It's still sucky getting a rejection but the pain of it has subsided from abject despair to something closer to "meh." What hasn't changed much is my level of anxiety every time I hit the "send" button on a query, despite the positive responses I've already received. Did I spell the agent's name right? Did I personalize it to the right agent or did I forget to change something from the last letter? Do I have a hidden typo? What if they tweet/blog/facebook about how ridiculous, silly, hopeless and delusional my letter is?
Probably the reason I haven't been sending them out in batches, why it takes a lot to build up to it. Also, I do a lot of careful research, or at least a reasonable amount of research, everything you're supposed to do -- what do the agents represent, of course (apparently a lot of aspiring writers don't care), what sorts of things have they sold, do they have a good reputation and do people seem to like them? Honestly, I tend to avoid the ones who say they won't respond if they're not interested. I get it -- they get hundreds of letters from jokers like me every day -- but I appreciate the acknowledgement of the time and work I put into sending a personalized letter, not to mention the time and effort I've put toward becoming a published author. (The act of finishing a novel alone should at least garner a polite "No, thank you.")
Yesterday's research-and-query marathon led to a restless night filled with dreams of haunted rooms and ephemeral blood-covered ghosts wielding axes. I'm afraid of the negative responses, sure. But it's crossed my mind that maybe I'm also afraid of someone finally saying "yes."
Something else to sleep on.