Thursday, 28 April 2011

Rejections: My tips for Survival

Building relationships and public visibility is what a new author wants and needs. And I’m eager to establish myself and construct a profile which I started this year so, I still regard myself as a novice author, because I’m learning how to connect with an authorship that I’m not sure is there yet. I’ve joined Twitter and I’m growing a firm following with my tweets and it’s a great place to develop new freindships with like minded people, especially other authors.

But there is a new part to building relationships that I’m having to tackle head on: Rejections! This is a new arena as I’ve submitted more of my work to different organisations with a view to increasing my profile, and spreading the word. Why would I do that? For two reasons really: to be read and to share my work, and eventually to get paid for it. That would be fab!

I’m sending my work to editors both in the UK and USA. And to date I’ve been remarkably lucky. I’ve had what I would class as very pleasant rejections. Editors have been gracious and taken the time to explain why or what might not be right with my work for their publication.

For me this advice has lessened the sting of the rejection. Maybe my initial approach was good enough and it’s only my timing that is off, by this I mean my submitted piece although well crafted isn’t a good fit with the publishers current publishing requirements.

So I make a point of taking time to saying ‘thank you’ to these editors who have read my work and given me personalised feedback. Why? Because I may need to approach them again, another time. They are busy people and if I leave them with a sense that I’m easy to deal with then maybe next time they will remember me as easy to work alongside.

So these are my tips on how to handle rejections from editors and publishers: please take them with a pinch of salt, because what works for me may not work for you.

• Don’t take the rejection personally. Move beyond it, even if it irks you.
• Don’t get bitter… what’s the point?
• Accept that maybe it’s not an idea/story that they want/need currently.
• Try to study what they sell/publish – did you slot right in?
• Find and/or try somewhere else – they may have the slot.
• Consider a re-write if you aren’t entirely happy with the piece.
• Grow a thicker skin and be resilient. We have more battles to fight.
• Have other distractions to ease the discomfort. Chocolate works for me!
• And if you care about your writing passionately accept that you may be hurt.

But think about what you have done… you were brave, you put your work out to be critiqued by the toughest guys in the business and you survived. So keep all avenues of communication open and be graceful even in defeat. Let it go and move on is my best advice but make a point of saying thank you. Editors are busy people and if they took time to respond then acknowledge it.


  1. These are great things to keep in mine as the rejections pile up. I used to have a nail on my wall where I put the rejections, and used that as motivation to keep trying. Finally threw the rejections away (all except the first) when I moved.

  2. Kay,
    This is good advice and I agree completely with you. Rejections do hurt, you are right, but we need to move past it. I also like to send a quick "thank you" via email to the editors that have taken the time to give me feedback, although it's only happened once, so far.
    Best of luck with your submissions.

  3. Hi Kay, thanks for the link to this post. I'm a couple of days behind on responding to comments but getting there! I'm glad to hear you got such great feedback from the editors. You must be on the right track and look at it as halfway to getting an acceptance. I see from the items in your sidebar that you have had some success, that's amazing. Great tip on responding to the feedback! :)