Saturday, September 17, 2011

39 and Counting: My First Contest!

No, it's not my age, although it's pretty darn close to that number, too -- I turn the illustrious 39 this year

It is in fact the official number of rejection letters that I have racked up.  Over the years, I've gotten the:
  • run-of-the-mill signature-only letters, (a lot of these from the first year or so, when I fully deserved the standard rejection because my writing was yuck-o and I didn't know enough to know it);
  • the letters that rejected the enclosed submission but came with a really nice personalized note (even the occassional advice on how to improve the manuscript -- yeah!);
  • and the ONE letter from an editor who loved my manuscript but discovered that her publisher just bought another one like it (DOH!).
Maybe I should be sad about so many rejections, but I'm not.  In addition to all the rejection letters, I have two acceptance letters (for magazine contracts), and that's something worth being happy about. 

But mainly, I like to think the next rejection letter brings me closer to the big one -- the submission that breaks through the postal service and gets a phone call or email response (ah, heaven!).   One of my favorite authors, Kate DiCamillo, says she got nearly 400 rejection letters before getting a contract!

So if I hang in there and give just 10 times more effort than what I have done so far, then maybe, just maybe, I can break through!

Writer friends,  if you dare, tell me how many rejections you've collected so far.  Let's celebrate how close we are to the one that counts...

In honor of persistent authors everywhere, every comment to this blog entry will go into a random drawing for a copy of Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  Followers of my blog get one extra entry.   The drawing will be held October 2, so spread the word!


  1. Keep up the great work Kristen!

  2. I'll go count them and get back to you! But in the meantime, I've linked to you on my blog. :-) Happy submitting!

  3. This is a very encouraging post! I just found you from Ishta's blog, so woo:) I would say ZERO rejections, because so far I have been too chicken to let go and just take a big risk. This is encouraging me to do just that, so thanks! Plus, Edward Tulane is one of my favorite characers EVER. So yay for that:)

  4. Brand new follower! :) I read Because of Winn-Dixie to my little brother a couple years ago and we both loved it! I've been meaning to read Edward Tulane for a while, but just haven't yet. Super cool giveaway! Thanks! And Good Luck with your submitting! :)

  5. Carter, go for it! Emily, good luck with your blossoming career. Edward Tulane is a great read, too! Ishta, thanks for the shout out!

  6. I've tallied them up! And my rejection total is sitting at 16, counting non-responses as "passes." Which is not that many, now that I think about it. I think not submitting enough is probably my biggest problem. (Not that my writing is all totally amazing, obviously, but if it's not out there, then that won't help me any.)

    Thanks for the impetus to send more stuff to more people!

  7. You should frame that letter from the editor who loved it, by the way. 'Cause that's just plain awesome.