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The thing about rejection is this: it happens to everyone in publishing, at every stage, in every position. Writers get rejected at the query stage far more often than not, and that sucks. But here’s who else gets rejected:

Agented writers on submission, by editors. Agented writers for follow-up manuscripts, by their own agents. Agents, by writers who’ve chosen to accept a different offer of representation. Agents, by editors who pass on the manuscripts they’ve submitted. Editors, by writers and agents who’ve chosen a different offer. Editors, by acquisition boards who decline the manuscripts they present.  Published authors, by bookstores that won’t carry their books. Published authors, by their own publishers. Published authors, by reviewers who go on Goodreads or Amazon or their own blogs and tear their books apart.

It is impossible to be part of this world and not know rejection. It is intrinsic to the process, at every single step. It is how agents get manageable workloads, editors get workable schedules, bookstores keep everything contained to actual shelves.

Rejection hurts, but it happens to everyone. It has to. And to think that other writers or agents or editors don’t understand the pain of it is to fundamentally misunderstand how the industry runs. There’s no joy in saying no to someone with passion for the written word. No one wants to be the agent you decided would be your last query before you give up, or the last editor before you go off submission. No one wants to run the contest that makes you think you’ll never get anywhere.

But everyone has known how you feel, at some point, in some way. And whether it feels like it or not, we’re all in this thing together.

That’s the thing.

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