I received an email from a dear friend and publishing mentor, informing me that the Melbourne distributor rejected it. I went through about a minute of feeling rejected, dejected and confused. I wondered how a book so important and with so much great feedback could be so easily dismissed.
When sharing bad news with an associate, I found myself becoming quite optimistic about the situation. I basically rationalised that Harry Potter was rejected and Lord of the Rings was rejected, so Cinderella’s Secrets is just going to have to be one of those books that people will relate to in the same way. Certain publishers and distributors along the journey are going to wish they had picked it up when it came across their desk. As my associate and I moved into that vortex of invincibility, we laughed and embraced the rejection as a motivating experience that proved how determined we were.
I emailed my mentor later that day and expressed my gratitude for his effort in trying to help me find a large distributor. I explained that he should not feel bad because of this setback and I shared with him all the great things I am doing to promote the book including hiring a PR Manager to work on the book weekly. I also asked if there was any feedback for the rejection that would help me in the way I move forward.
Within 24 hours I received an email from him saying that in light of what I am doing, the distributor has agreed to reopen discussions. I was overjoyed with this news because I felt that talking to the distributor should make a big difference. After all, Cinderella’s Secrets is the first book of the Once Upon A View series. It’s about empowering our young teens and adults to raise their self esteem, become more resilient and able to assert their principles and values. It’s about the art of reinventing one’s self so we feel our worth, feel capable and this means we get to that ball – no matter where that ball is.
So I spoke to the owner of the distribution company 5 days after that email. He kindly explained to me that they receive about 100 new titles to consider distributing every month! He wanted me to understand that they just can’t take all books on because it would be impossible. I totally understood his predicament and appreciated how difficult it would have to be.
He then asked, “what is the ‘story’ with your book?” I took that to mean what is the purpose of why I wrote it – not just the story itself. So in 4 minutes I explained why I wrote it, how I launched it and how I am marketing it. I shared why it’s the first of many to come, in a new genre of retelling the Fairy Tales so the power and magic is moved back into the person. I also shared why I believe I am revealing empowering hidden messages that appear encoded in these classic Fairy Tales.
When I finished my emphatic pitch, he said to me that they often look at the person behind the book as much as the book itself because that’s what will ultimately determine the success of a title. He said he liked what he heard and he would send me the Agreement by the next day. He sent that Agreement that very night and it has since been signed and sent back.
So what do you do with rejection? With EP7 coaching, we talk about resilience and using rejection as pure feedback to help explain why we get stuck. That information helps guide our reinvention so we do things differently and attract a better outcome.
Here are the things I think helped me move beyond this rejection: –
1. I believed in my vision so strongly that opinions could only serve to improve what I was doing rather than demotivate me.
2. I was grateful for the feedback and the help me rather than focus on the disappointment of the setback.
3. I was genuinely understood why the book was rejected and did not argue at all.
4. I allowed my purpose to drive my conversation and this helped the distributor appreciate the big vision and feel the conviction and momentum behind the book.
5. The way I handled the rejection was just as important as my vision because resilience is always going to be a major part of succeeding.
What defining moments have you had in your life where you transformed rejection into an opportunity to grow? What impact did that have on your relationships and your success? What were the elements at play for you in the way you interpreted the rejection and handled it?