"Of course they don't!" INTERN can hear you protesting, "They're the gatekeepers! All they have to do is sit around on comfy velvet armchairs rejecting everybody else!"
In fact, quite the opposite is true, as this post by agent Rachelle Gardner reminded INTERN last night. The publishing industry involves rejection at every level, like some sort of Russian nesting doll. Observe:
First, the writer is Rejected by several agents.
Once the writer acquires an agent, that agent is then Rejected by several editors.
Once the agent gets an editor interested, that editor can still be Rejected by the pub board.
Once the pub board has agreed to publish a book, that book can still be Rejected by readers who disdain to buy it.
And even if a small and passionate population of readers buy it, the readers can still be Rejected by an industry that decides it's not worth printing books that sell fewer than one billion copies.
And so the chain of tomfoolery continues. The level of Rejection going around, it boggles the mind.
So what's a writer to do? How to break the chain? How to keep yourself from becoming bitter and maudlin about the whole enterprise?
In INTERN's experience, the most powerful antidote to all this Rejection is the support and camaraderie of other writers. Because while many links in the Rejection chain are concerned with the business of writing—is this project saleable, is it movie-dealable, does the P&L look good?—the writers are the one link whose foremost concern is the art of it.
There's an excellent article about exactly this by an advice columnist over at The Rumpus. She writes:
We are not talking about books. We’re talking about book deals. You know they are not the same thing, right? One is the art you create by writing like a motherfucker for a long time. The other is the thing the marketplace decides to do with your creation.
Agents, editors, publishers, and the world at large can Reject your wish for a book deal.
But NOBODY, read NOBODY can Reject your ability to write a great book.
With this in mind, INTERN wants to know: Do you find it hard to separate the "business" and "art" sides of writing? To what extent do rejections reflect your ability as a writer, and to what extent do they reflect your ability as a businessperson/hustler?