Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My REAL Rejection Letters & Why You Should Never Give Up!


This is not some random picture I pulled off Google, these are the actual rejection letters I received from literary agencies from 2008-2009. There are about 75 letters in all, not to mention 100+ email rejections. I'm sure you can do the math. I wanted to toss these into the trash as even now they're a bit hard to look at, but my husband forced me to keep them. He said I'd be happy I did later on, and he was right. Since my first book, Nightshade City, was published, it's won the Westchester Fiction Award for 2011, it's been named a CBC Best Book of 2011, and is a Goodreads Choice Award and SCBWI Crystal Kite Finalist for 2010. I'm invited to speak to kids and other writers on a regular basis and they actually are interested in what I have to say, which is pretty darn cool for a girl who four years ago decided to write a random book about rats--of all things. Nightshade City also resulted in my job with National Geographic, as a Nat Geo editor read it and then contacted me to see if I'd be interested in writing for them. I guess what I'm trying to tell you guys is it's darn hard to get published, but my story is one of the many examples that it is entirely possible and there are many good things to come if you can weather the storm.

Around this time of year we all wonder about our goals in life and if we'll ever reach them. I cannot say I didn't get defeated back then, with my ever growing pile of rejection letters, but I can say, I didn't give up...so don't you do it either.

I mean it. Don't give up or I will hunt you down and slap you around a bit!
Me holding my first copy of Book II
of the Nightshade Chronicles,
The White Assassin

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL!

Hilary

40 comments:

  1. Awesome encouragement!!!!! :O)

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  2. Thank you for the encouragement! I have loads of rejection letters tucked away. I will happily take a picture of them and post it on my blog as soon as I sell my first book! :-)

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  3. I think at first I was a little embarrassed, but then I slapped some sense into myself. I think my letters are a badge of honor! If you can get through a year+ long stream of constant rejection, you can get through a lot of things! :)

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  4. Here's hoping you and yours have a wonderful Christmas Hilary, and an even better New Year. XX

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  5. WHEE! Thanks for the encouragement, Hilary! Awesome to see those legit rejection letters. :D

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  6. Thanks, Jack! Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

    Yahong, I know there's more somewhere. This was just one drawer full! YIKES! ;)

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  7. Great post! I don't plan on ever giving up.

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  8. You better not, Nicole! I'll find you! ;)

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  9. You're my hero! Happy Holidays, Hilary! :)

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  10. Awww, thanks, DL! Though, I'm not worried about you! I know you'll do it! :)

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  11. Thanks for the wonderful reminder of hope - its like an unexpected Christmas present!

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  12. T, I'm so glad I could help! It's hard enough as it is, but around the holidays it can get you down, at least it did me. What is supposed to happen will happen! ;)

    Merry Christmas!

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  13. Thanks for sharing! It's so hard to keep the dream alive sometimes. But posts like this keep me going. Thank you! And congrats on all your success!

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  14. Now that I have a mental picture of you chasing me down if I give up I shall instead remember your awesome journey and keep on going. :D

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  15. That's so inspiring! I wish I hadn't tossed my rejections ... I actually tore them up into itty bitty pieces first. It felt good at the time, but I'd love to be able to put a photo like yours out because it is always a process and we need to remember that one person's rejection is another person's "yes!"

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  16. You're amazing and an inspiration! Thank you.

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  17. I can't quit, I'm afraid Hilary will slap me and I'm adverse to violence. ;)

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  18. Janet, I know exactly what you mean, but letting it go is even harder! :)

    Tricia, I run fast too! ;)

    Tess, somehow I think tearing them up into itty bitty pieces might feel good too!

    Jared, you are an inspiration too! :)

    Phil, I, on the other hand, I'm not! Bwah-ha-ha-ha! ;)

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  19. hi miss hilary! wow! cool post! youre a real good inspirationist. for sure im not giving up on my writing... mostly cause im scared of you. ha ha. happy holidays!
    ...big hugs from lenny

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  20. Your husband is one smart guy! Thanks for the encouragement and have a joyous holiday season! ;-)

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  21. Wow, this really helps. I've faced almost 2 years of steady rejections. Glad to think that someday it may pay off.

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  22. Taking into account the post I've just written, this is awesome!

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  23. Aww...thank you for this inspiring post. When I'm ready to query I will remember this post.

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  24. Most of my rejections are electronic, so it's a bit easier to forget them, moldering in some cyber file.

    You're right that it's not an easy time of year for a rejectionista, as people you see but once a year get to ask their annual question: "Published yet?" But the promise of a new year somehow makes things easier.

    Happy Holidays to you too, Hilary!

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  25. Lenny, I DO have your address, so watch out little buddy! ;)

    Kathryn, you too! Those letters make me realize that attaining our goals in life is possible! :)

    Me, good for you! It's so hard to keep going, but it's even harder to stop! You can do it!

    Donna, so glad I could help! When I heard other people's stories back then, it made me keep going!

    Anita, you are so welcome! Best of luck to you!

    Michael, you can do it! Your a Team Mayhemer! You can do anything! ;)

    Carol, anytime and THANK YOU!

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :):):):):)

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  26. Great post! Thanks for the pep talk. Merry Christmas!

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  27. Thanks for sharing a wonderful dose of inspiration.

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  28. Thanks for the encouragement! Loved the post.

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  29. Susanne, we all need a good pep talk now and then, especially moi! ;)

    Linda, anytime! It is that time of year, no?

    Taffy (love your name), you are most welcome!

    Wonderful & lovely holidays to all of you!

    Hilary

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  30. Hi Hilary,
    I feel quite cheerful now after my (only) 36 rejection letters! I have also kept all of mine. Perhaps we should start an inverted snobbery club, the grand prize going to the writer who collected the most rejection letters before hitting the big time.

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  31. I'm just going through my third round of subs and I've gotten 5 rejections so far, but 2 of those have been personalized ones. I'm so pleased and happy with those, and they've buffered the others. One thing is for sure, I plan to hold on, no matter how many "R's" I get. Here's to success!!

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  32. Fiona, that is the best idea ever! We could come up with some plastic trophy and certificate! Fantastic! :)

    Tracikenworth, here, here! Yes, I think when they are personalized, it helps soften the blow, but also gives some sage advice. :)

    Happy Holidays and Happy Christmas Eve!!!

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  33. I love hearing inspirational stories like yours! Thanks for sharing :D

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  34. Looooove this... Really... Thank you so much for sharing, Hilary ;)

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  35. Julie, every little story of success always helped me. I'm glad I can pay it forward! :)

    Morgan, I hope to hear your story one day too! ;)

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  36. Thanks for sharing this! These success stories help me too!

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  37. Kristin, these stories are soooo helpful. They really remind you that all of us are in the same boat. IT IS NOT EASY!!

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  38. What an inspirational post! Thank you Hilary!!! Come January second I am going to hit my office and produce something wonderful and send it to someone. (That's the hardest part...I do so much research on who to send it to that I worry if I'm sending it to the "right" person and end up not sending it to anyone.) In 2012, I will do better!!!

    Thanks for the encouragement. Have an outstanding 2012!

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  39. Wow! What an inspiring post Hilary - thank you! And I'm so glad you didn't give up! :)

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