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  • Ali Bair

Acorn Mouth

Being rejected isn’t a favorite pastime of mine. In fact, I haven’t met a single person who claims to like it. It’s one of those things that we naturally try to hide like too many large acorns in a squirrel’s tiny mouth.

Five months ago, I began sending book proposals to literary agents in attempt to establish my name in the traditional publishing world. I sent one, then got a rejection about a week later. Then I sent two more and heard nothing back (which ultimately means a rejection). I stopped sending proposals until I had more experience under my belt. Maybe I wasn’t drafting a proposal correctly (I definitely wasn’t). I decided to attend the ACFW writer’s conference to make connections, talk to established authors, take classes, and have face-to-face contact with literary agents who could make all the difference in my writing career.

I had the opportunity to pick three agents. One of the names listed at the conference was the person who sent me my first rejection. I picked two other names first, obviously, but then tossed the idea back and forth of putting my first rejection name on the list. I still thought she would be a great fit for my manuscript. Maybe meeting in person could make all the difference? Ah, what the heck. I put her name as my third and last option.

We only found out who our appointment would be with when we arrived at the conference. Guess who I got? You guessed it. My very first rejection was my one and only appointment. Thankfully, there were opportunities to sign up for additional appointments throughout the day when someone else canceled theirs. You could find me down at the cancelation whiteboard often…the appointment guy became well acquainted with me, and the lady with cookies encouraged way too many calorie consumptions. I ended up getting four appointments because I was constantly checking for availability.

Thankfully, all the appointments went really well! Wanna know which appointment went the best? Meeting face-to-face with the person I was first rejected by. She loved my book concept and even said that her assistants likely never passed my book onto her desk. She mentioned publishers who she’d love to pitch my book concept to, and I left with happy tears. Was that a dream or was that real?

Before you get too excited with me, this essentially means nothing until she has read my full proposal and manuscript(which will take months). I am in the in-between stage, which means I am also on the brink of either a second rejection or a life changing contract. This limbo stage is scary but is also filled with so much hope.

I’m telling you this now, because I decided to let you in on the process with me — rejection and all. I’m taking the huge acorns out of my mouth and letting myself breathe a little. I’m in this writing thing for the long haul. I love it. The symbolic imagery in the fiction world is what inspires me to want to change as a person, and it’s what I hope to depict through the beloved characters created in my head (although, sometimes I forget they’re not real).

I’ll share my success with you along the journey, and I’ll also share the rejections. Thank you so much for being part of this journey with me!

I hope this day finds you well, and I hope that you can learn to embrace the beauty of rejection with me, because it’s part of our growth process. The next few months will be telling. It will decide if I embark on a traditional publishing route or an indie publishing route. Either way…yay!! If you aren’t sure what I’ve been working on, here’s a link to a brief synopsis of Mosaic.

Fun fact - here’s a list of iconic authors who were repeatedly rejected: Dr. Seuss, J.K. Rowling, John Grisham, Stephen King. And that’s just to name a few.

I’m secretly celebrating my rejections knowing I’m in dang good company.




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