Rejected!

I remember my first rejection letter. It was quite a number of years ago now, when my boys were young. I went and hid in the bedroom to open the “all important” parcel.

Trembling, I carefully opened the envelope and pulled out my manuscript. Without reading a word, I already knew what was in the brief letter attached because I assumed that if they were interested in my work then I’d be pulling a contract out of the envelope instead of my manuscript. I was right!

Rejected!

After many tears, I put the manuscript, and the letter, away and didn’t write another word for several years. The reason? I’d been rejected, which meant I couldn’t write. (I was young, and it was long before the internet existed, and I had no support–so you’ll have to forgive my way of thinking back then.)

About five years ago I started writing again. Maturity allowed me to read that rejection letter and realise that it wasn’t personal, it was a standard wording. This allowed me to pull the pieces together and find a new confidence.

Since then, I’ve received a number of rejections. All standard letters, but I never allowed myself to make the same mistake as I did with that first one. Naturally, finding the internet and a support base helped too.

If you’re a serious writer, you need to be thick skinned. You can’t afford to cry in a corner. There isn’t time for that. Besides, time is precious so why waste it feeling sorry for yourself. Get the work back “out there” and do it immediately!

Today, I received another rejection letter. It started with Dear Writer which means that it was a standard letter too. Whilst it was nicely worded and encouraging, I skimmed over it and dismissed it. They don’t want my story, fine, who’s next on my list? The story will be in the post, to the next publisher, by the end of the week.

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Rejection: How should it be handled?

Rejection is something you will have to think about sooner or later if you decide to try and get your work published. Everyone gets rejected but what you need to keep in mind is that it is only your piece of writing that has been rejected, not you as a person. No matter how difficult it may be try to see the rejection in a positive light. The fact that you actually completed your story, revised it and rewrote it until you were satisfied that it was good enough to be sent to an agent or publisher is an accomplishment in itself. Not many people get this far, no matter how fond they are of their work.

If you received your manuscript back with a rejection slip or a quick “thanks but not interested” letter, sit down and go through your work again looking for obvious mistakes or inconsistancies. You should also remember that the rejection may simply be because that particular person or company doesn’t deal in your genre so you’ll be prompted to do your homework before sending your manuscript off next time. Also remember that what one reader loves, another will find to be trash.

If on the other hand, you received your manuscript back with an explanation as to why, swallow your disappointment and use this valuable information to your advantage. Read the letter through over and over again to make sure you understand exactly what it is saying then turn to your manuscript. Rewrite it if you have to but make sure you improve it in every way possible.

You need two things in this industry, which are, perseverance and determination. Even though rejection is painful and hurtful, accept it as inevitable. It’s going to happen. When it does, turn to someone who “understands”. Confide in family and friends or join a writers’ group for support and encouragement, but never… never… give up.