Rejections happen: Here are some of the reasons why, plus how to deal with the inevitable disappointment
This is a guest post by Sherry Helms
A writer who puts work in the postbox or clicks ‘send' on that email knows that there's a possibility that he or she may get a negative response or no response from the other side. Of course, nobody likes rejection. And those who like being rejected may be robots or emotionless creatures. But those who give up after two or three rejections, thinking that their work won't be worthy to be chosen without analyzing their strength and creativity, never get success. Yes, rejection stings. But it doesn't mean that you give up.
Please…NEVER, EVER give up.
You must admit that everyone faces rejection. It is happening all around you. Avoiding it or giving up only sets boundaries to your life's experience; it does not improve it. I have felt that deep sadness after rejections, but now I have found a number of ways how to face it and turn it to my improvement. Always remember that rejection is a part of being writer.
I know each rejection upsets you, but it is not permanent. It even helps a writer to build up a tolerance for rejection. There are a lot of pieces that were rejected at first but finally sold—and then were groundbreaking successes. Rudyard Kipling, who later won a Nobel Prize, was rejected by an editor who told him: “I am sorry, but you just don't know how to use the English language.”
Rejection happens to the best
The comforting thing is to understand that all writers face rejection at least once in their life, no matter how famous they become. One of my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling, was rejected numerous times before her manuscript was published. Popular author William Saroyan collected around 7,000 rejection letters before the publication of his first short story. Even Kathyrn Stockett's novel The Help was rejected 60 times before it was ultimately accepted and later became a bestseller. Some other famous authors who received a compendium of rejections are Tony Hillerman, Tim Burton, Zane Grey, and Sylvia Plath, to name a few. Just reminding yourself of these examples helps a lot when you get a new rejection letter.
Rejection paves the way for a better future
Generally, editors have no time to sit down and explain to you where your writing may have gone wrong. However, if any editor sends you a rejection letter with specificity, treasure the advice. The valuable suggestions of the editor will help you get closer to your final aim—publication. Moreover, it is good if you send a thank-you note in reply to the editor. It will help you to stay always in the good graces of that editor's mind and can be helpful when you send another work to the same person.
Rejection refines us
Rejection is a powerful revelation that teaches us when our work is not appropriate and need improvements. A writer who does not face rejections is similar to a farmer with soft hands. Rejections are the evidence of your hard work. You should be proud to have them. It is normal to feel bad after rejection, so don't try to suppress your frustration. However, don't let yourself to feel dejected for too long.
Rejection is not the end
Rejection is an unpleasant fact of life. However, those who are fully aware of the significance of their failures are not terrified by this sad fact. They know that rejections are not final, and phrases or sentences like “No, thanks,” “It’s just not for me,” “I can't publish it” sting for just a few minutes. However, in time, the benefits from those depressing answers are immeasurable. At each step of the way, you learn something. Therefore, keep writing and stop worrying on rejections. Perhaps you will break through at the end.
Reasons for rejection
Editors who reject your work aren't rejecting you. Your write-up is either accepted or rejected. That is dependent on several factors.
Different rejections have different meanings
Not every rejection is equal. If you get 100 negative responses and 1 positive, then the single “yes” invalidates the entire batch of “no's”. A rejection says two or more things: Either the story is not right for the publisher, or it is not up to their standards. The third possibility is that maybe the publisher liked the story but doesn't like the role. Of course, the story is the thing you can't change, but you can change the quality of your work. You can learn it and make it better by practice.
Timing of submission is not right
Maybe the editor was having a bad day. On the other hand, it may happen that the publisher does not have funds to purchase your work. In this case, the publisher may not even read your piece, and the rejection has nothing to do with the quality of your work.
Manuscript doesn't fit well with the market
It may be that the publisher finds your story good but just not suitable for the market. He may be kind enough to give you guidance that your write-up would fit better somewhere else. However, when the publisher may say things that sound as if he cannot sell your manuscript, this can knock you for a loop.
Not suitable for the current needs
Maybe the publisher wants a piece that contains at most 1000 words in length, and you submit a piece that is more than 3000 words. In such a situation, your writing may be outstanding, yet the publisher can not publish it because it doesn't go well with the current requirements.
Sometimes it may be your fault
You can earn an objective rejection if you send an unstructured piece without reading the submission guidelines that state, “Unsolicited submissions will be rejected.”
How to deal with rejection
You are a human being; therefore, it is natural to feel bad after rejection. But it does not mean that you hold back from going after something you want. Even so, you will have to build that ability to deal with rejection. And, how can you build that? Have a look:
Don't take it personally
The rejection of your piece doesn't mean that you are rejected as a person. After all, who hasn't felt the sting of rejection? I know it is normal to feel bad, but don't try to take rejection personally. Even you should learn to handle such situation effectively and make positive alternatives for yourself.
You should understand that everything takes time. Therefore, be strong while you get rejection letter. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Submit to relevant publications
Rejection happens in all fields. You just need to deal with that rejection and start working in a reactive mode after it. Every writer has a unique writing style, and some write-ups are better fitted for certain publications. If you really want to be a successful writer, submit your writings to the publication that publishes similar types of work. Soon you'll find that your work is being published more and the rejections coming less.
Try to take feedback from your friends or relatives
Everyone wants a touch of wisdom to assist them to get through life with audacity and grace. Make a clear vision of your views. Then show your write-up to your friends and relatives. If one of them understands what you are trying to say, that means your writing is successful—no matter how the rest of the people judge you.
Practice your craft
If you agree with the shortcomings in your writings and want to get over the fear of rejection, you need to look over your writing with an objective view. Remember that you'll be a better writer if you practice your craft and learn from your mistakes. You can also read the works of other writers that you admire.
If you ever faced that heartbreaking feeling of rejection that whatever you are writing isn’t valuable, keep in mind to have faith. If you have the urge to spend some time with friends or visit somewhere, it’s possibly a great idea.
I am confident that next time you receive a rejection letter in your hand, you may use it as a positive opportunity. Finally, I would like to tell you to believe in your writing and keep submitting your work. And be proud of your attempt as a writer.
About this post’s author:
Sherry Helms works in the MARCOM domain with Printsasia.com, the U.S.-based mega online bookstore, and its sister site Printsasia.co.uk, a source for online book shopping in GBP (Great British Pound). You can find her at blog.printsasia.com.