There is a grieving period, a time where you realise that not everyone on the planet recognises the genius of your opus.
It helps to talk to a trusted friend, whilst eating copious amounts of ice-cream, about how yucky the agent/magazine/competition/publishing house is.
Accepting rejection early is the crux to getting over rejection. Eat ice-cream for an afternoon, not for a week if you are really bummed about a ‘Thanks But No Thanks’ letter.
Do not take rejection personally. (This one is easier said than done.)
Do something else…like perhaps start you next work of artistic awesomeness.
Every writer experiences rejection. There are countless stories of famous authors receiving letters.
Sylvia Plath got multiple rejections for The Bell Jar. Jack Kerouac’s On the Road was a no goer for a while. J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book racked up twelve rejections before someone would give Master Potter a chance. Dr. Seuss was ‘Too different from other juvenile titles on the market to warrant its selling.’ Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected so many times that she decided at the age of thirty five, on the 16th December 1901 to self-publish two hundred and fifty copies. The book went on to sell forty five million copies.
So I suppose even the best authors get rejection letters. It is like a rite of passage. That doesn’t mean that rejections are fun to receive or get any easier to stomach the more you clock up.
When I started to write my debut novel Blood Entwines the prospect of publishing wasn’t even on the radar. I had two hundred and fifty blank pages to fill first with something half decent, with a story that other people would be interested to read.
Blood Entwines is about Kara, a girl who, in the aftermath of a blood transfusion that saved her life, begins to feel different. Her senses are stronger … she can hear whispered comments not meant for her ears … she can hear someone following her.
When Jack, her stalker, reveals himself and insists that Kara has something that belongs to him, she does her best to avoid him. But he’s determined to talk to her, convinced that they’re linked through the blood she received during her transfusion.
I was lucky that my novel got picked up by Bloomsbury but it took a while, a full eighteen months before it was successful with a publishing house. It was short listed and long listed at a number of competitions and agents said plenty of ‘Thanks but no thanks’, ‘We like it but…’, ‘It’s just not for us right now.’
That, coupled with the many short stories gone out to magazines, literary journals, websites, competitions; rejection is part of the writing process.
The thing to learn is no matter what, no matter how many times you are told ‘No’, you keep going. With all the ‘nos’ you learn a little bit more about your art form, a little bit more about your own strength of character and a little bit more about the importance of following your dreams.
Every no is one step closer to a yes. (And everything can be made better with a good cup of tea)