5 Tips For Authors On How To Deal With Rejection

By on November 10, 2015
5 Tips For Authors On How To Deal With Rejection - Writer's Life

There is no writer on this planet who hasn’t had to deal with rejection at some point. Whether it be a rejection from a publisher, or simply a teacher, colleague, parent or friend saying they didn’t enjoy your work, that it didn’t make sense, or simply pointing out little flaws in your story. As writers we are both proud and terrified of our work, but chances are if we have got to the stage where we are actually willing to show it to someone, to reach out for an external opinion, we probably already secretly think it just might be quite good.

If that is the case and then someone tells us it isn’t, be that a respected publisher or your mum, it can be devastating. Many writers find it difficult to recover from rejection, it can make them crawl back into their safe little hole of anxiety and self doubt, and can take a exasperatingly long time before they are willing to open themselves up to any kind of criticism again. In the worst cases it can stop writers writing altogether. We all know the facts, and we should be encouraged by them. Many successful writers don’t achieve their success first time round, and some of the most popular authors in the world were rejected by numerous publishers before they found their fame and fortune. The bottom line is you are never going to write something that appeals to everyone, no matter how brilliant you are.

So how do you deal with rejection, and make sure it doesn’t stop you from believing in yourself and your craft? The truth is there are no secrets. However the good news is there are some things you can do to cushion the blow.

Here are 5 tips for authors on how to deal with rejection:

1. Be smart

If you want to increase your chances of success make sure your work is getting seen by the right people. Do your research. Don’t send your science fiction novel to a publisher who only deals with children's books. It is easy to find out what a publisher is looking for, so don’t just blindly send your work out to whoever you can. Take your time, write a great introductory letter, make sure you find out the name of the person you are sending your work to. Publishers receive thousands of manuscripts every week and will reject some outright because they haven’t followed the publishing guidelines, or simply are completely the wrong genre for them. If you bother to research publishers thoroughly, you not only save yourself the heartache of all your manuscripts thudding back down on the doormat, you also  give yourself the best possible chance of getting noticed.

2. Be in the know

Understanding why manuscripts get rejected will really help. It’s hard to get published - that’s a fact. There are so many stages to get through, so many external factors that have absolutely nothing to do with the quality or merit of your work that can mean you will almost certainly fall at the first hurdle. Your book about a talking cat may be genius, but if a publisher has just published a book about a talking cat then it sadly simply won’t get anywhere.

3. Be prepared

Get ready for rejection. Remind yourself that it happens to the best of us and that really it is all just part of the writing process. You can be practical about it too. Have envelopes stamped and addressed and ready to go so that if you do get a rejection, you can just pop your manuscript into the envelope and send it right off to the next one. That way right away you turn your upset at being rejected into hope that you might get published.

4. Be receptive

If you are criticised, instead of going into an almighty breakdown, why not take it as a compliment? This is particularly true if you receive a criticism from a publisher. The fact that they have taken time out of their day to comment on your work is seriously flattering. Any constructive criticism, whoever it is from, can be helpful. You don’t have to take it on board, but if the reader is trying to help you, then you should appreciate that.

5. Be a fighter

Rejection is better than nothing, right? Think about it, if you aren’t sending out your work then what are you doing with it? Waiting to hear back from publishers is exciting. It means you have taken the first step towards actually achieving your dream. It is always going to sting a little if you get rejected, and it is OK to feel that way. But then take control. Stick them up on the wall and face them, gain emotional power over them and keep going. If you can get to the point where you are able to use rejections constructively, you have beaten them, and will be a better writer for it.

Rejection can be tough to take, but it is our right of passage as writers, and if you follow these tips you will soon learn how to take rejection in your stride, curb your disappointment, and keep on searching for the right publisher for you.

Bethany Cadman -contributor

Bethany Cadman Author & contributor

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