Category: how to react to rejection

The Thing About Rejection…

We all go through it at one point or another. Getting rejected is part of the publishing experience and there’s no way around it. Even when you’re published, you’re still going to get rejected.

But the funny thing about rejection is this: it’s never permanent. A new writer whom I love recently e-mailed me and told me two publishers had rejected her manuscript. I’ve read her work and I personally think it’s excellent. The characters are likable, the writing is tight, and I can’t find any viable flaws. And yet there could be a myriad of reasons why her book was rejected, all of which have nothing to do with the writer or the work on a personal level.

So I consoled her and told her to just keep trying. Change the book around a little. If possible, put it aside for a few weeks and then go back and do a few revises. Rejection isn’t forever and eventually, if you keep trying, someone will fall in love with what you’re writing and you’ll get it published.

It’s happened to me more times than I can count. It’s happened to other authors I know more times than I can count.

The secret is to just keep trying, and to remember that rejection isn’t anything personal, it’s not something that’s going to last forever, and eventually you will get published. And, nowadays, with all the new digital technology, there’s always digital self-publishing. I’ve read more than a few great books that have been self-pubbed in the past two or three years. And although I never would have recommended this route ten years ago, I think it’s perfectly fine now to take advantage of all the opportunities out there.

An Agent Rejects You and Tells You Why

I don’t offer much advice on this blog because publishing is such a broad industry. And there are so many changes happening these days most advice anyone has to offer tends to become obsolete a month later.

But there is one thing I can advise that I’ve learned through experience when it comes to getting rejected by literary agents. And that’s very simple: just delete the rejection and move on. There’s no need to send back a nasty e-mail (no matter how much you want to), there’s no need to defend your position, and there is no reason to take any agent rejection personally. They don’t know it all, and the best agents will be the first to admit this.

So take all rejections for what they are: a subjective opinion. If an agent takes the time to offer comments with the rejection and you agree with the advice, there’s nothing wrong with thanking them. But if an agent rejects you and makes comments you don’t agree with, there’s no need for you to comment. Just move forward and put it behind you.

Always keep it positive. Trust me, the next day you’ll be glad you didn’t reply with a nasty, counterproductive e-mail.