Moving from rejection to acceptance

Who says they’re right?

Dealing with rejection is difficult and failure is subjective. Just because a publisher has rejected your work doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of publication. Many best sellers were rejected a number of times before finally being accepted. Sometimes a work has to be in the right place at the right time. Take on board whatever publishers say, but only if their advice sounds reasonable.

Cover of "The First Wives Club"Writers can also reject publishers

Twenty-seven publishers rejected The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith and one actually wanted to change the ending so that the wives got back with their husbands. In that particular case, the author rejected the publisher and rightly so. Publishers don’t always know the best direction to take. Sometimes writers can read the market better and know when the time is right for their books to succeed.

Rejection doesn’t mean failure

Rejection and failure don’t have to go hand in hand. Colonel Harland Sanders tried to get his Kentucky Fried Chicken (now KFC) into restaurants over 1,000 times before someone said yes. Admittedly, he wasn’t trying to sell a manuscript, but the public was ready for his product and he knew it. So, don’t say ‘I failed’, say instead ‘It didn’t work out that time, but …’ There is no deadline for having your work published unless you impose one yourself. Remember, some books are even published posthumously.

Don’t give up

Rejection can be difficult to deal with and it can have a demoralising effect on you if you let it. Few other professions encounter so much rejection. Sure, comedians are heckled and politicians are scorned, but what about bakers, pilots, nurses and athletes? Can you imagine these professionals having to deal with the amount of rejection writers face? No, they would probably throw in the towel. If you’re convinced you have something to offer the world through your writing, don’t give up.

Boxing Kangaroo flag, design used in 1983 as t...Persevere

The number one attribute of a successful writer isn’t the ability to write, it’s actually perseverance. Writers manuscripts are rejected all the time—even Harry Potter! Numerous publishers rejected The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth, some say almost 50, but one did accept it and this suggests the majority of publishers don’t know everything. When a publisher rejects your work, sometimes it’s better to say ‘what would they know’ and move on to the next publisher.

Keep improving

Of course, don’t blindly keep submitting unfinished work or sending work that hasn’t been through a series of critiques with mostly positive feedback. Continue to improve your writing skills and read a variety of books to learn how others convey a story. The next time you receive a rejection, don’t view it as a failure full stop, simply see it as a hiccup. ‘After all, tomorrow is another day.’

booksWork towards acceptance

Have a healthy self-belief, work hard, write better, keep learning, read more and you’ll move closer towards acceptance. Others have done it and so can you.

Justin O’Leary

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4 thoughts on “Moving from rejection to acceptance

  1. Nicely said, Justin. I just read another post before yours where the blogger/writer was very depressed about this very subject. I think I’ll send her this link to your positive thoughts.

    • Thank you, Char. That’s a great idea! Please tell her that when I started writing years ago, I used to get down about rejection too, but not anymore. The more you write and submit the easier it is to deal with rejection. And when you finally do get an acceptance, it more than makes up for all the rejections.

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