I got another rejection today. This is the second one for this novel and funnily enough, both agents loved the concept but didn’t fall in love with the writing – quite the opposite of the previous novels I queried with. I seem to not be able to put together a great concept and great writing.

One thing I’ve come to realise in my years of querying agents and publishers is that I find personalised rejections more painful than form rejections. For my adult novel, which has been longlisted and shortlisted for several awards, I’ve received a number of personalised emails (mostly from small publishers) saying that it was wonderfully written and engaging but didn’t fit their list. Quite a few were kind enough to suggest where to submit next. Sadly, all those submissions were eventually rejected too.

I know I should feel encouraged by their words but somehow I’m not. Particularly, since I queried just about every indie publisher accepting unsolicited submissions from unagented writers. Despite the novel being praised and listed, it’s still very much unpublished.

But this last rejection (for a different, MG novel) made me think about heartbreak (possibly because I’m translating a book on the topic). I know from experience that losing someone’s love is far, far more painful and can hardly be compared to having one’s work rejected. But don’t rejections break our hearts just a little bit, too? Particularly, when we get a lot of them?

Heartbreak is not just about our “metaphorically sundered hearts.” And it’s not all just about emotions either. Heartbroken people’s “cells look different; their immune systems falter; even their language skills drop off.” (from Florence Williams, Heartbreak) Especially the last one is worrisome. I can’t say I’ve noticed this happening to me, but my motivation and inspiration have definitely faltered in recent years and after all the disappointments.

It’s hard to go back to writing when the entire publishing world seems to be saying I’m not good enough. The situation right now in publishing in general is rather hostile (see Twitter and the discussion raging on there about an agent’s post belittling querying writers). I’ve been seriously thinking of giving up. I have so many other more rewarding loves and hobbies I could pursue. But I tell myself I’m a bit of a masochist. The truth is, however, that storytelling is a part of me and I can’t give it up. But I might stop querying. It would save me the heartbreak.

If you decide to keep querying: nature helps heal heartbreak. 😉

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