You've spent hours cranking out pages from your keyboard, printing out every word and making changes, begging friends and family members to read what you poured your heart into, to then finally send if off to a publisher. Deep down you know they're going to love it, they will call you asking for more of your work. Days go by, maybe weeks, then you check your mail or log into your in-box, only to find a rejection letter from the publisher or literary agent.
Straight up, rejection letters are part of the business if you’re a writer. The all-important rule is not to give up. Keep following your dream.
The second rule would be, don’t take it so personally. The publisher or literary agent is not rejecting you, just your work, and yes, that can sting. You need thick skin, a cliché that is all so true in this field.
Use the rejection as a motivation to make it; to let the publisher know they passed on a best seller. Keep writing, keep submitting, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
Keep in mind you’re not alone. Stephen King, perhaps the most prolific and well-known writer in our time shared in his book ‘On Writing’ how he used to hang his rejection letters on a nail. “By the time I was fourteen,” he says, “the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”
The list of the famous doesn’t stop there. Look at Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) received 140 rejection letters stating “anthologies don’t sell.” They sold 125 million copies. Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss (Cat in the Hat) was told of his book “too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” He went on to be the 9th best-selling author in fiction, and had 300 million sales. Most recent is J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series) rejected by a dozen publishers and advised “to get a day job since she has little chance of making money in children’s books.” She is now one of the wealthiest fiction writers today.
So, don’t let that rejection letter sting you. As always, #KeepWriting.