The other day my boyfriend and I were talking about work. He was laid off about a year and a half ago from a publishing company in Boston. He had been the manager of the graphic design group. Their work was being shipped to India for cheaper labor and their entire office had been closed.
Since then he has applied to hundreds of jobs ranging from other design management positions to part time sales jobs at Home Depot and in this last year and half he has received hundreds of rejection letters.
During this time he has been doing some freelance work, he received his realtor’s license and has been focusing on our antiques business. But the constant barrage of rejection letters has been taking its toll. He constantly asks me why. With his background, which includes years of graphic design work in some of the bigger publishing companies in Boston, his numerous awards for his work and accolades from his peers, why is he not even getting requests for interviews?
I don’t know. I tsk and shake my head, I hug him and tell him how good he is, but I don’t have the answers. I love his work and I feel privileged to have such a successful designer working on my stuff. But I don’t know how to help.
Recently, in talking with participants in two writer’s groups, plus all the reading I have done on authors and publishing, I am beginning to understand that when the time comes to start seeking publication for my book, I will also likely receive hundreds of rejection letters. I wonder how I will handle so much rejection. Sure, I would love to dream that my first query letter will be answered with a glowing report on how excited they would be to publish my novel, but I know that won’t happen.
I am often told that writers need to have a thick skin and be able to happily take criticism while maintaining our own creativity. Yeah, sure. I know me. I know that I will curl up in the fetal position and cry myself to sleep with every rejection letter.
I can only hope that I have as much stamina and courage as my boyfriend. After so many rejections my boyfriend finally agreed to look for more freelance work. And guess what? They love him! I know he won’t become a financial success over night, but as time goes on and his work gets out there, I have no doubt that he will find his niche in the freelance world. I know it’s not exactly what he wants, but I’m still excited for him.
I do know one thing. As I receive rejection letter after rejection letter, my boyfriend will be there for me, giving me hugs, telling me he loves me and my work, and to hang in there. AND…I will have the best looking cover of any unpublished novel out there!
(You can check out Dennis’ design site here. He is available to do book covers and marketing materials.)