We all get them (at least, I’ve never heard of anyone going through the query process without one.) and they all sting. Even the ones that are sweetly worded and praise your novel feel a little like a kick in the nads (the metaphorical nads, mind you.)
Here are three of my thoughts on rejection:
Treat them like blisters – Last year the BF and I redid his mom’s back yard. This meant shoveling a ton of rock. The next day I had blisters because I’ve not wielded a shovel since leaving the farm all those years ago, but those blisters healed and eventually, over the course of the project they callused and it got easier. Yes, the shovel still rubbed the wrong way from time to time, but it got less painful. However, like those calluses, after a while of not querying, you’re likely to go back to the soft hands that make it sting all the more.
Take the good for the good – If an agent rejects your novel, but says wonderful things about it, don’t get pouty (I myself have been known to do that) Mark down in a notebook somewhere that that agent liked your work, keep writing and maybe she’ll love the next one that much more and offer you rep. Don’t beat yourself up if someone says they liked what you wrote.
Pay attention – Sometimes a form rejection is just a form rejection. But ten form rejections in a row are something else all together. If you’re getting no feed back at all and no requests, chances are: you need to start over. Not with the novel, but with the Query. Pay attention to what you get back and adjust. Humans are some of the most adaptive creatures on this planet – Adapt!