The ugly “R” word—rejection! After slaving over your writing, you will reach, “The End.” It’s difficult to let it go, to put your book out there and face possible rejection. It’s hard to let your baby go forth into the big world, but a manuscript neatly packed in a box under your bed is not going to sell.
Part of every writer’s life is the “R” word. Watching those rejection form letters pile up can be discouraging. Before giving up, consider these points of reference. Did you hop on your two-wheeler bike for the first time and take off on a smooth ride? Did you tie your shoes properly the first time? Did you win your first spelling bee? Probably not.
It’s unrealistic to think your manuscript will be accepted ‘as is’ by the first agent or publisher who reads it. More likely, your final draft will need corrections, editing, rewrites, and multiple submissions.
The reasons for rejection of your manuscript are numerous, but tend to fall into certain patterns.
There may be legitimate literacy concerns. The story may be poorly written, grammatically incorrect, have spelling errors or have point-of-view confusion. The plot may not be fully developed or lack tension. The story may be too short or too long to hold the readers’ attention. The characters may be stereotyped, one dimensional, or without depth of emotion.
These are the easiest variables for you to control. Your willingness to accept feedback, edit, rewrite, correct, and update your manuscript will generally result in tighter and improved writing. The writer can control for literacy problems by improving his or her writing skills. Your writing will improve as you read more, attend writers’ conferences, go to book fairs,join a critic group, participate in a writers’ group, and of course, write, write, write.
The political context of your book can also lead to rejection. There may be a glut of science fiction, horror or love stories on the market at the time of your submission. The publisher may have another similar book about to be published and doesn’t want to create undue competition. A publishing house can change their focus from Westerns to romance. You have no control over these issues; however, diligent research will help you find the right fit for your book. If you believe in your story and feel it is worthy of publication, remember, persistence is the key to success.
Most frustrating for any author is the rejection of a well-written story, with intriguing characters, and an exciting plot. You have no doubt read many books and wondered how they ever found a publisher. Your book is so much better!
Keep in mind famous authors faced rejection many times before they found publication. For example, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck had 12 rejections before it was accepted for publication. James Joyce had over 20 rejections for Dubliners. J.K. Rowling, the wealthiest and most successful author of all time, had the Harry Potter story rejected time after time.
Remember also, even after literary success, six figure retainers, and fame that spread from book to screen, there are people who don’t like to read works by Stephen King, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, John Steinbeck or Ernest Hemmingway. They have all suffered “reader rejection” at some point in their careers.
When dealing with rejection, believe in yourself, be realistic, and keep things in perspective.
~ Valerie Allen ~
Member of NLAPW, Cape Canaveral Branch
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Excerpted from: Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged by Valerie Allen.