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Jessica’s #BeatRejection Challenge Update

It’s been a week

Day 1: I was sweating this day since I really had no plan and only a short list of five or so things for the 30 days I’m supposed to be doing this challenge. And then we got an email update from an old intern. She was interviewing for an editorial assistant position. I really loved having her in the office and think she would be an amazing addition to the publishing community. When I heard who she was interviewing with I wanted to drop an unsolicited email with my recommendation. I debated. I didn’t want to step on any toes and I didn’t know the editor personally. And then I thought of the challenge. Go out there and do what might feel uncomfortable. So I dropped the editor an email recommending our former intern and, simultaneously, pitching a new project. –it took a few days (and a phone call) to realize I had been stuck in the spam filter. No word on the intern, success on the submission

2: Sent out a difficult email without any sugar-coating. –was received fairly well. No tears.

3. Went out for dinner and asked for a free sample. –success. It was delicious

4. Contacted a company I had once tweeted about to ask for coupons and free samples. — coupons are in the mail!

5. Called Bouchercon hotels to see if rooms opened up –fail

6. Opened myself up to accept author appointments at Bouchercon. I think many authors would be surprised to know that agents can be stressed about something like this too. I mean, how embarrassing would it be if no one signed up?

Category: Blog



  1. Jessica, let me try to help you with that list.

    Go to a major department store and haggle over the price of an item.

    Ask a police officer in a squad car if he could drive you home.

    Read a chapter of a book at your local book store then ask a clerk if they could hold the book for you until you return another day to read some more.

    I hope that helps. Good luck.


  2. I am so happy you are sounding more positive than you did last week.

    Over all I’ll had a good week, the weekend was mainly asking doctors to break protocol and not make me go to hospital but talk to me over the phone and allow me to monitor my own health when I had a reaction to the antibiotics. I won that one.
    Credit card company, couldn’t change my arrangements but they did offer to reinstate my interest free balance transfer. – Kinda win

    Tuesday I blow up my netbook, so I took the plunge and asked hubby (again) if I could have a mac and he actually said YES.
    Wednesday I went to the store to compare the 11 and 13 inch macbook air, but as I planned to buy direct from Apple they did me a deal on an upgrade to the 13 inch pro if I bought from them-win win

    One person I had no response from and today I am going to face a conversation I’ve been avoiding for a month.

  3. I think its fantastic that you put yourself out there for your former intern – it says a lot about your opinion that you were willing to do it. Even if this position doesn’t work out, I’ll bet the editor will remember her for it, and it may help her out in an unintended way.

    I think the “no, but…” responses to the rejection challenge are the most interesting, and impossible to predict.

  4. Okay, so it’s been a bit tricky this week as it’s school holidays here and so I’ve had days where I’ve not seen another soul apart from the family.

    To be honest, I’m surprised at how many yes responses I am getting. Here is my update:
    Day 3 – watched a 3D printing display and asked if I could have the small robot figurine for my youngest Barbarian (*yes*)

    Day 4 – asked a friend if she could drop me home after a dinner out (taking her out of her way and I HATE inconveniencing anyone so this one out of my comfort zone) (*yes*)

    Day 5 – asked for a full face makeover at a make-up counter offering free eye makeovers (*yes*)

    Day 6 – asked grocery delivery man to unpack groceries for me (*no*)

    Day 7 – okay, this is a little ‘get out of jail free day’ but we spent the day bushwalking in a remote part of a national park (no mobile reception either) so I am using asking Jessica on her blog to come to Australia for a conference as my #beatrejection (*definitely one day*)

    Day 8 – asked for the youngest Barbarian to be put on the same basketball team as his mates regardless of skill (*yes*)

    Day 9 – work asked me (on my holidays) to write a report today. Normally I would say yes, but today I asked if I could submit it next week (*yes*)

    I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the last week. Being rejected doesn’t upset me terribly much, but the asking is difficult (even though I expect a no). I’m not really going far out of my comfort zone, and I wonder if pushing myself further out of my comfort zone is what I need to do. It’s kinda funny, because if I expect a no, and the no doesn’t worry me, why does my stomach knot at having to ask?

    So I’ve thought of a task that has me crawling out of my skin even as I type this. I expect and would be stunned beyond belief if the answer is anything but no. But I am going to need support before I can go ahead with it as I have a huge fear of being rude. Thoughts on the following…

    Last week Rachel Horsting said she was making a list of career goals. It got me thinking of writing related #beatrejection tasks. I’m going to enter contests as she suggested, but this is the idea that will push me:
    Writing to ‘the author I most want to be compared with’ (my author idol as such) and asking if they would read any pages of my wip.

    That alone would be terribly rude, but the author in question is one of Jessica’s stable of authors, so I am keeping my fingers crossed they know what Jessica is doing (freaking out thinking about it so would cheat a little and add the #beatrejection tag to the question, and a link to Jessica’s post, just in case – or does this totally defeat the Qs purpose?).

    I don’t think I can get more out of my comfort zone than this. But this is more the purpose of the task, to push ourselves to do things we wouldn’t normally do, rather than the end result. Think about the doughnut youtube clip – he expected a no so it’s not really a rejection if you know the answer, but asking for those olympic doughnuts was the tough part. Jessica said it in her post above Go out there and do what might feel uncomfortable. The above is as uncomfortable as I can get, but would it be taking it too far?

    1. I say go for it. There’s no cheating in this. It’s about asking. If you need to explain what makes you ask it’s all good.

      1. Thanks, Jessica. Glad explaining isn’t cheating. I’ll have to pull up my big girl pants and just do it. Everything else will be a piece of cake after this one!

  5. I say go for it and if you can get something positive out it all the better. That is the point, nothing says you have to do it without the other party knowing what your doing.
    Good luck

    1. I agree with Jessica and Hollie. Go for it. It’s so easy to be brave when it’s not me doing it, but I love the idea. I’ve been thinking about sending my books to agents (with a polite note, of course) asking if they would read them with a view to looking at the ms of the sequels. Like you, every time I think of it my stomach does the rumba, but what’s the worse that can happen? Most will say no I expect, but if just one says yes, I’m interested, it would be brilliant. Fortune favours the brave. This is another of my mum’s sayings. She had lots. I haven’t even scraped the surface.

      1. Valentina, thanks for your support. You might be interested in a post agent Janet Reid (aka Query Shark) wrote in the last week on sending comp novels to agents – here.

    2. Thanks for the support, Hollie. I’m just hoping to get over my fear of asking for things. I know people who seem to be able to ask for anything while I can’t. Probably linked to my inability to say ‘no’ (another thing I am working on).

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