"Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil—but there is no way around them." —Isaac Asimov
How do you feel about it?
I can’t imagine Isaac Asimov receiving one rejection letter. He wrote or edited more than 500 books. Even great and prolific writers are rejected—often.
Overcome your fear of rejection: A rejection letter proves you are a writer. It never hurts to try. All a publisher can do is say, “No thank you.” But, what if they say, “Yes”?
Rejection War Story. Jasper Fforde, author The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book, wrote four other unpublished novels prior to Eyre. He received 76 rejections before getting his first contract. He noted, “I thought, well, they obviously don’t know what they’re missing. I have a sort of arrogant, stubborn streak that keeps me going when people say no. I just carried on in my own sweet way. Which I think was a great help, because I realized I could just write whatever I wanted. There were no limits.”
Keep writing. “...the vital point to remember is that the swine who just sent your pearl of a story back with nothing but a coffee-stain and a printed rejection slip can be wrong. You cannot take it for granted that he is wrong, but you have an all-important margin of hope that might be enough to keep you going.” —Brian Stableford
Rejection War Story: Bestselling mystery novelist Jonathan Kellerman wrote eight or nine unpublished novels before selling his first book.
Hone your skills. If your writing does not meet the publisher’s writing standards or screams “amateur,” do something about it: Study. Read. Write. Edit.
Rejection War Story: Margaret Mitchell received 38 rejection letters before Gone with the Wind found a publisher.
Find another publisher. “This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address. —Barbara Kingsolver
Rejection War Story: 250 publishers rejected Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, before he was published.
Never give up. Publication rarely comes easily or quickly. A rejection letter is not personal or a rejection of you. Many factors effect why your manuscript is not accepted for publication: an editor’s taste, a similar book on the publisher’s backlist, the publishing slots are full, it’s not a fit for the publisher’s writing guidelines, they’ve accepted another article on the same topic. Don’t get discouraged. Keep writing.
Rejection War Story: Thick-skinned writer William Saroyan received 7000 rejection letters before selling his first story.
Develop a thick skin: Expect rejection. It’s inevitable—a rite of passage. Every published writer has manuscripts or articles never published.
Remember: Every rejection letter is one step closer being published.