Early on, I realised if I was to be a success at this writing game I needed to find a way to deal with rejection. The easiest is a rant. I read the rejection and shout back at it. Then I throw it away and move on. It works for me; I suggest you find a similar method. I’ve never trusted this collecting of them; the growing pile can’t bode well for future self confidence, but then again that may be my own psychosis.
All writers get rejections. I like reminding myself of the list of rejections Stephen King’s Carrie received or the bitter rejection of Rudyard Kipling’s writing by the The San Francisco Examiner who advised Mr Kipling he was clueless regarding the English language. Sylvia Plath, George Orwell, Mary Higgins Clark, Jack Kerouac, Ayn Rand- all rejected at one time or another, some quite bitterly. If nothing else, when that rejection arrives know that you are in excellent company.
Rejections are sent for many reasons. Here are a few.
1. You’re a crappy writer
Most writers jump to this one straight away. If you’ve had any success in the past, this is likely NOT the reason.
2. That particular publisher can’t market your book
Your book may be good, but the publisher can’t see the angle. You need to do a bit more research and move on to a different publisher.
3. The publisher has similar books in the pipeline
Again move on to another publisher.
4. Your book may have some editing problems
No matter how many times you look at your work, no matter how excellent an eye you might have, you will need an editor eventually. Where to find one? Blood Red Pencil, of course.
5. There are no similar books in the market
This was what Dr Seuss was told about And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street. Publishers are in business and they are dead conservative. They want what is selling NOW. Of course, what is selling now is already old news, a conflict that can have you, as a writer, banging your head against the wall. Stop. Instead, bang on those publishers’ doors, someone is bound to see your brilliance.
Sometimes publishers give advice in their rejection letters. It’s lovely of them to take the time to help you along as they give you a boot out the door; they’re busy people like all of us. Go through their points, take what is useful and then move on.
Sitting in a pool of misery over a rejection will get you nowhere. Instead, go out determined to prove that rejection writer wrong.
Lauri Kubuitsile is an award-winning writer living in Botswana. Most recently she’s been writing at her blog, Thoughts from Botswana, about cobras (in the sitting room-yikes!) and Coetzee (who will soon be judging her short story), though she does post on topics beyond the letter C. Her eclectic blog stems from her eclectic writing career which includes short stories, children’s books, science textbooks, detective novellas, television series, radio lessons, and most any other writing job that comes her way.