Rejection is one of those unavoidable parts of life that sucks.
At the moment, I'm so annoyed that a client's project has been rejected that I could spit nails. Not that I walk around on a daily basis with a mouth full of metal, but you get the point. I'd like to rant and rage and rail against all the Fates because I feel like this project deserved better. But doing so won't get me anywhere; all it will do is continue to feed my aggravation, and allow my annoyance to fester. Instead, I've developed a sort of philosophy.
When a client's project is rejected, the editor is not rejecting me. They are not personally rejecting my client either. They are rejecting the project itself, and often do so for a variety of reasons, ranging from not liking the writing to not being able to convince anyone else at the publishing house that it's a worthwhile project. But just because they've rejected this project doesn't mean it's a bad project. It just means that they're expressing a subjective opinion, and there is nothing that I can do to change that.
This is my thick skin of sorts; it's not the most spectacular rationalization, but it's the one that lets me go on with my daily job. So I get over my annoyance, even if I have to force myself to do so. I look at where I can send the project next. I see if the project needs any revisions, based on what the editor has written in the rejection letter. And then I send it out again. I haven't given up on a project yet, but I've only been doing this for a year and I realistically know that I may have to do so at some point. But I won't make that decision until I've exhausted every other option.
And I don't give up on my authors either. If their current project isn't working, we work together to develop a new one. We revise, we edit, and we get something new that we can send out the door to editors. I don't believe on taking on clients who I'm not willing to devote time and energy to, even if it means I may not get an immediate sale.
Yet, it's an interesting dichotomy. Because the other side of my job is to reject countless query letters and manuscripts, since let's face it, not every project is going to be one that I want to represent. But it's something that I have to do, or I can't efficiently work as an agent; you may think I'm crushing your dreams by rejecting you, but really, I'm not. I'm simply making a business decision. And you know that query letter or manuscript that I or some other agent has rejected? Get it out the door again. Revise it. Work on it again. And don't stop trying because one of these days, it's going to click with someone. It's the only way to get on in this business.
I'm interested in hearing what everybody else thinks about the whole subject of rejection, so comment away!