Dramaquill's All Things Writing

July 31, 2009

The Positive Side of Rejection

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Okay, I know most of you read the title of this post and said, “come on, what’s so positive about another rejection?”

There’s a positive side to everything, even rejection, if you look for it.  Here are a few I’ve come up with after years of submitting (many acceptances but many more rejections):

1.        You’ve submitted to publishers that aren’t suitable for your piece.
            Read published works by houses to get a feel for the tone/style/
            voice/subject/length etc. already published by them.

2.        What was the reason for the rejection?  I received several rejections
            from a popular national kids’ magazine but when I started getting
           the reason (enjoyed your poems but unfortunately this issue is full),
           I knew they liked my work and resubmitted until I finally got 2

3.        At least rejections mean you’re subbing.  Many writers write but
            unless you sub, you’ll never realize that dream of becoming published.

4.        Did the editor or agent give you feedback?  Take the hint, revise and
            rewrite and sub again.

5.        If one of your pieces continues to get rejected, perhaps it isn’t ready
            to be subbed out.  These rejections can wake you up to the fact that
            a particular manuscript may need reworking before it’s ready.

6.        Who’s doing the rejecting?  If you’ve subbed to high end publishers,
            try smaller, less known presses first.  You have to start somewhere
            and the bigger the publisher, the harder for a newbie to break in.

7.        Did you follow the guidelines?  Some writers get rejected because
            they didn’t send what the publisher was looking for.  Don’t let that
            be you.  Do your research.

8.        Remember, they aren’t rejecting you, they’re rejecting one of your
            many pieces.  Don’t give up!  Keep subbing.

I will even go as far as to say that rejections can be a good thing.  For me, rejections make me push harder to do my best possible writing and to keep subbing.  If I hadn’t followed that advice, I wouldn’t have many of the acceptances I have managed to receive.

I don’t have a publisher for my debut suspense novel…yet.  But I’ve put it through a critique group twice, hired a professional author, published repeatedly in the same genre to critique it and I’ve revised and rewritten until I’m now certain it’s my best version of this story.  I’ve also researched publishers and agents.  I’m currently tweaking my query.  I’m not taking the chance of getting any unnecessary rejections.

Rejections are tough to handle – some more than others.  But take heart and learn what you can from them.


  1. Wonderful post—speaks volumes to someone like me who is just now beginning to run the gauntlet of submit, wait, rejection. Having said that, I’ve primed myself to be hopeful without expectations of overnight success, or success of any sort right from the get-go. In fact, I expect at least 50 rejections. It’s my own little law of writer’s physics applied to myself. To date, I have 49 more to go. So, I learn what I can, try to get better, and research more into the business. This way I stay the course, remain free of ego pitfalls, and self pity. I follow a simple rule: write to please myself first, and then figure out how to get a reader onboard. And therein lies a labor of love of working hard to achieve it. The singular rejection I’ve received, for me….. is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong—I would have LOVED to get that sought after green light. But, that rejection proves to me I’m now in the process of doing what I can to become what I want to be: a published author. It’s kind of an adventure.

    Comment by horrorible — August 1, 2009 @ 3:00 PM | Reply

    • What a great post – thanks so much for sharing. You have exactly the right attitude
      to be a writer – write what you love and what makes you excited, then send it out
      there and hope to attract readers. By doing this, you’ll keep your own unique
      voice and not succumb to trying to write what you think readers want. The green
      lights will come more and more and you continue subbing out. My rejection folder
      used to be 10 times thicker than my acceptances – now it’s only about double.
      Enjoy the adventure and keep writing.

      Comment by dramaquill — August 2, 2009 @ 1:02 PM | Reply

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