How to deal with rejection letters

Author Emma Bowd

Author Emma Bowd

Behind every published author is someone who’s had to deal with rejection. But how do you get over it? Guest blogger novelist Emma Bowd shares her experiences of dealing with the dreaded ‘no thank you’ letters.

As a published author, I can have the luxury of saying that rejection letters are an absolute rite-of-passage. But I’m also not so far away from the coal face to have quite forgotten the sting of disappointment and the emotion of unfulfilled dreams.

My editor, Marian McCarthy, was an enormous pillar of strength throughout the whole process of writing and submitting The Shoe Princess’s Guide to the Galaxy for publication. She is extremely wise and experienced in the publishing world, and had always coached me for the rejection letters from day one.

She used to tell me that being a writer is like being a farmer – you work for many years on a product (without income) and then, when it’s time to go to market, you literally do not know if there is going to be a glut of your product or no demand at all.

She also wisely said that the book would “end up where it’s meant to be” – and painful as it was, I completely agree with this. It is so wonderful to be with a publisher that completely ‘gets’ my work and is so very supportive of me.

So the message is, keep going and believe in your work. Always revisit your manuscript after a rejection letter and take what positive feedback you can from it and tweak accordingly. A manuscript is an evolving entity. And you are the only person in charge of its destiny.

Very best, Emma

As a published author, I can have the luxury of saying that rejection letters are an absolute rite-of-passage! But I’m also not so far away from the coal face to have quite forgotten the sting of disappointment and the emotion of unfulfilled dreams.

My editor, Marian McCarthy, was an enormous pillar of strength throughout the whole process of writing and submitting The Shoe Princess’s Guide to the Galaxy for publication. She is extremely wise and experienced in the publishing world, and had always coached me for the rejection letters from day one. She used to tell me that being a writer is like being a farmer – you work for many years on a product (without income) and then, when it’s time to go to market, you literally do not know if there is going to be a glut of your product or no demand at all. She also wisely said that the book would “end up where it’s meant to be” – and painful as it was, I completely agree with this. It is so wonderful to be with a publisher that completely ‘gets’ my work and is so very supportive of me.

So the message is, keep going and believe in your work. Always revisit your manuscript after a rejection letter and take what positive feedback you can from it and tweak accordingly. A manuscript is an evolving entity. And you are the only person in charge of its destiny.

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7 Comments

Filed under Authors and Books, Getting Published

7 responses to “How to deal with rejection letters

  1. Pingback: ONE Star Galaxy «

  2. If you don’t yawn that much you may find a way to move past “not-good-enough” to being the “good” that I am certain you must be.

  3. Good advice. I’ve received a few rejection letters, but they tend to have a bad effect on me. Also getting some negative stuff from my family regarding the novel, even though they’ve never read it.

  4. Shankut Somaiya

    I am sure we all have been in the shoe of rejection. Criticism may break us but then we should also get up and mend these pieces and get on with it. I read somewhere when a writer had to edit 26 times and even after taking all the advise on board, manuscript remained shelved.

    I have no agent, no qualification as a writer, but enjoy writing. And I am not a famous icon that could attract a publisher or an agent.

    Just enjoy writing and live in an anticipation that one day one of the publisher makes an error and print my ‘Master’ piece. Hope to be published one day.

  5. Bear in mind that when you get detailed (or indeed any) advice in a rejection letter, you have already been noticed to some extent by the agent or editor.

    The volume of submissions is such that to get that level of response is a positive sign!

  6. Yes, I’ve received some positive comments from a number of agents, but still no offer to represent my work.

  7. BadDayInProgress

    I just got one an hour ago. My day went downhill from there. It really stings. And all the rejection emails didn’t provide any other useful info besides a polite no. I understand agents are busy and can’t really discuss in detail why they say no, so I have no idea how to improve it. Any thoughts?