Rejections are a part of every writer’s life. Even some of the most famous writers have been rejected. And, more than one famous writer has been rejected many times over. Writers Write has a list of 50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected which is worth checking out. Thanks to friend and colleague Margriet Ruurs for the link.
Basically it means that if you want to be a writer, you have to have thick skin. I was lucky that my first book was accepted immediately, but I’ve had plenty of rejections since. Some who are new to the writing field figure that once they’ve had one book published, they’re home free. Not so! Even if you’ve “made it,” there are many reasons for a publisher to reject your second book. It may not be right for them. They may have published something similar recently. They may not feel there’s a strong enough market to sell it. Or, they may feel it simply isn’t good enough.
Even if you’re lucky enough to get that first manuscript accepted, you’ll likely have a round or two of editorial revisions to deal with. Again, you’ll need a thick skin. Remember, your editor wants to help you produce a great book. Acceptance and revision go hand in hand.
And, for those of you who haven’t been accepted, you’ll need to be prepared to revise and resubmit. Yep. Rejection and revision also go hand in hand.
Having a writing group can be helpful during the revision process. This is not your husband or your mom or your best friend. It’s a few people who know something about writing or who are willing to learn. It’s a group who can give you honest and constructive criticism on what is and isn’t working in your manuscript. It can be a local group that you meet with weekly or monthly. Or it can be an online group. it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that the tone of the group is constructive, honest, and supportive. But that’s only the start. You will need to have the ability to listen to your group’s criticism, evaluate it and apply what is helpful to your writing. Not all criticism is going to be useful to you. But, enough of it will be that you can revisit your text and improve it.
The thing to keep in mind is that writing is a process, not an event. Rejection is part of that process, and so is revision. If you work hard and you’re lucky, and you spend the time it takes to ensure that your work goes to appropriate publishers, eventually, celebration will also be a part of the process. The bottom line is, keep writing.