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Random Thoughts: On Rejection…and Being Ignored

No one likes rejection. Sure, it may make us stronger as individuals, but being rejected hurts. If someone says it doesn’t, chances are they’re not being honest with either themselves or with you.

And being rejected can feel personal. Even if it’s not… or not always. Because the reality is, sometimes it is personal.

But the hard, cold truth is that not everyone can be accepted. Not everyone will make “the list.” And not everyone will be adored by all.

In fact, most will be rejected. Most won’t make “the list” or any list. Most won’t even be noticed by a large majority. Most won’t even get rejected as, more often than not, most will simply be ignored.

As book bloggers this can be a painful realization, which can sting even more when we get that first rejection from NetGalley for a book we were just dying to read early. Especially when we see our fellow bloggers getting those acceptance emails and reading that title we so desired to read. We can often feel as if we are the only ones being shunned. But we’re not.

Because most of us don’t run to Twitter and lament our misfortunes. We go there to crow about our successes. So it may seem that we are the only ones in the blogosphere to have faced rejection. But we’re not.

And when the day comes when we finally muster up the courage to reach out to a publisher to request a title, when we feel we’ve finally put in enough time, enough hard work and enough effort to be deserving, and we still get rejected, it’s a crushing blow. And we’re left with the questions – What did we do wrong? Were we not professional enough in our outreach? Were we not coherent enough in our reviews? Are our blogs not popular enough? Are they not good enough? Are we not good enough?

And when our thoughts make it personal, oh how it can hurt. Because we can’t always change who we are. We can’t make ourselves as “liked” or “as good as” or “as deserving as” someone else. We can’t be that “popular” blogger who gets showered with acceptance. We can’t make people like us just because we want them to.

But although it may feel as if we’re the only ones in the blogosphere getting rejected time and time again, we’re not. We all face rejection at one point or another. Some perhaps more than others, but we’ve all been there. Even the most “popular” bloggers don’t get every title they want. Not every interview request they make receives a “yes.” And not every publisher keeps them top of mind for every tour or promotional event. Even if it may seem that way.

Rejection is a part of blogging. It’s a part of life. Bloggers get rejected by publishers, authors and other bloggers. For review titles, for promotional events, for interviews and guest posts. Publishers and authors get rejected by bloggers, too, for those very same things. Even authors face rejection by publishers and bloggers. No one is immune.

But it’s how we handle ourselves that matters in the long run.

If we pick ourselves back up, shake off the hurt, realize that more likely than not it’s not personal, we can go back to doing what we do. Blogging. Because we love books and authors. Because we love the friends we’ve made in the community. Because we love sharing our thoughts. And because we didn’t start our blogs – most of us – to get “free” books. We don’t blog to feel acceptance. We don’t blog to be popular.

And eventually we’ll be brave enough to reach out again. And again. Even if we get that rejection more often than not. Even if we never get accepted. But without risking rejection we will never get the chance to be accepted. And if… no, when that happens, it makes every rejection worth it… almost.

We just can’t make it about us. If it becomes too personal we won’t be able to take that sting over and over without feeling too discouraged to continue. Publishing is a business. And our blogs, whether we like it or not, are part of that business if we choose to make it that way.

If we ask for a publisher’s title, if  we request an author or other blogger’s time, we have to see ourselves as they might. From a business standpoint. We have to think about our audience, reach, marketability. And we have to be ready to face rejection just like everyone else.

And when that rejection comes we have to be able to take it like a professional would. Gracefully. Understanding that it’s not because we are unlovable. It’s not because we aren’t deserving. It might just be that we aren’t the right fit. Or we haven’t yet reached the level of success that is needed for that particular title or event.

The fact that we even merited a rejection can be a plus – though it may not feel that way. Because it’s more likely that our outreach will be ignored. We won’t get a response. We’ll never know if the recipient got our request, if it got caught in spam, if it got buried in a crowded email box, if it got lost in a frenzied Twitter timeline. Or if the recipient just didn’t feel it was worthy of a response.

We can, of course, reach out again on the off chance that our initial outreach was missed. But if we are ignored once again, we may still not have answers to our questions as to why.

At least with a rejection we have an answer. We are noticed, even if the outcome isn’t to our liking.

Being rejected… or ignored… is painful. That pain doesn’t lessen the more it happens. While we may develop a thick skin so that we can handle it better, more gracefully, more professionally, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting like ten thousand tiny needles stabbing us in the heart. Making us feel undeserving. Making us feel lesser.

But we’re not.

We just need to remember that we are not the only ones who have to face it. Every blogger we “meet” has faced it, continues to face it. And every author whose books we covet has faced it.

We are not alone.

And while it may hurt to get “dinged” for a title we wanted, it may just be that the very title we desire had, at one point or another on the way to publication, received its very own rejection.

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