“When am I going to stop feeling so bad about rejecting people?”
My husband muted the football game. “What?”
“When am I going to get thicker skin? When is it going to get easier for me to tell people no?”
Okay, I probably should’ve waited until half-time to get into this conversation. But I’d written a rejection letter that was bothering me. I can’t help it, I often feel bad about the rejections, especially if I’ve taken a special interest in the writer or the project. My compassion for the writer makes saying “no” difficult for me. I wish I could take every writer under my wing and nurture them all the way to publishing-readiness. Alas, it’s impossible.
Anyway, hubby had to sit through my agonizing and analyzing. I told him, “I hate ruining someone’s day.”
Well, first he told me to get over myself, I’m not so important that I can take credit for ruining someone’s day. Okay, fair enough. Then he said, “You know, every bit of MY job is about someone else having a bad day.” (Some of you may know my husband is a firefighter/EMT.) “When I show up,” he said, “it’s because they’re having a really bad day.”
Right. And your point?
“I don’t cause their bad day,” he went on. “I’m just there for it. I’m there to help.” Uh-huh. “And YOU don’t cause a writer to have a bad day, either. You’re just the messenger, delivering some hard truth. And you’re there to help, too. Sometimes you help by telling them a truth they need to hear. And other times you’ll help by improving their manuscript or by selling their book to a publisher. You don’t cause their good days or their bad days. But you show up for them. You’re there to help. Just like me.”
Huh. Wisdom from the cute guy on the couch. I have to admit, it made me feel better.
So if I ever send you a rejection letter, remember I’m not trying to ruin your day. Don’t imagine me sitting at my computer with an evil grin and a high pitched laugh, hissing maniacally, “I’ll get you, my pretty—and your little dog, too!”
I don’t relish the rejections. Just part of the job.
© 2010 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent