Yes, it really is true that writers enjoy receiving a rejection. Okay, kind of true. A rejection is not as good as an acceptance, clearly, but it is certainly preferable to the usual alternative, which is being completely, entirely and categorically ignored.
Most writers, if they’ve stuck around long enough to send out several of their works, will know that rejections are just part of life. For most, they form quite a big part, and although it’s never nice to be told your work doesn’t float that particular agent’s/publisher’s boat, at least you know where you stand and can then get on with life accordingly, whether that be approaching someone else, writing something new or taking up calligraphy/wind sailing/bee-keeping instead of this writing lark.
While I’m lucky enough to have enjoyed some success so far as a writer (and hopefully there’s more to come), I’ve also received my fair share of rejections. When I say ‘fair share’ I’m talking on a scale of about 1:30. Not great odds, admittedly. If I were a betting woman, I’d do well to keep my money firmly in my purse, but as writers we generally come to accept such a ratio. I can just about live with that. The spark of light you get in amongst all that darkness can be enough to keep you going to produce the next manuscript.
What I cannot and never will be okay with is radio silence. Everyone knows that most writers – even the mighty J.K. Rowling – received hundreds of ‘no thank yous’ before she hit the jackpot with Harry Potter. She even got plenty after, when she hid her identity and sent out her new manuscript. But what no-one ever seems to mention is the amount of times we’re blatantly ignored.
Now, I’m not saying this happens all the time. Writers and agents are bombarded with submissions from hopefuls and it can of course take time to get back to all of them. I have great respect for this species of agent/publisher, who takes the time to respond, but I cannot abide by those in the industry (and believe me, there are lots), who just don’t bother. Especially those who ask you to make revisions, getting your hopes up, then don’t even have the courtesy to come back to you. I can’t speak for any other aspiring writer out there, but personally, I’d much rather have bad news that no news.
No news means you’re always wondering, always checking your missed calls and emails just in case they’ve finally got back to you. It’s emotionally exhausting!
So, dear writers, if you’re being ignored, I empathise deeply. And if you’re an agent/publisher, please don’t go dark on us. We’d rather you said how it is, rather than fail to say anything at all.
Ignorance, in our case, is definitely not bliss.