Dealing With Rejection

Writer’s are dreamers. Not only do we dream the stories that are bursting from our souls, demanding to be told, but we have more personal dreams. We want to share those stories with the world. In order to achieve that goal there are two things that we search for: an agent and a publisher (admittedly you can also self-publish, but for today I am imagining the traditional route to publishing).

Every writer knows that rejection is part of the dream. You can’t reach your goal if you don’t first write the books. You infuse every word and sentence structure with the very essence of your being. Then you meticulously research agents and publishers, sending your craft out to only those who have passed the most detailed research and with whom you feel you can trust to assume care of your blessed manuscript. And then you get the response: “…not right for my list.” The first rejection is fine. You expected it, right? You knew this was part of the journey, which is why you sent out several queries at once. But the next day you get another rejection. Followed–maybe only hours later–by another. And then another.

So, yes, we know that rejection is part of the journey. But some days those rejections start to sting. Some days “I just didn’t connect with it the way I’d hoped” begins to sound like, “I read it and…meh!” You’ll get frustrated. You might doubt yourself. You might doubt your novel. You may even cry (or just get something in your eyes/have allergies). It is important to remember that rejections really aren’t personal. Take some time out. Step away from the email for a few days. Refocus your energies until the sting dissipates and you are ready to get back to it. When your thoughts are clear consider a few things:

  • How many rejections have you really had? Enough to consider that there might be something that needs more work in your manuscript? Or are you still quite early in your submission process?
  • Is your manuscript really in good enough shape to be submitted?
  • Are you properly targeting your submissions? Have you researched the agents/publishers that you’ve submitted to and assured they are the best recipient of your query?

Sometimes you just have to swallow the bitter taste of rejection and keep at it. So far this year (28 days into January!) I have seven rejections (three came in one really horrible afternoon!) and have closed out three queries for no response. So, I do feel your pain. But I stepped away for a week, ate some ice cream, and now I’m moving on. Three more queries sent out. Push on, my writing friends…always push on.


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