There's a favorite Dilbert cartoon of mine, where Alice is gloomy due to negative feedback she's received. Dilbert and Wally try to comfort her, to which she replies that it's easy for men to handle rejection because they have so much experience with it. Wally replies, "We're lucky that way." (Apologies to Scott Adams--he made it a lot funnier than this)
Assign an exponential factor to that experience and you have the typical author trying to get published.
As an update, I've submitted queries (usually single-page proposals by authors designed to sell their projects to a prospective agent or publisher) to around a dozen agents in the last couple weeks. My motivation is to sample various rejection systems employed by selected agencies. To receive a request for further information, or an outright offer to represent, would just ruin my experiment, so I'm relieved that so far no one has responded with interest in my project. I intend to write a book on rejection letters...oh, okay, okay! So nothing in the last two sentences was true. We all cope differently.
True to the adage, I'm collecting a nice little pile of rejection letters. Some are impersonal form letters, some are actually very nicely worded ("not for me, but best of luck!"). When I have enough to wallpaper my study, I'll have come close to paying my dues. My tender ego prompted me to only approach agents who I thought would reject me gently. So far, my strategy has worked out pretty well. :-) :-(
There is hope, though. This week I sent a package to a new, small publisher, from whom I think I have a pretty good chance getting a favorable response. They ask for 6-8 weeks to get back to you, though, so the waiting game has kicked off. Until then, I'll continue to probe the industry for a window carelessely left cracked open.
So, rejection becomes important. It builds character, I'm told. By the time all is said and done, I'll be an even bigger character than I am now (if you can imagine that!). So, really, I'm in a great position. Being a guy with Alice's averred history of rejection AND and author who goes out actually looking for more, I'm prepared to face whatever life throws my way.
I'm lucky that way.