If you’re a writer you’ve been rejected. It comes with the territory. That does not mean that you have to like it, accept it or chalk it up as some kind of (choke) learning experience. Rejection sucks, whether it is your manuscript or a date to the senior prom. It sucks.
As writers we can “accept” rejection as a fact of life without “accepting” rejection as screwing down the lids of our coffins. We accept that some ivory-tower-snob, who has never written anything other than a rejection letter, just doesn’t get it, doesn’t understand the art of writing. We don’t hate them (grrr). We shake our heads and go on with our work.
But rejection is not an easy emotion to dismiss. It is an attack on our spirit. It is like an attack on our children. We get protective.
When I first started my journey of becoming an author I knew nothing about the industry other than how to write. I knew the odds of getting published by a major publishing firm were thin slim. I counseled myself against any expectation that I would be one of the lucky few, but it did not help when it came time for my first submission.
I hand-carried my manuscript to one of the major publishers in NYC. The company owned the whole building, maybe the whole block. There was a guard in the lobby to stop guys just like me from delivering their “over-the-transom” manuscripts. I ignored him and went straight to the building directory, found the floor I was looking for and went to the elevator. The guard must have thought I knew what I was doing because he smiled at me as I passed. I smiled back.
I found the office I was looking for and was surprised to be greeted by an exceptionally good-looking woman. I gave her my elevator spiel, trying not to be distracted by her looks. She accepted my manuscript with a “thank you,” a handshake and a quizzical look. I smiled and left, skipping down the sidewalk, believing in the power of fate.
Several long months later I was humiliated to find my rejected manuscript stuffed into my mailbox like an aborted fetus. All my self-counseling about rejection was to no avail. As I pulled my rolled-up, mutilated manuscript from the mailbox, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I was instantly depressed, the kind of depression not easily shaken.
But then I got pissed. Defiance overcame me. I will be published!
 Picture this: You’re in an elevator. The lead editor gets on the same elevator. You have seconds to give him your elevator spiel before he/she gets off. You’d better make it good.