Rejections are bad. They hurt us because we usually take them personally. It feels like they undermine our self-worth and our value as a person. On getting rejected, we have a variety of reactions. We might feel that:
– we’re no good
– we suck at everything
– we don’t try hard enough.
– our best will never be sufficient.
– fate will never be on my side
– why wasn’t I born smarter like xyz?
Take your pick of the self belittling put downs listed above. At one time or another we’ve all run through one or more of them.
As a writer one has to learn how to handle rejection properly. Take it from me, it’s part of the training. I have had a huge number of rejection slips/emails and I think, so has any writer who’s tried to get published. While at the time I felt really, really bad, with time and armed with more knowledge and experience of the writing and publishing world, it has come across as indisputable truth to me that rejections are good. Yes. Really. That’s a fact because they help you in many ways. For instance they help you :
– To understand and define your goal better.
– To face your errors.
– To grow.
These days self publishing has become easy and accessible. However, I hold that one should self publish only after multiple rounds of trying for traditional publishing. It might lead to rejections. It would lead to rejections and that would hurt. But if you look beyond that, it will help you to hone and sharpen your craft even better than a writing workshop. If you take it in the right way. My experience is mostly in romance genre so focusing on that though it applies to most genres.
Let’s face it: No one is born a writer. Just like no one is born a runner. Or golfer. Or dancer. Singer. And so on…
So rejections will be there to tell you how far you have come. How much further you still have to go. (No telling that for sure by the way)
Now let’s look at the possibilities.
- If you query for a manuscript for first or second time you might probably get
a standard reject.
- You might get something like good but not suitable.
- Or you might get an R and R (revise and resubmit). A book doesn’t get through the door without edits.
- On rare occasion it might, if you have been with a house for years and know what they’re looking for.
A standard reject is a red flag. You better not think of self publishing at this stage. It means your writing is just not developed enough to entice the editor. It’s not up to par. Face it. You need to work on the craft, not the story. You need to get your story pitch or structure right.
It shouldn’t stop you from submitting to other publishers. But in between each submission, try to read over and improve your expression, narration and story structure. Also story idea.
In the second case, if you get interest, congrats. It’s the same if you get an R and R. To me both are rated equivalent. The editor may not be looking for your story but your story has got ‘it’, the element to pull a reader in! Your writing has reached that certain level. You have crossed one threshold.
You may still need to work. But now your work will be directed at tightening the story, the story scene, not your craft. You’ll need to know about subplots, pacing, character arc but the voice, the style…that part is there.
The next step depends on you. Remember publishing houses have a brand image to maintain. They would pick and choose stories which fit in or have a possibility of fitting in with their market. Read their guidelines and a few of their books and you’ll get an idea what they’re about. If you’re hell bent on getting published with that particular publisher, keep trying and keep reading the latest books they’re bringing out. Read them critically. Break them down and analyse what’s lacking in yours (according to their requirements) and you’re sure to get there.
If you feel you can’t follow guidelines, you can look for submitting elsewhere which better fits your book.
If you can’t bend your story according to editorial nudging, then understand that self publishing is there as a road to having total control over your story. However, it’s not without the ups or downs. That’s the matter of discussion for another day.
To sum up that’s what I’ve learnt from rejections. And to be very frank I’ve had them from the best of the best in publishing. Then when I submitting my book, Against All Rules, I began to see the change. I heard back from most of the places where I submitted my book. Quite a few told me they loved it but… That was the catch. The story had to be modified to fit in with what they were publishing. But the consistent rejections instead of working against me, worked for me and gave me faith in the story. Two editors of prominent houses told me they totally loved the characters. With that kind of feedback, there was no looking back from this story. I worked on it, reworked and got feedback from experienced people constantly. And then took the plunge to self publish the book.
So never let a rejection pull you down. But don’t ignore it either. Assess and reassess your work constantly. If you’re like me, you’ll always see errors but then you start getting positive reactions and you know now you can take a chance.
All the best with your writing. And do share what you learnt from rejections – or even successes!
About Summerita Rhayne
Summerita Rhayne loves to write sensual and emotional romance. There’s no knowing when some quirky – or sometimes even not so quirky – happening in daily life might trigger her right brain and then she’s off craving a new story. She loves writing characters who learn and grow and find their way out of their troubles and emotional hang-ups. Hot, sensual heroes and sassy but sweet heroines mostly fit the bill in her stories. She also believes that a touch of humor never goes amiss in a book.
She divides her time between family, job and writing – and loves winding down with music, movies and the internet!
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or follow via Twitter @SummeritaRhayne