Learn to Love Rejection

No. Of course I don’t *want* to be rejected. I want to get a foot in the door at a publishing house where I can grow roots and hopefully a career…BUT I’ve come to understand this business is 90% “No.” Okay, probably that’s a low estimate. It’s more like 96% “No.” So, I try not to let it bother me when an editor says, “Pass,” on my work. I’ve learned to look forward to all responses, even the rejections.

Here’s the thing about “No.”

You can learn a lot from a rejection. Usually, if an editor has spent his or her time reading your manuscript, they’ll tell you why they ultimately passed on it. This may come in the form of a few short sentences, but every word counts. It’s one way we can learn and grow as writers. We may learn that our work simply isn’t for that imprint or house. We don’t match up. Or, we might find the editor liked our writing, but not the story. They might like the story but feel the writing needed work. Anything, really.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of reasons to be rejected, but normally it falls on your story (not strong enough – in voice, pacing, plot, character development etc), your writing (not strong enough) or if your story is awesome and your writing superb, they may still pass for a reason related to their publishing house ie: they already bought something too similar or don’t see your work as a good fit for their lineup, etc.

Whatever the reason for the rejection, it’s pure gold to have the feedback. You need to know why they passed, where you can improve, why you fell short…any information you can glean is priceless. If you want to see your manuscript hit shelves, then you have to be open to criticism. Take what you can and use it to improve your story. Pitch the rest. Remember, this is a subjective business. Same reason I love a book my bestie hates and vice versa. I hate to be so cliche, but it only takes one yes. LOL Corny? Yeah, but true nonetheless.

So, whether you’re seeking an agent or an editor, remember to query small strategic sets and channel every ounce of feedback you get into improving your writing, your story or both. Weigh it and use it. You don’t have to agree with everything, but you should seriously consider it. Feedback from the professionals in the industry shouldn’t be tossed aside. Revise and use your new improved work to query the next select group.

Don’t let rejection get you down. Use it. I have a few things I’m waiting on today, and I can’t wait to hear back on any one of them. I don’t even mind if it’s a rejection. Sure, it won’t be awesome, but it might make me a better writer. I covet any and all feedback and I’m chewing my nails off over here hoping to hear something on one of my projects soon. Waiting is the hard part. Waiting is a killer! LOL

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