Thursday, September 08, 2011

HOORAY! I’VE BEEN REJECTED! And rejected, and rejected, and…

Current Project: Proposals
Status: Getting there
The Master of Rejection

A long time ago, in another life, I worked (briefly) in telephone sales. If anyone had asked me what the worst job I could imagine was after slaughterhouse worker, I would have said phone sales. Ironically, there I was, learning how to handle rejection in spades.

You know what? It really wasn’t that bad. 

Before each call, I smiled to make myself feel more positive. I didn’t want my negativity to taint the calls. Most people politely declined if they were not interested. A few kept me on the line because they were lonely, but had no intention of taking the bait. And some were interested in what the company had to offer. I think that smile carried into my voice, because I had really good sales numbers, in spite of my inner doubts.

I firmly believe that projecting a positive and confident attitude is key when pitching face-to-face. Like the smile on the phone, confident body language is contagious. It inspires confidence in the person listening to your pitch. 

Even if you’ve connected with an industry professional on a personal level, be aware that the decision they made to reject your submission was not personal. 

Once in a while, someone would hang up on me mid-sentence or yell at me for interrupting their favorite TV show. Having always hated being on the receiving end of telephone solicitors, I understood the hang-ups were not personal and the yellers had issues I didn’t want to deal with (so I hung up on them.)
My 1st Rejection Letter!!!

Agent or editor rejections are not personal, just as hang-ups weren’t personal.
Any agent or editor who treats you unprofessionally isn’t one you want to work with, believe me. Ignore everything they said/wrote and give thanks they are not involved in your professional life!

My supervisor gave me a perspective on sales pitches that translates nicely into pitching or submitting a book. “Every no is one step closer to yes.” 

Memorize this truth, post it over your desk, tattoo it on your forearm, scrawl it across your rejection letters in permanent ink—do whatever it takes to internalize this gem of wisdom.

You’ll be glad you did.


Genene Valleau said...

Well, your title really caught my eye, Sarah! What a delightful way to look at rejection: "one step closer to yes!" I've always considered myself an optimist, but not to this extent. :)

I do try to be politely firm with telemarketers by saying a cheery "I'm not interested but thank you for calling" just before I hang up. I too consider this one the most thankless jobs there is, but great training for dealing with rejection.

Thanks for the chuckle and the thoughtful perspective!

Sarah Raplee said...

Genene, You are the sort of person I liked to get rejected by when I was a telemarketer, lol.

If I made you laugh, then my work here is done! Thanks for commenting.

chanceofbooks said...

I'm totally getting that tatoo Sarah! Great blog!

Sarah Raplee said...

Atta girl, Bethany! That's the spirit!

Paty Jager said...

Great advice, Sarah!

Diana Mcc. said...

Tatoo? H-m-m, I don't think so, but I will remember your sage advice.