We hear it all the time-- "rejection isn't personal." When I queried my first book, I never felt like I personally was being rejected, but what was hard was feeling that rejection was personal to my story. It wasn't so bad when I got a rejection on a simple query. At that point, I figured the "not personal" thing really was true, and I was (mostly) okay with that.
When I queried my current book and was in the position where I was actually the one choosing between agents, I learned something interesting about rejection. Each of the agents I talked to was so excited about my book. They were all very friendly, and I liked them all. They were all very professional and I knew they could sell my book. But each of them had different ideas on where to go with my book, and some of those ideas just "weren't right" for me. In that way, I had nothing personal against them when I made the difficult decision to tell them no thanks.
There was one agent that I felt really GOT the book. We connected not just in terms of vision for this book, but of what I wanted with my career and our agent/client relationship. When it came to saying YES, that was personal, in the sense that it was an individual choice that was right for me.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that's kind of how it is with agents accepting or rejecting manuscripts. Rejection often doesn't even mean the agent doesn't like the book-- it's just not one they really loved and connected with enough to read it multiple times and champion it to editors. Acceptance means that's exactly how they feel about the book. Not everyone can LURVE your book like that, and that's okay. The thing that stinks about that is you have no control of it.
It's hard to remember that when the rejections come in, whether from agents, editors, or readers themselves. After all, WE love our books an awful lot. But rejection is part of the game from beginning to end, so I thought it might be a helpful thought-- at the very least, for me to look back on from time to time!
So, my friends, what are your thoughts? How do you approach rejection?