Rancho Notorious

by jkatejohnston

11 January 2014

Dear Max,

Shall we review? I started putting my diary online because I decided it was time to get famouser. Hello World!

Then I wrote a hilarious mystery courtroom drama so that I could be popular, and then someone might look at my other books too. On December 2nd I sent the mystery/law book to an agent. The agency website said that it takes them three to four weeks to respond, but I figured, “Oh the holidays, I’ll give them an extra ten days or so.”

Yesterday I checked my email. Still no response. I word-searched my gmail account for “Carol Mann Agency” so that I could read my own email (that’s how you submit everything these days) and check the date and the email address. I found my email—and also the agent’s reply, a rejection, all filed away in a folder titled Agent Emails. I clicked “details” and learned that I sent my email on December 2nd at 7:24 a.m. and the rejection arrived on December 2nd at 12:45 p.m. It said, “After careful consideration, we have decided not to pursue your project.” I suppose I thought it was one of those “we got your email” type emails and didn’t read it but dutifully filed it away.

I heard on one of my podcasts that one strategy for dealing with rejection is to use it as an opportunity to practice Detachment. I tried that for a while. But I actually don’t feel that rejected. Surely no one read it in that time. They just have an unfortunate method for letting writers know that they’re not accepting submissions.

But, ah me! To think I’ve been walking the dog and fantasizing away: the agent reading my sample pages and cackling with delight—what a find; flying to New York; the burden and awkwardness of a three-book deal when it’s possible that all the love may go out of the thing; turning down a publisher’s offer because they don’t want me to boast about my other books in the front material.

I guess I’ll just send it out again. It’s a lot easier to be cheerful about all this knowing that if everyone rejects me, I’ll just publish it myself. Which brings us back to the problem of My Fame. I’d settle for notoriety, but I can’t think of any way to become notorious without ruining our lives.