Thursday, 29 December 2011

How To Deal With Rejection

photo credit

It was exactly two years ago, the week between Christmas and New Years, when I received my first request. At that time, I had sent out around twenty queries for my YA paranormal mystery. I remember doing a little dance and then agonising in front of the computer trying to figure out how to e-mail the first three chapters NOT as an attachment—I was completely clueless about the whole process.

I checked my e-mail obsessively until four weeks later I received a form rejection. "Unfortunately the project is not the right fit for me, but this is a subjective business and I'm sure another agent will feel differently."

I was devastated.

I would read that phrase, and others gently rejecting my story, many, many more times. Each stung a little, but as Rod Stewart says, "the first cut is the deepest."

I kept writing and finally landed not one but two agents! If you want the low down on that wacky tale, click here.

After two years, I've become an expert on handling rejection. Here are some of my tips if you need a little boost to your writing ego.

1. DON'T take it personally. Truly, when they write 'it's not a good fit for me', it's because they didn't connect with the story. It doesn't mean you can't write. And why would you want someone working on your novel who doesn't totally love it?

2.  Be grateful to get a response at all. Seriously, I don't know how agents manage to even read queries let alone send a reply. Take a deep breath, file that rejection away, and send out a few more queries.

3. DON'T Google how many rejections Stephanie Meyer or JK Rowling received. It's ridiculously low. I think Twilight got eight in total. Eight! I got eight rejections in one day! It's great when success happens so quickly for some authors. Take comfort that the pressure is off you, and that you're meant to find your agent through a little more time and effort.

4. Check out websites for aspiring writers. My favorite haunt is Query Tracker. Also, you may want to join a local writing group. Sharing rejection stories with other writers is good therapy, and you might get a few beta readers.

5.  Lastly, you are your characters best advocate. If you quit, then who will tell their story? And remember, getting an agent isn't the only way to get published. There are loads of great self-published paperbacks and e-books. Start researching local/small publishing companies that take queries directly from authors.

Now stop reading this and go write something.



Lydia Kang said...

Great advice. Particularly #3. Comparing yourself to others always ends up in heartache.

Anonymous said...

Really, I think number one should be dating. Getting shot down more than Imperial Navy TIE pilots, (my obsession with StarWars might explain some o' that) is excellent training for the query/rejection process. Just saying.

Jackie said...

Awesome post! :)

BR Myers said...


BR Myers said...

Thanks, Jackie.

Kimberlee Turley said...

So glad you re-tweeted this. I always feel a bit clumsy when someone expresses disappointment over being rejected and now I have a few positive suggestions to give them!

BR Myers said...

Thank, Kimberlee. I'm sure others have good tips as well, we all have our own idea of success.

Unknown said...

Brilliant and so smart... and also easier said than done! ARGH! Thank you! N

Unknown said...

Brilliant and so smart... and also easier said than done! ARGH! Thank you! N

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