The sting of rejection…is not so bad

Well, it finally happened, dear reader. my first official rejection.

I have submitted my novel twice to publishers’ Open Submissions, which is basically submitting to the ‘slush pile’ and just never heard anything. For all I know it was never even glanced at. Earlier this year I submitted it to a publisher and an agent, after pitching successfully to them at a couple of events. Yesterday I heard back from the agent, the nicest ‘no’ in the world. Now it’s been rejected by someone who’s actually read it! Hooray! 

  I’m not gonna lie, I was sad. Even though I knew that on the basis of probabilities alone, the chances of my book being taken on by the first professional to read it were infinitesimally small, even though I know that being rejected is just part of the job, I still had a little cry. Ok, a couple of little cries. 

Now that I’ve had almost 24 hours to come to terms with it, I’m almost in a place where I can celebrate it. 

Going in I knew the best I could hope for (short of unlikely acceptance) was constructive feedback, and I got that. I got clear feedback on what the agent thought was this manuscript lacking, and some general advice about how to develop my work. I also got some really great feedback on my characterisation and encouragement to continue. 

I set out on this journey to become published and although I’m still a long way from achieving that goal, I feel like I’ve passed an important milestone. The high I was on when I finished this last draft and started my new project has long since dissipated, and in the last few months I’ve struggled even to keep up the habit. This is a reminder that I was making progress, that I am learning, that I am developing, and I am achieving. 

I don’t imagine I will ever get used to the sting of rejection (or that all the rejections I receive in future will be as generous as this one. It is part of ‘the job’ though, and I’m proud that I put my work out there. 

Next: get back that writing habit (again).

4 thoughts on “The sting of rejection…is not so bad

  1. You’ve got to get a few rejections under your belt, I think, for the ‘industry’ to begin to take you seriously. It’s like Boot Camp (in the way it used to be before fitness trainers appropriated it) for writers … to toughen them up enough to ride out the troughs in their publishing life to come. If you can get through the hazing, then the odds are much more favourable because those that fall at the first hurdle will have been culled. So the fact that there’s no chance you’re going to down tools and have just that one manuscript in your bottom drawer means your chances of being published are now SIGNIFICANTLY better than they were with that first real submission.
    There’s no question you’ll be published. It’s simply a matter of when. Anyone who even glances at this blog will tell you that.
    Congratulations on getting a huge step closer to that goal. I’m looking forward to the post when you share the details of that achievement with us all! (Set up a pingback to this comment now … ‘cos that day is a-comin’!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rejection letters are tough, but they can be a really good catalyst for work! I tried for a very long time to get my comics published in newspapers, and the rejection letters really pushed me forward. If you love what you are doing, and have a real passion for it, you’ll get through!


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