R Is For Rejection
Or "How To Avoid Making the Writers In Your Life Feel Rejected"
Chris Dixon said, "If you aren't getting rejected on a daily basis, then your goals aren't ambitious enough." My goals probably aren't ambitious enough then, because I haven't been rejected very often. It's not because I don't deserve rejection every bit as much as the next person, but because I unconsciously (well, semi consciously) shield myself from it.
One day, several years ago, in a fit of productivity, I sent out a batch of query letters to prospective agents. The rejection letters weren't nearly as painful as I'd expected them to be, but still, I never did it again. I should. I know I should, and I plan on it, with my very next book that isn't a part of a series that is already self-published. (Translation...in about a decade, I might try it again.)
Hidden Magic has had its share of rejection. It starts too slowly, and people who weren't invested enough to push through the first few chapters had some scathing things to say about it, things that did hurt. But then enough people liked it that I noticed the trend--people who read through chapter 5 usually ended up finishing the book and liking it. That soothed my feelings and taught me something that will help future books. So it's good. Not fun, but good.
Alchemy, on the other hand, has done shockingly well for itself (knock on wood). So I haven't yet developed that thick skin writers are supposed to have. With that in mind, let me give a bit of advice to all you non-writers out there:
I know you don't want to make the writers in your life feel rejected. But it is OK if they write a kind of fiction you aren't interested in. If every time you see them you say some variation of, "I'm still reading your book--um, I've just been so busy. But I'll get back to it. I got the newest Raven Boy book, and I stayed up all night to finish it. Have you read it yet?" eventually they are going to feel rejected, in spite of your good intentions.
If they write chick lit, and you only like high fantasy--don't read it. Or even better, read it in secret, so they don't know you've started, because it might take you a long time to finish, and when you're done you can surprise them with a "I finished your book! Did you see my rating on amazon?" And they will be thrilled. And feel all the love that you intended for them to feel.