Rejection letters! While doing some spring cleaning last week, and getting rid of ten years worth of old Writer's and Artists's Yearbooks and Writer's Handbooks, I came across a wodge of my old rejection slips tucked into a volume from 2004.
I found it a really strange experience looking through them again. I felt sadness, because I remembered how each one of these rejections devastated me at the time, and I wished that I could reach back in time to myself then and say 'Don't worry - it all turns out all right in the end'. I felt kind of squirmy because in hindsight I know that the book just wasn't good enough, and I can't believe how kind people were about it. What I don't really feel is the sense of triumph I always TOLD myself I would feel, as an unpublished writer, when I looked at these letters as a published writer at long last. It's kind of like looking back at having had a nasty accident involving a lot of broken bones. You're glad you got through it and that you're all healed up now, but it still makes you wince a bit remembering.
This collection by no means represents the entirety of the rejections I got - I'm sure there's at least another couple of piles as big as this hidden in the back of my box files - but I thought I'd share these ones because they all relate to BLOOD MAGIC, which was the very first YA fantasy novel that I completed. So near, and yet - so far!
I also found a copy - and this must be the only copy left in existence, since I don't even have an old floppy disc with this - of the query letter that I sent out at the time. It doesn't seem like a brilliant query letter in retrospect, but I had plenty of requests for the full manuscript, so I must have done something right with it!
Some of the pile are form rejections, but I got a few personal comments, and I treasured these - even though, reading them now, I do wonder just HOW personal they were, and if all the form rejections looked like this!
I hope this was interesting, and reassuring, especially for those of you who are thinking about publication. Remember - the title of this blog post is true. Every single writer has got some of these, and they aren't the end of the world. Like a broken finger, they bloody hurt at the time, but after a year or so all that's left is the memory of pain rather than the pain itself. And with any luck, it doesn't even leave a scar!