Key Number Five: Rejection: Make It Work For You!

Rejection. That word conjures up a lot of negative energy for most of us. You’ve waited weeks, maybe even months to hear back from the person you sent your query letter. You have  placed your hopes, dreams, and ambitions for becoming a writer inside that envelope. Your expectations are high. You’ve written the best manuscript you could, you’ve edited and re-edited and you’re ready to send it out as soon as you get the word that it has been requested.  And then it comes. The SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) with your writing on the front. This is it. The moment of truth has arrived. Do they want to read my manuscript? Am I one step closer to my dream, or am I back to square one, having to start the process over again?  You tear open the envelope in anticipation and read the words, “Sorry, your manuscript is not for us, at this time.” Or words to that effect. Dissappointment rises. You feel like a failure. You’re writing is not as good as you thought. In fact it stinks because they didn’t like it. I might as well give up! WAIT ONE MINUTE!

Rejection is not the end of the road for you! In fact it can be a new beginning. Remember, that letter came from ONE PERSON and it is ONE PERSON’S OPINION! Now is not the time to throw in the towel. There are hundreds of editors and agents out there,  get busy and send out another query. If you’re lucky, the person who wrote the rejection will add a line or two telling you why they didn’t like your submission. In my case, the agent told me,  my narrative was cold, and didn’t make him feel like reading any further, and that he didn’t care for writing that included religous themes. I was crushed for a moment. I threw the letter up on a shelf and refused to read it, or my manuscript for a couple of months. But then I got over it and remembered that a writer has to have patience and perserverance above all else. (Developing a thick skin will help also) I had to remember that rejection isn’t personal, it is business. It was right then and there that I decided to make that rejection letter work for me. I took it down from the shelf and read it again. The writer said my narrative was cold. If he was right, I could fix that. I got out my manuscript and began reading. I decided he was right, it did read a bit cold and emotionless. So I set about revising it and spicing it up a bit with dialogue and action.  I began another REWRITE. 

Next I looked at his other reason for rejecting my manuscript. He didn’t like works that included religion.  Well that was an integral part of my story, so I knew I wasn’t going to change that. But what I did decide to do was more research on which agents WOULD like a book that featured religous backdrops in a book. I looked at books that were similar to mine and began making a list of who the agents were who represented the writers of these kinds of books. I did some research on each one and picked the one I felt most closely reflected my ideas and goals. Then, I revised my query and sent it out to that person. What happened? She asked for a synopsis and the first three chapters of my manuscript! Eventually she asked for the entire manuscript and ultimately decided to take me on as a client.

I made the one rejection letter work for me and as a result got picked up by and agent and she was able to get me picked up by one of the big ten NY publishers!  I can’t promise you that your story will end like mine did, but I can tell you that you will GREATLY increase your chances of getting accepted instead of rejected time and time again if you make your rejections work for you as I did. Don’t take rejection personally. Learn from it, revise your submission and send it out again.  And the most important thing: NEVER GIVE UP!

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  1. […] Walker wrote an interesting post today on Rejection: Make It Work For You!Here’s a quick […]



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