Monday, March 2, 2015

Advice For Writers #26: Tips For Dealing With Rejection

Alex Steele here to talk a little bit about dealing with rejection.
Rejection is something that everyone in the whole world has to deal with. Chances are you will deal with it not just writing related but in other forms in your life. And it sucks. It sucks major ass(excuse my colorful words). There's really no getting over it, it's always going to hurt to get rejected whether it's by your crush or an agent or publisher. It's one of the worst things ever and it always stings and burns. Mostly, I want to talk about a few things to keep in mind. Hopefully, this will at least help you a little bit if you're feeling down.

1. Story time! Have you ever heard of James Rollins? Now, I've heard some inspiring rejection stories over the years, you know, ones that help me realize that yeah it's going to happen, I'll get rejected tons of times but all I need it one yes. This story though, is the one I always come back to. My mom and I went to a signing of James Rollins(he actually lives near my town) and he was talking about how he was rejected over 75(I believe)times before he stopped counting. One agent even wrote him back telling him that his novel was the worst thing he'd ever read and it would never be published. He's now a best-selling author with more than 20 books published. It's always helpful to remember that even the most popular authors were rejected at least once.

2. Don't take it personally. Remember that agents can get hundreds of queries a DAY. They have to be really brutal in their choices. If your book doesn't seem like something they would like, they won't pick it. It's just like when you go to the bookstore and you pick up a book, you read the back cover, maybe the first few pages and then you decide, eh, not for me. It could be a best selling widely popular book, but you're not interested. That's what these agents are going off of but to them it's even more important, they have a limited amount of time to spend reading your manuscript so they have to be sure it's something they're interested in before requesting more of it. Not to mention, agents also already have clients taking up more of their time, there's a finite number of clients they can take on. So, while it may not seem like it, it's not personal to them, they're not turning you down because they think you're a horrible writer or something.

Other tips!

3. Make a rejection playlist. It hurts to be rejected so make a playlist full of all your favorite songs that you can blast to take your mind of off it. I prefer fun songs that I like to sing along with, but do you whatever floats your boat.

4. Make sure you have someone you can talk to about it. It can feel like a failure on your part when you're rejected, can make you think maybe you aren't good enough, and that's when it's good to have someone to talk to. Not even just someone to reassure you that you are awesome but who you can talk to about how much it sucks!

So...that's it. I'll try to add to this list, do another, perhaps more encouraging, post about rejection one day. I have gotten the dreaded rejection letters for queries(about 15 actually), when I first queried Dragon Heir and then I realized that that book needs to be completely rewritten and so...yeah. But, it still really really sucked to get rejected.

Feel free to post your own stories, either rejection ones or ones you've heard that actually inspire you, in the comments below!

Write on, write on.


  1. #1 and #2 are both so important when it comes to rejection. All writers face it in some way, and we have to learn to be strong and to continue believing in ourselves and our work. Amazing things can happen if we have a positive outlook, persistence, and patience.

    I remember when I was submitting poetry for publication in online lit journals. I started in the fall of 2007, and submitted pieces off and on for several years - and got rejected every time. Even though I was disappointed, I kept telling myself, "It's OK. Journal XYZ isn't the right home for this piece. You'll find the right home somewhere else." And then in February 2013, I finally got my first acceptance! My poems have been published in other places since then (I'm currently on a break from poetry to focus on novel-writing). And I know for a fact that had I not been determined to find the "right homes" for my poems and had I given up instead, none of that would have happened.

    On an unrelated note... I wanted to let you ladies know that I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Hope. Not sure if this is something you'd be interested in participating in, but if you are, here's the link:

    1. Exactly!

      Yeah, that's what I always remind myself, like as cliche as it is if you get rejected then it just wasn't meant to be, that wasn't the right place for your work. It can definitely be discouraging at times, but I feel like the main thing is you just have to stay optimistic.

      And thanks! I don't know what it is but it sounds awesome! I'll definitely check it out! =)


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