Rejection Letters — Nothing New Under the Sun

I had to laugh when I read this post on Cheryl Klein’s blog.

The post is about a gift that Klein received from her grandfather.  What did he give this new editor?

Can you guess?

A 110-year-old rejection letter.

While Klein wrote about how this letter is an excellent example of what a rejection letter could and should be, I found myself wondering how the recipient had responded to this blue-ribbon letter.  Was he tickled beyond belief to by the recipient of a first-place rejection?  Was he the one who framed it?

I doubt it, but I bet he reacted a lot like other writers you know.  Maybe he sighed and then simply got back to work.  After all, he had a magazine to put out.  Maybe he stomped around and griped for a while about the editor and then, once he had calmed down, reread the letter.  It might have even helped him improve the piece in question.  My greatest hope is that he did not write the editor a snippy response — he probably didn’t since he was, in fact, a publisher.

My point?  Rejection letters — both the helpful and those that are much less so — are nothing new.  As long as there have been writers seeking to sell their writing, there have been rejection letters.  The best thing that you can do in the face of this age old writing nemesis is to keep writing, improve your work, and learn to better evaluate possible markets.

You have to get published, you know.  That way when someone in the future unearths your rejection letter and does a search on your name, they’ll be able to find out what you wrote.


3 thoughts on “Rejection Letters — Nothing New Under the Sun

  1. I have my first rejection letter. I got it about 15 years ago from Boyds Mills. It was a form letter. I started writing again about 3 years ago. Now I only keep personal rejections. Happily I can say, I have quite a few of them. 🙂

    1. My favorite rejection letter is one in which the publisher attempted to include the name of my manuscript but instead rejected one of my sources. I guess it was a good thing that they didn’t want to publish it since someone else had already beaten them to it!

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