Ow: The pain of rejection

I got one of those lightning-fast rejections today that make you wince.  Don’t get me wrong, I hate the black hole of pitching, where you send endless pleas for attention into an infinitely large universe and nothing comes back.  So I appreciate something coming back.  I just wish it wouldn’t come back so fast, so that I could pretend that the editor had seriously considered my work and though it broke his heart to say no, he just couldn’t find a place for it on his list.


More painful than the fact of rejection itself is this: when I first sent this editor a partial a year or two ago, he requested the full.  Although he eventually rejected it, that seemed like the start of a beautiful friendship.  Later, I sent him another partial, which he also rejected – without asking for the full.  But at least he wrote a nice letter explaining why the manuscript didn’t work for him.


This time I got a form letter.


Which is exactly backwards.  You’re supposed to start with the form rejections, move on to the personalized rejections and finally get to the point where people are asking for the full. 


Being a writer, my temptation is to obsess over this: am I actually losing talent, the way some people lose hair?  Am I a worse writer today than I was two years ago?  I don’t think so: I’m writing more complex fiction, and I think it’s significantly better.  For all I know, that makes it less marketable.


But instead of obsessing, as I’d like to do, I’m writing my next pitch letter and sending it out this afternoon.  First, though, I’m breaking out the chocolate bunnies a little early to help ease the pain.