Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Writer's Words of Wisdom: Fear no Rejection!

If you're a writer, you're familiar with the fear of rejection.  Even if you're just writing a paper for your high school or college professor, you want to ensnare them with your rhetoric and witty comments.  You don't want to get your paper back with all sorts of red lines and marks mucking up your beautiful manuscript.

I've had my fair share of rejection.  I've had personalized rejections like:

"Dear Jessicca,
I would be interested in seeing more of this project. 
Would you please send the following via email for further review.
1. The first three chapters in an attachment in RTF format.
2. A 3-5 page synopsis in an attachment in RTF format
3. Your contact information in the message
4. In the subject line write REQUESTED MATERIAL - Your book title
I look forward to reading more."
After submitting requested material, this literary agent went on to say: 

"Dear Jessica,
Thank you so much for sending me this additional material to review. 
As you know, I am always looking for great series writers. 
I am sorry to say, however, that I am going to pass on this one. 
I simply didn't find myself drawn to the characters 
as much as I had hoped. In the end, I felt the story lacked the depth 
necessary to make me want to follow the characters through 
this relationship.
Thank you again and I wish you all the best with your writing."

And I've had the standard rejection form like:

"Dear Jessica,
Unfortunately, after careful consideration of your manuscript, 
we have determined that it does not fit our needs. 
Though we aren't able to accept this manuscript, it is always 
possible that future manuscripts may find a home with us, and 
we hope you'll consider us for future submissions. Additionally, 
please remember that publishing is quite subjective, and what 
doesn't work for one publisher may work for another so we wish 
you the best of luck in placing this manuscript elsewhere. 
Thank you for your interest in working with 
*Name Withheld*."  

If I had to get rejected, I preferred the personalized one.  They took the time to give me pointers so I could strengthen my manuscript and my query letters for the future.  Standard rejections hurt my very soul.  They made me feel like I wasn't even worthy of their attention.

Through it all, I developed a tougher skin.  I picked up the pieces of my shattered ego and got back to work writing and querying.  I even took the time to investigate these publishing houses and agencies to see what kinds of manuscripts they were accepting and what the authors had to say about working with them.

I would also suggest that you look the publisher up on their social networking sites and even invest some time reading their blogs (if they have one).  You may find that you don't jive with that company at all.  Then again, you may be even more determined to find your niche there. 

You've spent countless hours honing your skills and polishing your manuscript, so don't skimp when it comes to the details.  Take the time to narrow your list of queries.  You want your manuscript to be with people who can do the most for it.   Also, look over submission guidelines carefully. Some houses frown on simultaneous submissions and you should make a note in your query if you're submitting to other publishing houses, too.  Honesty is the best policy!

Don't forget to check out this week's other WoW Bloggers:

Paloma Beck:

Tammy Dennings Maggy(Tammy Smith)

:.It's Okay! We've All Been There!.:


  1. After my first few generic rejections, I did my research to find publishers who fit my writing. I also had another more experienced author read my manuscript and recommend a publisher. It was worth the time spent because then I could purposely target my queries. Rejection hurts but that first acceptance letter makes it all worth it! :)

  2. Acceptance does ease the sting :P I framed my first one!

  3. I so agree with you about the personalized rejection letters. It shows they at least took the time to read your material and tell you WHY it wasn't for them. With my first erotic romance I researched like crazy and found a couple publishers I thought I would like to send my manuscript to and whose guidelines were easy to follow. Within four days I got my first "not for us now but if you were to do this..." letter. I had to revise the entire 219,000 word epic from first person to third person perspective! LOL Whew! I did it and it was accepted right off.

    If I had sent that book into another publisher, they could have accepted it as it was, or flat out rejected it without any explanation or guidance as to how to make it acceptable for them.

    When I submitted the second book in the series to the same publisher, I got another "we can't make an offer without some major revisions" letter and once again listed suggestions. I took their advice and was very happy with how the story turned out.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I'm glad making the changes worked out for you, Tammy. But I'm not sure I would have changed the book that drastically unless I really thought it made the story better- or if it was the publishing house of my dreams. Why do people gotta hate on 1st person narrative so much? I kind of like it now ;)

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