Yup. You read right. I’m on a quest for 50 rejections of my middle-grade novel. This is my wild idea for querying that I mentioned in my last post.
I’m not a big fan of querying. It’s not the process that bothers me, it’s the self-doubt that seems to tag along with it. With querying, I am very, very wobbly. I’m suddenly out of my creative zone and in a business zone. It’s not that I don’t believe enough in my book or myself. It’s the how can I talk about this to other people and make it sound as awesome as it does in my own brain? Whenever I start discussing a story idea, I get frantic, afraid someone will think it’s stupid.
But I write stories and I want to share them with people, so I’m kind of responsible for digging that hole. It’s up to me to figure out how to make it work.
The problem I faced in the past was that I quit querying after a few rejections. I won’t go into all of the nitty-gritty of my self-sabotage, but trust me when I say it’s pathetic. The bottom line, I discovered recently, was that I never told myself what I would do when I got rejections. I knew I’d get them. What I didn’t know is that they’d lay me out flat. And because I didn’t set myself a specific battle plan, it was easy to turn tail and run.
Enter 50 rejections.
You’re probably thinking, “Yo, Kate, why not just go for 50 queries? Why seek out 50 rejections?”
Ah, my dear Padawan, this is called reverse psychology. By aiming for rejections, I won’t be afraid of rejection. If I’m unafraid of rejection, I’ll keep querying. 50 rejections means I’m not letting myself stop after 1 or 12 or 25 rejections.
Plus, this strategy forces me to send out more than 50 queries because not all agents respond to a query. They remain silent, and we’re supposed to take it as a “pass.” For some of us, that doesn’t fly. What if they never got my query? What if they sent a response, but it got lost in cyberspace? And anyone who read this post will know why I’m particularly sensitive to this very-real, very-horrifying possibility.
Now, before you think I’ve fallen completely off the turnip truck, I want you all to know that getting rejected isn’t my ultimate goal. Getting an acceptance is. But as I’ve noted in past posts, I can’t get a publishing deal unless I put my work out there. And that’s where I keep self-sabotaging. I get nervous, and I pull the plug on the querying. Well, no freaking wonder I haven’t gotten very far.
It’s like fishing. I’m hoping that by casting my query out there at least 50 times, I am more likely to get a bite. More likely to reel in a winner.
Every once in a while, I will post about my quest. Where I’m at in my head and in my querying list. Maybe I’ll even learn some tips that I can pass along.
After 50 rejections, I will re-evaluate my query and my book. Hopefully, I will get some personalized rejections that will explain to me what isn’t working — and I can make some changes and hit the querying trail again with another 50.
Okay, rejections, bring it on!