Tuesday 7 December 2010

That old chestnut, Rejection!

It's a know fact you need to have thick skin to be a writer.
Let's face it, we all want to write our new manuscript, send it out to our dream publisher/agent, and have them call saying you have produced a masterpiece, you are a genius writer, and they would love to give you a huge amount of money for said masterpiece. Unfortunately it very, very, very rarely happens that way. Most of us have to plod through numerous rejection letters before we find someone willing to take a chance on us.

I went through eight years of nothing but rejection letters. I remember the first time an editor actually wrote a personal note back to me--it was the editor of the magazine Interzone--telling me he liked my stuff, but it wasn't quite right just yet, but to keep submitting. I was overjoyed. Okay, it was a rejection, but it was a great rejection! Someone had actually bothered writing something other than a standard note. In my mind it was almost as good as an acceptance.

Yesterday I had a short story rejected. It was the first in three acceptances, so I think I had got a little cocky. I had to actually read it twice, and my first thought was 'a no'? How can it be a 'no'? It's easy to forget how rejection sucks! So how did I deal with it? Well I sulked for about half an hour and then I turned around and submitted it somewhere else. Maybe it will get another rejection, but at least I won't be quite so shocked this time! As the saying goes, pride before a fall!

I found some rejection letters on the Internet and had to share them. Find some solace that however bad your rejection letters are, at least they're not as bad as these ones!

By the way, the Harlequin one was a fake!


  1. this is great, Marissa!
    The best thing is to re submit instantly, which you did!
    I've had stuff rejected and not accepted sure, but the best revenge happened last April when I sent in a horror story that was rejected the previous August and it became story of the month for an online horror magazine and is in their anthology (in print)! yah ha!
    One more thing, many times the story is not rejected for the writing or the technique, it's just not the story they wanted!
    Great post!

  2. I loved the rejection letters especially the dating one. Brilliant. Having read the short story I think this is one of Marissa´s best stories to date. It kept me hooked from the first paragraph to the last. Keep on writing you are getting better and better.

  3. This is so funny and inspirational. You just have to keep on keeping on!

  4. You just have to look at it like you wouldn't want to belong to any club that wouldn't have you as a member, right? Your stuff is great -- maybe it was the style that didn't suit the publication. Good on you for sending it back out again, though!

  5. Yeah, that one note you got built your confidence. Too bad more of them had the time to write a little something to encourage us all.

  6. Oh - have I got a hum-dinger of a rejection I'll forward to you. The agent even made up new words to describe how much she disliked my style and my MS. It was hysterical! My writing partner was more livid than I was.

    I just kind of shrugged it off, and my first thought was - "Wow! Now I qualify for PRO status in RWA!" Which mean you're actively seeking representation, and received a rejection, or have representation and your book hasn't sold yet.

    Not bad for being three weeks shy of actually finishing the manuscript! I thought for sure it would take ages for an agent to get back to me and I received a response on my query in 30 minutes - but she was the one who sent me the snarkiest rejection and the first one I ever received.

    No worries, babe. You're getting better and better with each editing pass and you know the brass ring is finally within grasping distance!

  7. Thanks for all your comments, everyone! Doesn't misery just love misery? ;-)
    I think if we get a rejection we're allowed to sulk for a bit, but then you've just got to keep going.
    What do you call an author who never gives up...Published!

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