Saturday, September 6, 2014

On Rejection

       To borrow from Thomas Edison, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Ok, so I'm still a few thousand away from his mark, but I have found many ways NOT to publish a book. 

       Rejection sucks, let's be honest. But the silver lining is that in most cases, to be rejected at all, you have to have put yourself out there in one way or another. Dumped by a boyfriend? Well, you made yourself vulnerable and gave it a shot. Turned down by your first college pick? At least you applied! Didn't win a writing contest or got yet another rejection letter? Hey, good for you for writing a book and putting it out into the world for others to judge!

       I'll never forget one of my first rejections I received. I'd sent a picture book to a publisher that was accepting open submissions and looking for exactly what I had. I couldn't contain my excitement when I got an immediate email response that they were going to "kick it around for a while." Kick all you want! Months later, I got a very simply stated rejection email: "Sorry, turns out it's not going to work for us after all." Booooo! That night, I happened to attend a writing workshop with my local SCBWI network. As part of my introduction, I told them about the rejection letter earlier that day. 

       They all clapped. 

       I've never felt better about a rejection. They reminded me how awesome it was that not only had I written a book and flung it out into the publishing world, but I had gotten interest. Maybe not a bite, but at least a little nibble. 

       Still, it never hurts to be reminded that even my favorite authors get rejection letters...

       Do you have an awful, funny, or great rejection story? I'd love to hear it! Please post it in a comment below. 

       I, at the very least, will applaud you. 


  1. Once I rejection a rejection slip. It was before I had children and I was writing for The New Yorker--they never bought anything I sent them, but that's who I was writing for. I sent them story after story. Finally I got so frustrated that I wrote a note: " I'm sorry, but I cannot accept this, as I have enough rejection slips right now." Then I clipped my note to their rejection slip and mailed it. At the time, it gave me a lift. But later, after I thought about it, I was mortified.

  2. Ha, Linda that's great! You're just like Snoopy :) Sometimes you just gotta fight back

  3. That's so awesome that you are getting your work out there - that is a HUGE step!! I'm so impressed with you that you've gotten this far already! That took initiative and that's the only way to get where you want to be. Wouldn't you have been a little surprised if your first submission got accepted?! If it were me, I would pretty much count on needing to get a bunch of rejections to get to that first opportunity... You are now one step closer - congrats! Keep on going, chica!

    <3 Bri

  4. Thanks, Bri! Yes, in the realm of rejections I am just starting out. Most published authors I know can count their rejections into the hundreds! Gotta start somewhere, right?