Here's a great letter for any of you who would like to set the record straight about who's rejecting who….
Dear Esteemed Editor,
Thank you for your letter rejecting my book proposal for publishing consideration with your company.
Unfortunately, I have received an unusually large number of rejections from many well qualified publishers and I’m afraid that with such a promising number of rejections from which to select, it is impossible for me to consider them all. After careful deliberation, and because a number of publishers have found my book even more unsuitable, I regret that I am unable to accept your rejection.
Despite your company’s outstanding qualifications and extensive experience in delivering rejections, your rejection does not currently meet my publishing needs. As a result, I will be publishing my book with your company on the first of the month.
Of course, circumstances change and a use for your rejection may arise in the future. I will keep your letter on file in case my requirements do change.
Please do not regard this letter as a criticism of your qualifications in attempting to refuse my work. I wish you the best of luck in rejecting future candidates.
I've said it before, the false distinction between acceptance and rejection by a publishing house causes more problems than it helps solve. Publishing is not an "in/out" proposition. It's a mountain you climb. If your book accomplishes what it sets out to do, that's the first mountain. And if you find a house who believes they can sell your work and they're willing to pay you real money to help you do so, that's the second mountain. If you don't make it up either mountain after many attempts, don't look at the mountain and say, "Don't you like me?" The fact is, your skills and training have not provided the necessary tools and strategies to reach the top yet.
That's okay. Don't give up. Adapt.
And if you find yourself nearing the top of the first mountain, keep your eye on the top before looking over at the second mountain to climb. Focus on one at a time and I promise it will be easier on your next climb.
Find pleasure in the climb, despite the challenges, maybe, dare I suggest, IN the challenges. Those are the sort of strange individuals who end up conquering many mountains. Find your bliss in the climbing, not the arriving.
My 2-year-old is big into puzzles. Never mind that we got them for her older sister. She wants the thrill of figuring it out herself. And when she gets to the end of the puzzle, she doesn't stand back and admire it or leave it to show anyone what she's accomplished. She immediately destroys it, breaks it up, and starts in again. Is she missing the point? I don't know. Something tells me that she's already realized in her rapidly-expanding circuitry that there's only pleasure in the doing, in the work, and not the having finished. The work itself is good. And I would suggest that's not a substitute joy or something we try to convince ourselves of to take our minds off the real pain of rejection. The work is the source of joy.
So remember as you're climbing and imagining looking back down on the journey you've taken: the pleasure is in how you performed down there, not how you stand at the top.