Rejection is part of the writing business. Today, my guest is author J.E. Seymour who shares her methods for dealing with it. Welcome.
Rejection is something that every writer has to learn to deal with. The only writer who has never experienced rejection is the writer who has never sent anything out. Like it or not, every story is not going to be every editor’s cup of tea. I keep hoping that someday I’ll grow immune to those little slips of paper. I can’t say that it ever gets easier. Even when the little slips of paper turn into real letters, signed by an actual editor, starting with my name instead of “dear author.” It still hurts.
Every rejection takes some little piece of my ego. Then I’ll get an acceptance. For a short time, that changes everything. Once in a while I get that acceptance that makes it all worth it, like the one where the editor said I'm one of the best noir writers around. That makes the rejections worth it. Then another rejection comes along. And they’ll keep coming, as long as I keep sending out short stories and novels. My favorite word? Persistence. Seventeen years, three novels, hundreds of rejections, one published novel. Priceless.
How does a writer reduce the number of rejections? Start with the basics. Know your market. Don’t send a cozy novel query to an agent looking for international thrillers. Do your research. But before you even get to that point, do your homework. Edit your work until it gets to be the best it can be. Don’t use their when you mean they’re.
When you do receive those rejection letters, take heart. You’re not alone. Stephen King got dozens for his first novel, Carrie. J.K. Rowling’s rejections on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone numbered in the dozens as well. How about Tony Hillerman? William Faulkner? John Grisham? Rudyard Kipling? Margaret Mitchell? Gone with the Wind received 38 rejections before being published. How about Meg Cabot? The Princess Diaries was rejected by seventeen publishers before being accepted.
So make your work the best it can be, and be prepared to handle the rejections when they come. I will keep writing because that’s what I do. If writing is important to you, keep on writing. Wallpaper your bathroom in rejection notices. And just keep writing.
J.E. Seymour’s debut novel, “Lead Poisoning” garnered 80 rejections from agents before being accepted by a small publisher – Mainly Murder Press. To learn more about her books, visit her website, http://jeseymour.com.