I know You Just Got Rejected.

Ah…watch me as I smooth and polish the crystal ball before me. I am Julie Anne Lindsey, knower of mystic things and full.of.crap. I know you were recently rejected by another agent or editor because you’re a writer. It’s a hazard of the job. Rejection comes right ahead of gaining weight cause you’re on your butt reading and writing instead of moving around, and on the heels of no sleep and caffeine addiction, possibly right behind social media obsession and that growing eye twitch.

Writers get rejected.

Let that sit. Think of the Twilight Saga. Stephenie Meyer scored BIG on that. She spawned hit movies, clothing with her MCs faces on it, you name it HUGE. But, people regularly gag and poke fun at the books, at the readers, at everything about how much it sucks. You know this. She’s a success isn’t she? But it sucked? Really? I guess it sucked all the way to the bank.  I’m saying even the biggest hits are rejected by someone. There’s always someone who won’t get it. So, if you judge your work by the number of rejections, you’re doing it wrong.

Judge your work by the effort. Judge your work by the improvement you see from draft to draft. Judge your work by the pride your feel to call it yours. Judge your work by what you’ve sacrificed: sleep, outings, time with family or friends to accomplish it. If you truly believe in your manuscript, keep your head up and plow ahead. If there’s no market for it and you get that, start something else, BUT keep the other on hand because tastes change and your manuscript could lead the next wave when your thing comes back in vogue. OR, maybe they just don’t know what people want. Maybe your manuscript will open a new door.  I think of Stephen King who was told that science fiction dealing with negative utopias wouldn’t sell. King needed to try something else. Ha! Bet that editor’s been kicking himself for decades.

The next time someone gives you a no, “I didn’t connect with the work.” or “I don’t think there’s a market for this.” or even “Your writing stunk up my office and please never call on me again.” Hang in there. I mean it. Do you remember a little best seller called Valley of the Dolls? One editor said this of the dolls’ now famous author, Jaqueline Susanne:

“She is a painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene cries for the hand of a pro.”

Ouch.

I also like what one editor said about Crash by JG Ballard “the author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.” LOL Now THAT is a rejection that would hurt  a little while.

Bottom line:

Writers get rejected. It sucks eggs and we eat our weight in chips, have something to wash ti down with, vent to anyone who’ll listen, shake fists at the gods of publishing, maybe wallow a day or two, but then we get up and do it again. Writing seriously belongs on the DSM IV. Writers can’t help writing. So, please know as you pull the covers over your face and vow never to write again…..I’ll be here waiting for you when you crawl back out. And you will because its what we do. And, We gotta stick together.

21 comments to I know You Just Got Rejected.

  • That is why I am thankful for the internet. Even us over the hill hack writers and wannabe cartoonist have an outlet for our creativity. We even might have a fan or two.
    Great article BTW.

  • Heh. We can all comfort ourselves that one day, there will be publishers kicking themselves because one of our books are famous now and they said no.

    Bit like all the agents who rejected The Beatles ;)

  • This is hilarious Julie! And so true! Thanks for the laugh and the inspiration. : )

  • GGGarrison

    Thank you.

  • Hi Guys! My friends and I have been talking about Rejections so much lately! It’s totally on my mind. It unites us regardless of our genres and I gotta say …. I kinda like the link. War wounds if you will :) Camaraderie!

  • Are you suggesting there’s something wrong with caffeine addictions? Very funny post Julie, was a blast to read :) I think writers get hung up on beating ourselves over rejection because we have the work, we have the effort, we’re just waiting for someone to justify it. Just need to step back, value ourselves and our writing, and one day publishers will beg us for forgiveness!

    Take care!

    -Benjamin

  • What a great great great great… GREAT post! I did love it, if you cannot tell. :)

  • Thank you for this.
    I’ve been rejected 13 times during the past month and with each one, kept telling myself, ‘It took Twilight 16 rejections to get picked up; I’m better than that, so I just need X more before I’m picked up too.’ Yet, here I am… still nothing.
    Oh well, there’s always Amazon.

  • Great post – there aren’t too many careers where rejection is such a normal part of the process! :)

  • After receiving nearly 20 rejections for my novel, Raven, I gave up sending them altogether. Why be forced to feel like crap every time the postman arrives bearing a large brown envelope?
    Nope, enough was enough so I decided to go it alone and self-publish (as an ebook). Since then (that was May this year), I’ve sold a hell of a lot more copies than I otherwise would have done! I’ve received some fabulous reviews from book reviewers and other readers. I’m happier. These days, I quite like checking my post box!

  • I LOVED this post. Such a great way of looking at rejection. Thank you. I’m bracing myself to pitch at a conference this weekend, so if I get rejected or if they don’t even ask for a partial, I’m gonna remember your fun, kind, smart words.

    BTW, check out my blog. I wrote about Facing The Fear and Pitching. Hope to see all of you there. The coffee’s on.

  • It might help if you had my blog address. It is http://www.banterwithbeth.blogspot.com Come by and tell me your greatest fear when it comes to pitching.

    Thanks, Julie, for this great advice about rejection.

  • I love positive posts about rejection. Writers must be resilient. Thick skin is required!

  • Hang in there, AL. Remember what Suzy says in the “comments (congratulations).” It (Success) will happen for you. Julie, well said! Nice pick-me-up for anyone feeling, “when is this going to happen?” It will, believe, it will. Keep pressing forward and… write.

  • Funny and encouraging. Still glad I am not a writer. Bad enough when a publisher rejects my request for a review copy of a book :)

  • REally enjoyed this post – jumped up and cheered actually to read that someone else out there has also found that writing and eating too much go hand in hand!(as i type this at 2am and so of course you just know that i wont make it to the gym tomorrow since i will be keeping myself alive with caffeine anyway and trying to NOT take my tiredness on the fab 5 children…)

    Thank you also to the writers sharing their rejection stories. Some days are incredible lows – when i question why im wasting my time doing this and then other days I get that positive review or an uplifting comment on a blogpost and just like that my confidence in my writing career is restored. While being a writer is my dreamjob – its awfully isolating, depressing and heaps of endurance is required.

  • Another note: FYI…Don’t expect encouragement from family and friends who are not creative. That is what is good about he internet. I wanted to be a writer all the time I was growing up. I kept getting rejection slips an in my early twenties someone very close to me told me that I should just forget it and give it up. I did. I am now 61 and I started back writing and even started trying to draw 3 years ago. I am not really trying to sell my writing now but I am so glad to have it back as a part of my life. I guess what I am trying to say is “Don’t Quit.” You now have the web and you can get all kinds of encouragement and support from people who don’t think you are nuts or are wasting your time.

  • An inspiring post, Julie Anne. It speaks to every writer, as you note.

  • [...] “I Know You Just Got Rejected,” Julie Anne Lindsey, Musings from the Slush Pile: That’s not hard for Julie Anne to predict if you’re a writer. In this post she feels your pain. [...]

  • Thanks for this. I have just started to write fiction and I am daunted by the road ahead of me. I think I need to just accept that rejection will be coming.

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