Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Facing the Facts - Dealing with Rejection

I'd like this post to be more interactive than my last several posts. So to do that, I'd like to ask all of you a question.

How do you deal with rejection?

With my work currently making the rounds through New York, it's a fact of life that not everyone's going to love it. Lot's of form letters will come back, lot's of terse answers and lot's of rejection.

We all develop our own strategies for dealing with this. My preferred strategy is blissful denial and unbridled optimism. I've heard of writers who wallpaper their entire room with rejection letters. This, me to seems defeatist and bizarre. I handle my rejections differently. When a rejection note comes, I read it, trying to gleam any useful information that it may contain (if it is a personal letter with direct references to my work. Form letters are of no value) then I file the letter away in a file clearly labeled "Try Again."

Now, this might seem Pollyanna or sugar-coated to you, but I'll tell you it's a lot more positive and focused to get a letter, call it a try-again letter and file it accordingly. And truth is, I've gone back to the try-again file, pulled out a letter, contacted that person and had success at a later date. Persistence pays off. Never take "no" for an answer. Just keep pushing straight ahead.

As Robert Dugoni, the best writing teacher I've ever had says, "Be a bulldog."

So I'm a bulldog, and bulldog's don't accept rejection.

What's your strategy?


J. Mayhew said...

i'm about 2 months away from starting the querying process and i'll be honest - it makes me nervous. it's going to be an exciting/nerve wracking time. putting yourself (and your heart and soul in the form of a manuscript) out there for some people to easily toss aside. but you're right, persistence is the key. good luck! :)

Gabriel Gadfly said...

I keep all my rejection notices for a piece. Then, when it gets picked up by a publisher, I write snarky notes to all the people that rejected it. I don't send them, of course (wouldn't want to burn any bridges), but it amuses me.

Todd D. Severin said...


Good luck with your submission. Keep me posted on how it's going. It is exciting, and nerve wracking and totaly loony. I'll add a few more posts on this subject, cause there's lots to talk about

Todd D. Severin said...


I love it!!!

Just be careful you don't accidentally drop it in the mail!

I've thought of doing that, but I just keep it in my mind.

Ian said...

To be honest, not very well. I think you just have to steel yourself and remeber that every great writer got rejected over and over again. What sets them apart is the fact that they didn't give up.

Stihltygre said...

just received my first rejection letter in the mail...i know my book is solid and entertaining, on to the next one, as soon as i manage to find where my self esteem went to , i seem to have left it at the mailbox this morning.

honestly the plan is to just move on, and try to accept that not everyone will like my work, their loss