowledge that the agent you selected you chose for a reason – because they are expert at what they do.
On American Idol last night, Ellen DeGeneres told one of the girls who begged to stay on after she’d been cut that “no” hurts now but it’s not the end of the world. Someday you’ll look back and say, that was just one no. She’s right. In almost any walk of life, rejection is unavoidable. But the silver lining in that is that at one point, if you don’t give up, it will just be your time.