man typing on computer
writing a novel,  writing fiction,  writing for children

The Dreaded Rejection Letter

You’ve taken classes, studied the best writing books, outlined your novel, taken a year to write it, and let others read and critique it. You’ve researched the market, picked a few publishers you feel will be the best fit for your novel, and formatted the manuscript properly. You’ve included a cover letter and return postage.

The Waiting Begins

Days pass by slowly. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months. You think the publisher is seriously considering your novel until . . . you go to the mailbox one day or check your email and there it is.

A letter from the publisher.

You rip it open wondering when the publication date will be, only to find a form letter that says something to the effect of, “Thank you for your submission. You’ve put a lot of work and effort into writing your novel. While we can see potential, we feel it isn’t quite right for us at this time. Good luck in placing your work somewhere else.”

Though you may feel like your guts have been ripped out, it’s important to objectively examine the rejection letter.

Why the Rejection

First of all, the publisher is rejecting your work, not you personally. After all, publishing is a business and publishers have a bottom line they must meet, just like any other business. In order to accept a manuscript for publication, a publisher must feel confident that the book will not only sell, but sell well enough for the publisher to make money. While writers view their work as art, publishers see it as a business proposition.

Next, look for any other information contained in the rejection letter. Did an editor write a note? What did it say? Many times, though a publisher may love a particular manuscript, they may have just accepted a similar manuscript,  run out of budget, or feel they don’t have the resources to properly market your manuscript. A handwritten note is always a good sign and means your manuscript was probably close to acceptance.

My First Novel

I eagerly sent my first novel off to a publisher. I was sure it would be accepted because I loved the story so much. When the rejection letter came, the editor mentioned that the story had potential and asked if I would be willing to rewrite it. I agreed and got to work revising my book. After a few months passed, I submitted it and eagerly waited for an acceptance. Unfortunately, this publisher rejected it, even with the rewrite, andI I was deflated.

It is an emotional disappointment to receive a rejection letter, but it’s part of the writing game. I eventually found a publisher for that book. I learned that the more rejections you garner, the more likely it is that one of these days you’ll have an acceptance. And I went on to publish more books.

Never Surrender

Don’t ever let a rejection letter dissuade you from your writing dream. See it for what it is, a letter stating that one specific publisher cannot use your work. File the letter away, dust yourself off, and get back to your writing.

Remember, a published author is a writer who didn’t give up.

Don’t give up.

Speak to My Heart by Rebecca Talley

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