Oct 30

Dealing With Rejection

Whether you are brand new to writing and on your first submission to an agent or editor, or you are a multi-published author sending out a new proposal, rejection is a reality you may and eventually WILL have to deal with. Because buying books is a subjective business, your works have to pass a personal review by one or more people before you can be offered a contract.

I’m thinking about this right now because although I have sold two stories this year, I was just rejected on a short story that I had sent in to an anthology. Why?  Hard to say, but since I feel it was a good story and a good fit, it was likely a matter of personal opinion on behalf of the anthology’s editor, publisher, or marketing staff. They will have had their reasons, and that’s ok.

I’ve heard people say that you have to develop a thick skin as an author, and I would have to agree. The most important thing with a rejection is (after you have cursed about it and eaten half a tub of your favorite ice cream) to read it over again and see if you can learn anything. Some rejections give a reason, but these days, most do not. They are simply a form letter. So look at your book again. Was it edited? Was the plot good?  Did it fit into the publisher’s line (you need to review what each publisher has been putting out for the last several months to see if you really fit or not – this is important research)?

Then, put the book aside for a month. Yes, a month. Don’t look at it. Work on your new book (hopefully you started one the moment the last book was out of your hands). After a month, or at a convenient place in your wip, go back to the rejected work and read it over. Is it still good or do you see places that need improvements?  Odds are you will see something that needs to be changed. Change it, send it out again, and move on.

Sounds simple. But it isn’t. It’s hard, I know. But you are a writer. Self determined and maybe a little masochistic anyway. 😉



  1. Suzanne Pitner

    I’m always shocked when an editor doesn’t drop onto her knees and beg me to allow her the privilege of publishing my story.

    All joking aside, rejections can hurt, even after you’ve had plenty of submissions accepted. Personally, I grab a bag of M&M candies, allow myself to wallow in my pity party for an hour or two, then get back to work.
    Your post gave excellent advice about taking a second look at the manuscript and tweaking it if need be. After that, send it out again!

    1. Nancy Cassidy

      Exactly! Thanks for coming by Suzanne!

  2. mercadee

    When I was writing for another company a few years ago, when comics were 22 pages, I used to feel like I had at least 10 pages more that I’d want to fit into each issue. And so I would — and that’s why there was always something happening with each book month to month.

Comments have been disabled.