Been rejected lately? If not, you are probably not working hard enough. The majority of freelance writers receive more rejections than acceptances. It’s just a fact of life. Speakers at writers’ conferences always offer their tips on dealing with it. Also, there’s a lot of info on the Internet about it. Many of the articles address the emotional side of handling rejection. The primary advice I glean from these sources are as follows.
Don’t take it personally.
There are many reasons your work was not accepted. Notice I didn’t use the word “rejection.” Look for reasons why this particular piece of work was not accepted. Realize it was the work that didn’t make the cut, not you or your writing ability. Here are some reasons and some remedies from my experience.
- Your timing was not right. Submit a re-write, especially if you got encouragement from the editor. Or, submit your piece as-is in a few months.
- The “rejector” may not be the best fit for your piece. Submit to other publishers.
- Maybe yours was not bad, but another writer’s piece was better. Re-write and submit to the same or another market.
Don’t give up.
Continue to submit your work while working to improve your writing skills and knowledge of subject matter. Take a back-to-basics approach to your submission process.
- Be sure you follow guidelines to the letter.
- Take a look at the quality of your writing. You may not be the best judge, so find a critique group or professional editor to evaluate your work.
- Read extensively in the genre you write. You’ll learn what the publishers want, and you’ll improve your writing at the same time.
Learn to live with it.
Most published writers say they have received more rejections than acceptances. In fact, a friend says she’s happy with a 40% acceptance rate. That means, if she sends out 100 pieces, 40 are accepted and 60 are not. Let’s accept that rejection is part of the process. You can’t let it get you down.
- Cecil Murphey’s blog series on rejection.
- Advice from Grapevine for Writers
- How to Handle Rejection by Dan Koboldt