Back in November I wrote a blog post declaring that I was going to rack up 100 rejections as soon as possible.
Why 100 rejections?
Well, as you may know, I have a book coming out in April. I’ve dedicated a good portion of the last two years of my life writing said book and now the only thing left to do is make sure that people actually know it exists.
I knew that if I strived (strove?) to receive 100 rejections I’d be forced to put myself out there in ways my homebody-prone, introverted self would usually avoid. I was also banking on the assumption that the likelihood of getting rejected 100 times in a row was probably pretty low and, therefore, in between all of those terrible rejections would be at least a few successes.
So, how’s Rejection Fest 2017 going so far?
It’s been 4 months since I began running full speed down Rejection Road and I am here to tell you that, when it comes to getting rejected, I am wildly successful.
Below I shall share an incomplete list of the rejections I have collected in the past few months. (It’s important to note that I have a publicist assigned to me (her name is Liz and she is lovely) who also collects rejections on my behalf. This has enabled me to score more rejections than I ever dreamed possible.
- Over 50 travel bloggers, book bloggers, and podcast producers have rejected me. (Actually, this group of folks has mostly ignored me– but after awhile one must assume rejection).
- I’ve been rejected by at least half a dozen freelance writing jobs and magazines I’ve pitched.
- Rick Steves won’t write me back. Rick, I love you. I just want to talk!
- While attempting to schedule book signings, some bookstores, including my all-time-favorite bookstore (I won’t name names but it’s in Portland and rhymes with “Jowls”) have said, “You’re not a good fit,” or, more directly, “We just don’t think you’ll draw the kind of crowd we require.”
- A reviewer from a big, important publication described my book as, “A slog through Dinan’s internal dialogue.” That actually made me cry—in front of my entire writing class.
- I wrote and submitted a second book proposal which was met with a, “We like it- but let’s wait and see how your first book does.” (NO PRESSURE) This is not a rejection, exactly, but I can’t quite put it in the ‘win’ column either.
- Though I don’t have exact numbers, I have racked up rejections from TV stations, radio stations, libraries, magazines and websites.
I probably hit 100 rejections in the first month of trying. What can I say? I’m an overachiever.
Of course, it hasn’t all been rejections— I’ve had some successes, too. See, my evil plan worked after all. Waaa ha ha.
- When I asked some of my favorite authors to blurb my book they said yes!
- I have been invited to speak in bookstores and libraries across the country and even at an inspirational speaker series and a tourism board breakfast.
- I have booked radio and podcast spots and even one TV morning show (panicking over this already).
- I’ll be speaking at a number of schools in the next few months, not because my visits will result in book sales but because I am passionate about exposing kids to travel and demonstrating that seeing the world is within their reach.
- Aside from the review mentioned above, nearly all other reviews have been positive.
- Thanks to the readers of this blog, I have managed to scrape together a little DIY book tour. Many of you have offered to let me sleep in your guest bedroom or on your couch, lobbied your local bookstores, or invited me to hang out with your book clubs. I’ve got over a dozen stops lined up already (click here for a full list) and will hopefully add more in the future. (BTW, you are all amazing- thank you so much!)
- My publisher set a goal of 500 pre-orders of my book. I haven’t quite reached that goal yet, so I suppose I could put this in the rejection column, but so many of you have pre-ordered that it feels like a win. (Public service announcement: There is still time to pre-order from your local bookstore, Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Fill out this form to receive some free travel goodies as a thank-you for pre-ordering).
- While this aspect of my writing life isn’t quite where I want it to be yet, I have secured a few more regular freelance clients and I can feel myself gathering momentum.
Not bad, eh?
I’ll be honest—getting rejected stings every single time. I don’t think there’s a person on this planet that enjoys being told no. And yet, even some of my rejections have led to opportunities. A potential freelance client chose someone else to write monthly features for their magazine but has a travel guide project for me this fall. Two different bookstores in two different cities initially declined to host me but local readers lobbied so hard that they changed their minds.
I’m going to keep collecting these rejections with pride. For every two “no-thank-you’s” there’s inevitably one “yeah, let’s do it” and those odds are good enough for me. No matter what happens, I’ll never have to look back at this time in my life and say I didn’t try.