The Rejection Business

        You can’t get in the book biz if rejection bothers you. I recall early on one Lit agent turned me down because they wanted a “writer of romantic fiction with a chick-litty voice.” They said there were all kinda old guys who’d get into some sort of mid-life crisis and then decided they were an author, and none of them made it to the finish line. 

        I just laughed. I told my wife, “Honey, they don’t think I’ll finish the project.”

        She looked up from her coffee, smiled, and said, “They need to talk to me.”

        The girl knows me well. I don’t fail on promises.

        After it hit the market the reviews on “The Mandolin Case” have been good; better than what I deserve. One fellow warned me before his review he was a cynic and I had to be prepared; he was gonna write the truth. I said, “Well sir, my mama and my wife and kids love me no matter what you say, so I can stand the truth.”

        As it turned out he liked the book a lot, but couldn’t quite understand why. I like to believe it’s ’cause deep down inside we all hold to hope you don’t have to be hateful to be strong.   

        I recall years ago in college when a boy decided he was gonna go get a date. He put on his best suit and took some flowers and a basket of candy to the girls dorm. He parked at the door, and spoke to everyone who came by. He didn’t get a date. He even came back with all his flowers and candy; couldn’t even give it away. My goodness, I felt sorry for that boy. I don’t know what ever happened to him, but I hope life went okay. 

        I have a book gig at Bluegrass First Class in Asheville tomorrow AM around ten. As usual I’ve worked like a wild man doctor until the last minute and will screech in with no organized plan other than to remember to bring a box of books, my mandolin, and my straw hat. One of these days my failure to plan ahead is gonna have an outcome like that poor kid back in college and no one’s gonna show up.

        Oh well, rejection happens. Sometimes art is a matter of tossing your heart out there and seeing how many people might stomp on it. One time a reporter asked the great golfer Cary Middlecoff if he worried over short putts. He said if he missed a four footer, “my wife still loves me and we’ll eat steak tonight.” Dr. Middlecoff (he was a dentist) knew it was only golf; just a thing.

        As long as no one threatens to sue me or shoot me, I don’t worry too much about rejection, although I’m honest and admit I do a little even at an age where I ought to know better. I guess its ’cause I used to sing to my wife and bless her heart she married me anyway. If you’re that lucky you just have to take it all in stride. As my buddy Cliff says, “They say love is blind, it’s a good thing it’s deaf too.”

        See ya in Asheville. (I hope)

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: memorable gigs, Thought of the Day, Writing


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8 Comments on “The Rejection Business”

  1. GrannyPam Says:

    Say hi to Lorraine and the guys for us, would you? Wish we were there. Oh yes, good luck; but you shouldn’t need it.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Granny Pam,

    I will. Should be a lot of fun. We’ll catch ya somewhere out on the bluegrass road.

    Dr. B

  3. Carmen Claypool Says:

    Have fun

  4. Thank you for pointing me towards this interesting post. Your words definitely have helped me to put what happened to me in perspective.

    I love the thought that no matter what, are loved ones – the people we care about most – will still love us, no matter what. And that’s the most important!

    Thanks dr. B!

    • drtombibey Says:


      It seems to me the true artists are usually supportive of each other. I guess it’s ’cause all of ’em have been there, and most have been rejected or treated harshly at one time or another.

      If anyone was ever mean to our kids (it didn’t happen often as I had a reputation as difficult about that) my wife used to borrow a line from Mary Poppins. She’d say, “Oh honey, don’t worrry about him; he’s just a mean old man without a Mommy.”

      Dr. B

      • And you never can please everyone, no matter how carefully you phrase your sentences. Support and encouragement means a lot, since writing is hard work!
        Have a wonderful Sunday dr. B.

  5. drtombibey Says:


    So true. Writing is hard. As artists all we can do is our best to understand what we believe to be true and communicate that belief to other human beings. When someone makes fun of that, I just pray for ’em.

    Dr. B

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