Monday, February 11, 2013

Rejection, Thick Skin, and Remember Winston Churchill...

Winston Churchill?  What?  Standby - it will make sense in a minute...

Whenever you "put yourself out there" - someone will appreciate your work, and someone will not.  Rejection may (and typically) does happen.  The concept to be understood is that YOU personally are not being rejected, the work is.  That is not an easy concept, since many of us personify the work (whatever it may be).  It may be a written piece, a monologue, an audition, a look, a song, a board presentation, cookies for the church bake sale, a dinner party, or a painting.  All pieces of one's soul - offered up in a way to another person or persons for view, critique, audition, acceptance, and judgment. 

The "work" may be embraced, lauded, accepted, and praised.  Hurray!  The fireworks fly!  A trophy is awarded!  All is well with the Universe!  However - the "work" may be dismissed, distained, judged to be awful, and summarily rejected.  Thank you for playing - there are some lovely parting gifts at the door...Now - get out...Hard to dump a slump when you get a sometimes gentle, sometimes not, kick in the teeth (or other body part) when the rejection fairy comes to visit. 

For me - lately I have been facing more rejection than acceptance.  I know it is part of transforming and trying new things, but some days, it is a challenge to have a thick skin. 

One of my recent projects is retooling my nonfiction book with a goal of publishing for an upcoming event where I may actually be able to (gasp) sell books to the participants (what a concept).  To do that, I must finish the work, obtain representation, go through the process, etc. etc. etc.  I reached out to some agent contacts including information on how I am building my platform and many other positive developments.  And then it came - the email:

"thanks for touching base. I recall meeting you and being impressed with your story. I do think this is a hard category, and even though you have established a platform, I think I would need for it to be even stronger to be interested. Perhaps as the blog gets rooted and you have more TV appearances, etc., it will the right time for me to review your work."

There it was.  Rejection - gentle, constructive, and very nice, but rejection nonetheless.  Apparently in order to be an author, I must have more TV appearances - which is fine because I would like that anyway and it would fit my goal of inspiring people.  Tough one to swallow that was, but I took it in the best stride I could.  It actually helped me let go of needing to be accepted so hard by another person, and to seek out and learn more about the new world order of self publishing.  A win by way of a loss. 

There have been a lot of tales of great rejections that led to great success and have inspired many (like me) to keep going, not only in the publishing world but also in other genres. 
  • Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek which has spent months on The New York Times Bestseller list had 26 publishing rejections.
  • Jack Canfeld and Mark Victor Hansen, responsible for the wildly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books were initially rejected 140 times
  • Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series had 9 rejections from literary agents, and then…well, there were a few book deals, and a couple of movies...
  • J.K. Rowling, author of all those Harry Potter books, was rejected 9 times for the first book, and finally
  • Oprah was fired from one of her early anchor positions after being labelled “unfit for TV” (can you imagine the endless dripping egg on the face of that TV executive?)
And as for Winston Churchill (told you I'd get there) - I offer two quotes to consider about thick skin, rejection, and carrying on (how British...)

1.  "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm".
2.  "If you're going through hell, keep going".

My modification on that last quote - if you keep getting rejected, keep working at it, or turn it on its head and figure out a better way! 

Someone will love your work, and /or you will love it enough to self-publish!  (Amanda Hocking's story about self publishing and selling her 1 millionth book for Amazon Kindle has definately caught my attention).  Marilyn Monroe was dismissed from 20th Century -Fox because producers there declared her "unattractive".  She did alright after that...

Keep on keeping on.  Difficult though it may be some days, let nary a rejection keep you from the slump dumping destiny that is yours today and every day.  You are fabulous, creative, amazing.  Not everyone will think so, but what matters is that you think so of yourself.

Keep going....and thank you Mr. Churchill.



1 comment:

  1. Terrific post - am reposting on my blog, - with credit and a link, of course. Thanks for sharing this and hope the future posts are "I got its!"