On Rejections & Reviews
Updated: Dec 28, 2018
Any writer who has been doing this longer than 5 minutes has experienced rejection. It's not surprising that I've received rejection letters; what surprised me is how kind they often were. Here is one "review" that came of my rejections.
I thought you might enjoy seeing an example of the positive feedback that came packaged in the form of a rejection. I eventually found the perfect home for my work with Sands Press, but in the months before we found each other, this is what one publisher in the literary world had to say about Left on Main.
“There were many winning aspects to Left on Main, including lush and descriptive prose. The team also appreciated the story's charming secondary small town characters (and not-so-charming ones) Libby encounters. Unfortunately, I just don't think we would do your novel justice... as we have several series we are contractually obligated to publish. We really believe in your voice and in your talent. However, with our current calendar full, we're forced to pass.”
I share a portion of a rejection letter as a reminder that success rarely comes to us on the first try, or the 20th. Sometimes, we're lucky enough to get a #rejection so kindly worded that it doesn't sting; instead, it encourages us to keep going.
I knew that I didn't want just any publisher. I wanted one that believed in the work and could support my vision. I knew that I would find it if I just kept looking. After all, my work had been called "charming" and "interesting" a number of times. I took #encouragement from every nugget of positivity hidden inside rejections and kept going.
I also took any developmental feedback and used it to strengthen my work. I kept editing and revising and sending out #queries to #agents and #publishers. I didn't just work on my books; I worked on improving my queries, too. I joined #writing groups on Facebook, participated in a writer's group in my town, and put out pitches on Twitter with #PitMad.
If you're not a writer, maybe you don't think this applies to you. Consider this an insider's peek into the industry. But whatever your dream, when you get discouraged by what is commonly considered to be a failure, I hope you'll find the glimmer of hope tucked inside the experience. Sometimes, it looks like a lesson. Sometimes, it just makes us more determined than ever to succeed. I hope you keep going.