Rejection Letters: Stop Singing the Bad News Blues

Every successful writer knows that failure is part of the process. In fact, it’s usually a BIG part of the process. So becoming comfortable with rejection can make your journey toward publication easier. Not only will it will make you a stronger, braver writer, it will help you keep your manuscript out in the world where it belongs.

If you’ve gotten a rejection letter, you’re in good company. Many great authors faced loads of rejection before they found success. Good thing they didn’t lose faith, huh?

So be proud of your rejection letters. They are evidence that you succeeded at getting your work out there. Some manuscripts never see the light of day because a writer is afraid of negative feedback. Don’t let your manuscript die that tragic death.

Remember, a rejection letter isn’t personal. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the story itself, and is based on the preferences or needs of the publisher. Make sure you’ve done everything in your power to prepare your book for publication. If so, rejection isn’t about the quality of your work, it’s about compatibility with the publisher.

In fact, rejection can help you direct your search. Consider the rejection letter as a signal: the publisher you targeted isn’t the right publisher for your book. It’s like a road sign marking a dead-end road. It doesn’t mean hit the brakes and cut the engine, it means keep driving and try the next road instead.

Look for useful patterns in negative feedback. After enough rejection letters (we’re talking dozens), turn back to your manuscript. Are you being rejected for the same reason, over and over again? If so, use that data to fix major flaws or inform future projects.

Keep working on new projects. While you circulate your first manuscript, break ground on your second. With each new project you learn and grow as a writer, and having a work in progress helps soften the sting of rejection.

Finally, focus on the positive. Stay grateful for the opportunities and successes you have had. You had the time, passion, and dedication to finish a book. That’s something to celebrate! Now just be patient while you find a publisher who loves your book as much as you do.

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