Isn't it great when an agent sends you a rejection (well, that sounds wrong. Rejections are never great) that sounds like it's directed toward you, personally, and not just a standard form rejection? I admit that I naively thought a rejection was personal, when it was actually a form reject. Some agents just learn to be more sensitive with their negative responses, and some have developed very creative ways to say, no, thank you. Some of them may simply be saying, "I can't believe you would even waste virtual paper with this drivel. Shoot yourself in the head now and save humanity."
Okay. So I exaggerate. But that's how it feels at times. We just have to figure out a way to overcome those feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness and convince ourselves that what we are doing is, actually, worthwhile.
Think about it. You have accomplished something that many, many people will never manage, or even imagine trying to do, in their lifetime. You have written an entire novel. That's no mean accomplishment. You have not only written it. You have spent many hours tweaking it, exposing it to criticism by trusted beta readers and crit partners. You've possibly shared it on writing forums and entered snippets of it in contests. Your novel, my friend, is ready for the public. And so are you. Or, are you?
As difficult as it was to crank out that novel, share it with peers and strangers, query it to agents, and finally get it accepted by a publisher, your work has only just now begun. Now you have to promote it.
Thanks to the electronic world, promoting has never been easier. There are all kinds of sites available today that make it possible for an author to promote his book without leaving the comfort of his Lazyboy or backyard hammock. But that doesn't make it any less intimidating. It doesn't have to be that way, however.
If you can forget for a short while that it isn't YOU that you are promoting, and put the emphasis on your work, then it might become an easier task. You believe in your work, or at least, you should. You've devoted how many hours to creating it? A bit more than a few, I'd wager.
Why not put yourself in the position of agent while you promote? Think of your characters. Don't they deserve someone who is willing to do everything they can to get their story out to the public? They can't do it themselves. They are counting on you. And you believe in them. They are interesting, gritty, mind-blowing people (or sometimes other beings) that deserve to have their stories told. You are the only one standing between their fame and anonymity. They were worth countless hours of your time. Aren't they worth overcoming your fears and self-doubt to introduce them to the world of readers?
Just something to think about. And please don't think I have an issue with literary agents. I still long for the day when I may sign a contract with one who will love every word that flows from my pen. It could happen, you know. My characters keep telling me this.
Have a blessed day. Smile at a stranger and stop and smell a rose. Be sure there are no bees in it first, though.