I once read somewhere that when you get a rejection, you should have a glass of Champagne because it means that you’re actually in the game. I followed this advice when I started querying my first book in 2005 and I poured a glass of Champagne when my first rejection arrived. Because in truth, I was glad to be in the game and glad to be on my way to making my dream come true.
But then the rejections continued and the thought of celebrating each one didn’t sound appealing anymore. This was a wise move because over the next ten years, I sent 421 queries for five books. That would have been a lot of Champagne.
Although I didn’t open a bottle of bubbly over every rejection, I also didn’t give up. There were many moments when I could have, such as after the 100th rejection, or the 200th, or even the 400th. But I wanted to see my book in a bookstore. I wanted to hold my book in my hand.
I’m a big fan of Randy Pausch and The Last Lecture. This particular quote of his resonated with me:
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
So I kept learning, I kept writing new books, and I kept querying. The Champagne advice stayed in my mind and while I didn’t celebrate the rejections, I did put a bottle in the fridge a few times when I had some fulls with agents and thought I was close.
A few years ago, wine began to play a key role in my life as I became a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. As I continued writing, I thought of the advice I had learned in 2005. Instead of having a glass of Champagne with every rejection, I decided to put wine into my next book. The book became my debut novel, DECANTING A MURDER, which will be published in May with Midnight Ink.
Patience isn’t always easy and neither is persistence, but I’m finding they are both key elements in the publishing world, no matter what stage of your career you are in. There will always be something to wait for and there will always be a time when you need to keep going. And as I’ve found, Champagne helps.
Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is always on the lookout for great wines and the stories behind them. She has visited wine regions around the world, from Chile to South Africa to every region in France, but chose Napa as the setting for DECANTING A MURDER, her debut novel. Nadine is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in California with her husband.