Thursday 26 May 2011

What To Do After A Rejection Slip

Tell Me A Story

So you’ve finished your novel, polished it until it gleams, sent it off, but it’s been rejected. Justifiably you feel hacked off with the system. What are you going to do next?

Well first off, read through the manuscript again to see if there's something you’ve missed. Ask someone you trust to check it over, or if you're feeling wealthy, try sending the first three chapters to a critique service. 

If you’re certain it’s okay, the next step is to send your baby off again - and again, and again, if you have to. A rejection means nothing. Live with it. A rejection is one person's opinion, nothing more. All authors suffer it, even the best. 

Take a look at some of these statistics taken from Online College – it might just give you heart…
  1. William Golding's Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times before becoming published.
  2. Agatha Christie had to wait four years for her first book to be published.
  3. Zane Grey self-published his first book after dozens of rejections.
  4. John Grisham's A Time to Kill was rejected by 16 publishers before finding an agent who eventually rejected him as well.
  5. Richard Hooker, the book that inspired the film and TV show M*A*S*H* was denied by 21 publishers.
  6. Madeline L'Engle's masterpiece A Wrinkle in Time faced rejection 26 times before willing the Newberry Medal.
  7. In one rejection letter, Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language.
  8. J.K. Rowling submitted Harry Potter to 12 publishing houses, all of which rejected it.
  9. Before reaching print, Frank Herbert's Dune was rejected 20 times.
  10. Gone With the Wind faced rejection 38 times.
If it happened to these great authors, it can happen to anyone - and believe me, it does. Writing is not for the faint-hearted. Stick at it, and you might just find success. Give up, and you never will...

For an interesting look from the publisher's side read this


Ann Mayburn said...

I saw a picture where someone took all of their rejections and decoupaged them onto a toilet seat. ;) Just remember, an author is a writer who didn't give up!

CharmedLassie said...

And for very experimental writers, remember that Gertrude Stein was absolutely ridiculed in some rejections she received!

You need perseverance and a belief in yourself. Even though you're allowed your off days when you think that everything you write should be used to dry your hands on, you need the fundamental belief. And a good support network of people who comprehend your frustrations. That's why I'm still submitting!

Anne R. Allen said...

I love the idea of decoupaging the rejections on a toilet seat. I used to save mine, but I needed room in the file cabinet--they took a whole drawer.

And remember to multiply those numbers by about 100 to get to the rejection stats by today's standards. There are that many more people writing books. Today's writers usually get 1000's rejections before they find a publisher.

Thanks for including the link to Ruth Harris's guest post on my blog. As a former Random House editor, she knows what she's talking about.