I don’t like to complain on this blog too much – I save that for Twitter! – but something lately has been sticking in my craw and I have to rant about it.
I’ve been querying agents for about a month. It’s going about as well as a first-time query can be expected. Long ago I accepted that being a writer means you will face a lot of rejection, and most of the time I’m okay with that. Other times the rejection gets to me and I throw myself a pity party and revel in my suckiness for awhile. I’ve granted myself that right. Then I move on.
What bothers me is when people try to cheer me up by saying “JK Rowling got rejected a ton of times!”
First off, I am not JK Rowling. I will never be JK Rowling. I don’t want to be JK Rowling. I want to be Nanci Schwartz, science fiction writer. (I wouldn’t mind having her money, though.)
Second, I would wager that every single writer who’s ever queried an agent or publisher or magazine has been rejected at some point or another. Probably many times. Even established writers face rejection. It’s what happens in this business.
But being rejected by a bunch of agents doesn’t mean you’re going to be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King. If you’re lucky you might get an agent, sell a bunch of books, and make enough money to quit your day job, but probably not.
I realize when people say these things they’re just being good friends and trying to keep my spirits high, and remind me that being rejected doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer. I know it doesn’t. But I’m human and sometimes I can’t help feeling depressed. When that happens, hearing about JK Rowling makes me feel even worse, because having that level of success is not my goal as a writer. It’s completely unrealistic. I see agents announcing new clients on Twitter – now that is the goal I’m aiming for right now.