It's bad enough when the mailman comes by and there are a couple of envelopes full of rejected cartoons. But at least I'm experiencing the humiliation of rejection without anyone else around.
For a couple years, there has been something called The Rejection Show. It started as small event. Now, rejected cartoonists, writers and actor get together and show their rejected works on stage. And people pay to see it. Jon Friedman runs the show. More info. here.
Here's a description from the AOL Cityguide:
It's the best of the rest, so to speak; a showcase of comedians turned down by Conan O'Brien, rejected television writers, and cartoonists who find more SASEs in their mailboxes than checks. ... They are cartoonists for The New Yorker, writers for Comedy Central and working actors. Oftentimes material is turned down because it's too weird or too risque -- not necessarily because the work is poor.
Such a big hit this Rejection Show has been that Simon & Schuster will publish THE REJECTION SHOW BOOK in 2007.
So, I received a mass e-mail, asking if I'd send in some rejected cartoons. So I did. A couple weeks later (go ahead, say it with me), I was rejected by THE REJECTION SHOW BOOK! Ha ha ha!
It was, what I call a "good" rejection: a personal e-mail letting me know that the editor liked what I sent; it was close, but no cigar, etc. And I was competing with a lot of other cartoonists.
All kidding aside, I know some really talented people who have been rejected and it was tough competition to get into the book. No hard feelings.