Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On How to Avoid Turning Into an Agent-Stalker or (gasp) Vanilla Ice

Within 24 hours of being rejected by both man  & agent. I only remember the fun.
I’m someone who has dated more than my fair share. Probably more than the fair share of entire sorority houses, really, considering how freaking long I’ve been at it. And wherever there is dating, there lurks rejection of the most powerful kind. Not that I’ve ever been rejected, I’ve clearly always done the rejecting, ahem, or not. But the fact is that most of the time one of the two of you is going to feel the sting of rejection in the quest for finding a great match.  And that’s why, I think, finding an agent-client relationship is often described as dating .
And now apparently we’re learning that, like with dating, where there is rejection, there may be stalking and violence. Really? One much-Tweeted/blogged story burning up the blogosphere right now is about an agent who was most-likely attacked by a rejectee. Yikes!
So since I have more practice being rejected than anyone I know, I am AWESOME with rejection (there’s a flow you pick up once you hit quadruple digits). We all have our skills. I thought I’d share with you some of my hard-fought favorites for dealing with rejection, and maybe you all can give me some new tips as well. Perhaps our public-service-announcement-ing will help keep these poor agents safe and back to their hovels to slosh through even more manuscripts . Hopefully with chocolate.

The Tips

At Chuao on a good day

1.      Chocolate. 73% dark. Single-origin. Chuao is my local favorite, but if you’re in NYC La Maison, Michel Cuizel,  or Kee’s are phenomenal. Think that the high rejection rates of NYC correlate directly with the location of many of the world’s best chocolatiers accidentally? Ha!

2.    Friends who don’t date/write. I meet with mine at the Chuao chocolatier cafe table most days a-la-Friends circa 1999. My friends are hilarious, especially when the blended chocolate drinks start flowing, and they start quoting everyone from Putin to Pee Wee Herman. Reminds a gal that the small world I’m being rejected in isn’t the only world, or even the only world I’m in. I can still make a Putin joke with the best of ‘em.

3. Friends who do write/date. This one often comes after experience with aforementioned because friends not in the trenches don’t understand.  From a distance, things always look so simple… Your friends in the trenches can validate the suckiness and avoid condescending or rude comments so much better. And the gallows humor potential? Awesome.

4. First World Problems. I love the website of the same name. Now, whenever something annoying happens like being rejected from someone who is not a deep love (luckily I’ve never had that one yet; parting from real loves is hard enough & a real human problem), I can write it off. THIS is my problem? Really? I am SO LUCKY! Hard for me to be whiny that someone who doesn’t actually know me all that deeply isn’t moved to a be with me right away. Way better than losing a child to hunger. Way better. (Despite its lackluster placement at #4, I think this one is the anchor of the list. Gratitude is its own beautiful breed of savior.) Also, if the person has been cool to me (and any agent who is taking the time to read your stuff has been cool with you), I like to end by giving them a specific "thank you." Always better to put more gratitude out there and acknowledge those who have been kind.

5. Remember I’m Becoming More Likable. People hate those who gain early success. So un-relatable and boring. Where are the stories? They certainly can’t throw down a “DTC” story to make someone else feel better in point 3. (“DTC” Delta Ticket Counter: I was stood up at the Delta flight counter once. He bought the flight to see me a week before. Never got on plane. I ended up with fridge of boy food. Would’ve been nice if he’d told me.) Great friendships form over the telling of a “DTC” story.

6. Time. Once you’re married/get published, there are luxuries you don’t have anymore (impromptu road trip to SF riddled with shenanigans? No prob.)  Might as well appreciate the benefits each place because, well, like it or not, that’s where you are. It also allows you to take self-inventories and get better thereby leading to a better match in the future, as well as time to strategize what to do when there and to prepare more fully than those suckers who didn't have time to do as much in-depth study of what has/has not made long-term success. Remember: Vanilla Ice hit big at 23 & stupid. Last week I think he performed at a Zumba convention (really. I looked it up. Next month? Pineapple festival).
Dancing with best friend.
(I took picture)
Summertime in the city!
This may or may not have
been immediately after some
form of rejection. Fun, right?

7. And when all else fails, dance party! Or as my brother calls it, “flailing around to loud music by yourself”( or with one or two good friends.) Lately my best friend and I are finding Florence and the Machine particularly fantastic.  Really, I think Ellen Degeneres says it best in her post-Katrina Tulane commencement address when she quotes one Lady Gaga's "Just dance…"

So what are your favorite ways to handle rejection with style and grace???


  1. Oh, I can attest--La Maison du Chocolat can make any bad day better. Even a rejection day. Great post!

  2. Mmmm...La Maison...$8 for a single hot chocolate is absurd & also some of the best money I ever spend. Thanks.