An author friend, Rachel, is a gifted writer.
Truly, truly gifted.
Every time she sends her new novel to a mainstream traditional publisher, she receives a personal rejection.
But a personal rejection is better than what most authors receive — silence or a form letter — right?
Rachel often hears back that the editor likes the book, but it isn’t a good fit for that publisher. Best wishes selling it elsewhere, though — it will find a home.
While many would view a response of any type as a good sign — and it is — it still leaves Rachel’s book without a publishing home. And rejection is rejection, whether it’s delivered via silence, a form letter that hasn’t been updated since 1983, or a carefully written email.
I understand Rachel’s frustration with the rejection. I can empathize — I’ve had my share of author rejection and disappointment, too. And my most recent conversation with Rachel reminded me of how incredibly hard it is to deal with constant rejection and how often so many of you must be dealing with it, too.
How to deal
So how do you cope with it?
I like what author James Lee Burke has to say:
Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.”
You learn from it, use what you learn, and move forward.
I asked authors in the Build Book Buzz Facebook group how they handle rejection. Here’s what some of them said:
- “Does tequila count?” Jennifer Lawler
- “I used to get very upset with rejection, taking it personal and letting it stop my progress. Now that I’m older and wiser, I just ignore it and move on. Rejection is a part of life. Just accept it gracefully and move on, and forget about it by the time you leave the room.” Richard Lowe
- “The trick is don’t have just one pitch or submission out there. Have as many as you can. (I usually have a dozen for my short stories and at least 5 for my current book project.) That way when the rejection comes, it doesn’t have as big an impact. And don’t take it personally. If the comments have merit, consider making changes but otherwise, send it back out there!” Nancy Christie
- “Rejection is proof you are an author. I think of them as badges. Tangible memories of courage fill my file boxes, physical and virtual. The acceptance letters go into frames.” Sally
There’s lots of wisdom here. I’ll add that when it seems appropriate, I ask for constructive feedback that will help me improve my work. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t.
Please add to to the advice from these authors. How do you handle rejection?
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