Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On Rejection

Since this time of the year seems to be ripe with contests, auctions, and querying I thought I’d take a moment to discuss rejection. If you’ve followed this blog you might recall a few of my previous posts on rejections: Dealing with Disappointment, and Taking Criticism.

But I think it’s worth discussing again because rejection is an ever present part of this business. Whether you’ve failed to make it to the next round of a contest or you’ve received a form rejection from an agent – rejection stings. But it’s not the end of the world. Here are a few reasons you should go on in the face of rejection:

1. You are not alone. Everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) has been rejected. Even JK Rowling. So consider yourself in good company. Several people tweeting under the #Pitchwars hashtag noted how they didn't make it into the contest last year but went on to get an agent five months later.

2. You can learn from it. Find the opportunity in every challenge. Ask questions – when appropriate or offered. Recently, Authoress hosted the Baker’s Dozen contest. Only 60 total entries were allowed to proceed to the final auction round. For those who didn’t make it to the auction round she offered a three page crit at a small cost. It was a golden opportunity to learn the reason why your entry didn’t make the cut. Um, that’s invaluable information. Yes please!

3. You can improve your MS. Baker’s Dozen and Pitch Wars are two contest juggernauts. As each contest deadline was nearing the hosts posted details and/or helpful hints that writers could use to polish their MS before submitting. But even if you polished your MS until is shined bright like a diamond you may still get a rejection. Learn common rejection reasons and improve your MS.

And last, but not least, you should always go on in the face of rejection because this business is highly subjective. Personal tastes and opinions vary from agent to agent, editor to editor. Just because your work didn’t resonate with one individual doesn’t mean it’s complete garbage. Keep learning and growing and keep seeking. Never give up!

Have you overcome rejection? How did you keep on keeping on?


  1. A very well-timed post. Thanks Colleen. :)

  2. Great post! One must go on after rejections,and I had a lot:)


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