By N.J. Walters
Rejection! We’ve all been on the receiving end of it. Felt the sharp sting of disappointment, the prick of tears, or the rise of anger. It’s not fun.
But some of us set ourselves up for it. That’s what being a writer is all about. It’s mounds of no thank you’s and form letters, with only the occassional yes thrown into the bunch, if you’re lucky
According to the Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, to “reject” means to: refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use. To cast off. To throw back. To decline.
Sounds simple. Your book does not satisfy our requirements at this time. Why you ask? You sweated blood for it, spend countless days and hours slaving over it. Why doesn’t it fit?
Because it doesn’t.
It’s as simple and as complex as that.
Nearly every writer has been rejected at some point or another in their career. Most of us, many times! My very first book was rejected due to POV (point of view) problems. Like most beginner writers, I had a hard time with this. Why? Because many established writers get away with head-hopping from one character to another within a scene, but most publishers won’t accept this from a new author. Go figure.
Still, the rejection letter and the handwritten note helped me realize what was wrong with the book. If you’re lucky enough to get a handwritten note or a letter that isn’t a standard rejection form—READ IT! This is a professional editor giving you free advice. I reworked that first book at least a dozen times, if not more. But guess what, it finally found a home. It took almost a decade, but I did it.
Rejection is easier when you’re just starting out and haven’t published. No, really. I mean it. Getting rejected once you’ve been published hits you even harder. After all, you’re a professional now and are supposed to know what you’re doing. Right?
At least that’s how it’s been for me. I had a story rejected by one publisher only to rework and tighten it and have it accepted by another. One book almost never saw the light of day because it was rejected the first time around. I was so devestated by this rejection I almost chucked the entire book. Instead, I put it away for a while and finished my current work-in-progress. When I was done, I pulled out the rejected manuscript, looked at the editor’s comments, reworked the book and resubmitted it. This time it was accepted!The book has been out for a while now and it is a fan favorite.
If there is one thing I’ve learned as a writer, it’s that you have to make peace with rejection. It’s a fact of life and it’s not personal.
Rejection is a great teacher. It taught me that I can always rewrite a book, can fix any problem (no matter how large), and can always find a home for my story—even if it takes years and another stack of rejection letters.
While it’s no fun, rejection can be helpful. It’s all in how you look at it.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/awakeningdesires/ (newsletter group)
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