Recently, I had to reject something that I really, really wanted to buy.
This isn’t an editorial rant about being crushed by sales targets or market cliches — that doesn’t really happen here. This is a mournful acknowledgement of how rejection is miserable for everyone involved.
I loved everything about that wonderful manuscript by that wonderful author — with only one reservation. But that one reservation was shared by the whole team. And it was insurmountable. (Boo.)
I wrote and rewrote the rejection letter, trying to show how much I wanted to buy it and explaining why I couldn’t, in a positive way… I didn’t want anything I wrote to get the author down. And it made me think I should write some tips for writers about How to Be Happier with Rejection:
1. You actually submitted something.
I have come across so many writers who aren’t able to finish a manuscript to submission level — or who are too scared to submit. If you are getting rejected, you’ve accomplished much more than many writers out there.
2. Know that the editor is sad too.
Even if they aren’t as sad as I was to let that book go, they are still sad. Each new book that comes in has the possibility to be the Next Big Thing, and every agent or editor is hoping that what they crack open next will be just that. It’s disappointing for us, too, when we have to say no for whatever reason.
3. There are lots of other fish in the sea.
A rejection is just one person’s opinion. There are countless rejection-to-success stories out there. DON’T GIVE UP! Keep sending it out… but at the same time:
4. You’ve got more to give.
The best way to handle rejection is accept and move on. Start writing something else. (NOT a sequel.) Experiment, try something new. Something that’s hard or uncomfortable or outrageous. You never know where it might lead.
5. Rejection makes books better
When you finally DO get accepted, you’ll know that because of all the other rejections that are happening, your publisher will have the time to devote to making your book a success.
Does anyone have any POSITIVE rejection stories to share? (As this is a “Be Happier” blog, I am discouraging rants about hideous people who have rejected you for no good reason…)