Sending off your writing work to be accepted, rejected, or worse–ignored–can be a scary thing. Especially when that work is as deeply personal as memoir. I finally took that step and have submitted the proposal for my memoir to the first handful of agents. These are some of the agents that I met at the San Francisco Writers Conference earlier this year.

For those not familiar with the process, a book proposal is usually required in order to submit queries to agents for non-fiction work. Mine is 30 pages without the sample chapters, and the number of chapter pages varies from agent to agent. Some want five pages and others allow 50. They all have their own unique requirements for submissions.

The proposal includes a summary of each of the chapters, information about competing and comparable books, the author’s marketing plan, and market research about the potential audience. It also includes a pitch and an author bio. In other words, it’s a lot of work!

After pouring your heart and soul into hundreds of pages to write a book, doing the work required for a proposal and researching agents to send it to, rejection can be hard to take. But for most writers, it’s a very necessary part of becoming a published author. Some very famous authors and books have received a hefty number of rejections before getting an acceptance letter.

Litrejections.com reported that Agatha Christie was rejected for five years before landing a publishing deal. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected 12 times before a publisher agreed to publish it. Louis L’Amour received 200 rejections, Chicken Soup for the Soul racked up 140, The Help got a nice round 60, and Gone With the Wind collected 38.

Knowing that when my rejections start rolling in I will be in such good company, I say, “Let the rejections begin!”

10 thoughts on “Let the Rejections Begin!

  1. It takes an immense amount of courage to bring a dream to reality, knowing all too well dreams dwell in fantasy, making us feel good in times of trouble and despair.  Yet to regret waking, seeing the world, and letting the world see you, would be far worse. I must have missed your email with the big attachment.  Good luck; regardless, you’ll always have my utmost respect.  Like I said, I’m going to read it anyway, or someday. Unless you think it went to my junk folder?  nah, you’re not junk. Confidence my friend, is at home, warm and cozy in your heart, but you got to let it out some times to play.

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  2. Congratulations on taking the leap! And what a leap it is! Rejections aside, as a writer, you’re already in good company. Just think of all the wondrous books that are out there – and yours could be one of them. But remember, publishers are only people, and they don’t always have their finger on the public’s pulse and don’t know what people want to read. But sometimes they’re smart, and recognize a jewel when they see one. I hope that will be the case for your book. I’m wishing you the best of luck for your proposal landing in the right hands. It’s been a long haul, and there are probably more changes you want to make, but you have completed a major accomplishment and I hope you are feeling great satisfaction about that.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I’m still fine-tuning the manuscript, and I’m sure there will be more in the future, but it’s almost ready for public consumption. If it helps a few readers or gives them some enjoyment then I will be happy. Of course, catching a publisher’s interest would be great!

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  3. Congratulations on your first proposal submission! It’s quite an accomplishment, what with all the time, effort, and emotional investment required. I’m glad that you’re going in with such a positive attitude and practical expectations, and hope that those expectations will be far exceeded within the not too distant future by just the right publisher. Also, thanks for the insights into the publishing process; your generous sharing is helpful and inspiring to me and many others, I’m sure. Looking forward to future updates!

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  4. Heidi,
    I am proud of what you have accomplished with your book. It’s been a lot of hard work but you have stuck with it when many would have given up long ago. I think your story will be an inspiration for those who read it to do things they have dreamed of doing but have been afraid to try.

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