3 Tips for Dealing with Rejection

Try, try again.
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I’ve been trying to apply for more writing jobs and send out more work. So yesterday while I was waiting to hear back from my work-for-hire editor, I sent out three manuscripts. The first went to an agent. The second went to an editor who is normally closed but accepted material from people who attended the SCBWI Big 5-0 conference. The third went to the children’s imprint of a Presbyterian publisher.

Not long after I sent the third one out, I had a “no thank you” on the second one. It was short and sweet and personal but it was definitely a no. This morning I thought I had another no but the agent was acknowledging receipt of my manuscript and telling me how much she was looking forward to reading it. Phew!

One of the things that I discuss with my students in Pitching, Querying, and Submitting Your Work is rejection. Specifically, I advise that they have a plan in place to deal with rejection. No matter how good you are, you are going to hear the word NO. Some rejections really flatten you. Others aren’t nearly as bad. Here are some things that can help.

Not One Market but Three or More

Before you can send out your work, you need to find a suitable market. Don’t find just one. Find three or, better yet, ten. The editor or agent who rejected it may have been your top choice, but they aren’t your only choice. When you get a rejection, you can move on to the next person in line.

Start Something New

When you finish a manuscript and send it out, start something new. That way when you hear NO about manuscript #1, you aren’t hearing NO about your only manuscript. You have a bright, shiny new manuscript to spend time with and, eventually you will have . . .

More than 1 Manuscript on Submission

When you have several manuscripts out, you are working on something new, and you have a whole list of possibilities for each manuscript? It just doesn’t sting as badly when someone says no.

And we all hear the word no more often than we hear the word yes. It is simply part of playing the game.

–SueBE