How to deal with rejection letters

rejection letters blog

Okay.  Take a deep breath.

Rejection Letters.

Yeah, they suck.  But it’s okay because everyone gets them.  Really.  Practically every author who’s ever written anything has had to deal with at least one rejection letter.  (Other than those ridiculously rare writers who talk about their rejection-free journey to publication, but whatever.  We’re not talking about them.)  So this post is basically going to talk about the sadness of rejection letters (because yes, they are very sad) but also why you shouldn’t be discouraged by them or let them get you down about your book.

Just a quick tidbit of information: it took J.K Rowling about seven years to get a publisher, or so I’ve heard.  Yeah, bestselling author of the ridiculously popular Harry Potter series.  Makes you wonder how stupid those previous publishers feel right about now.  But the point of this story is that even the great ones have dealt with their fair share of rejections.

Types of Rejection Letters

Anyway, let’s talk about the different kinds of rejections, because they are not all created equal.

Form Rejection: Okay, these can be a bit frustrating sometimes, I know.  But it really doesn’t mean anything, other than the manuscript wasn’t right for the literary agent/publisher for who knows what reason.  Don’t dwell on these.  It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your writing or your story.

Personalized Rejection: These are better!  And I know it’s still a rejection, but this is good.  If the agent/publisher spent the time to write you a personalized note, it means they saw something there that was worth commenting on.  And feedback from a professional in the business is always a good thing.

Revise and Resubmit: Even better!  The agent/publisher didn’t feel it was ready enough yet (and that’s the key word here) but liked the story enough to consider a revised version.  This is great news.  It means something has grabbed their attention.  Now, whether or not you want to take their advice and revise, is up to you.  Remember this isn’t a guarantee they’ll take you on, so don’t expect that, but like I said before, feedback is always a good thing.  And if you want to, by all means, revise and resubmit!

And instead of falling into a pit of despair papered by all those depressing rejection letters…

…use them as a foundation to make you a better writer.  And not only a writer, but an author.  Authors will always face rejection, whether in the form of a rejection letter, or in the form of bad reviews.  Every book will get at least a few bad reviews, there’s no way around that.  And if you’ve had enough rejection letters to toughen up your skin a bit, these won’t sting as much.  You’ll go, “Rejection?  Again?  No biggie, I’ve heard that before…”

Now here’s the biggest tip I can offer about rejection letters and I know once I started taking this to heart, it helped me so much when those rejection letters started piling up.  Don’t take it personally.  The agent/publisher could have rejected your book for a millions reasons, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a terrible writer.  Have you ever read a book you just didn’t like?  Maybe you didn’t connect with the characters, or it just wasn’t your thing.  Well, agents/publishers feel the same way.  So don’t let rejections affect you too much.  It isn’t personal.

And what should you do if you keep sending out query letter after query letter and get nothing but an inbox littered with rejection letters?  Don’t give up.  I’ve gotten good rejection letters, bad rejection letters, and I’ve even cried over a few of them.  But at my lowest point (so far) in my writing career, sitting on my bedroom floor with a box of tissues and the hundreds of rejection letters I’d sent over the course of three years, I examined my situation and realized…I love writing.  And that rejection letters or no, that’s never going to change.

So keep writing and keep querying and overall, don’t give up.

Have a lovely day and don’t let rejection letters get you down. 😉

~ Pauline

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