Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Receiving rejection letters is an inevitable step in the publishing process. At least I hope so, for this is the step on which I sit.

A long time ago I walked out into world of words ready to prove that pen is mightier than sword. I was dressed in the pure white of the idealistic. I was untouchable. I was above the trials and tribulations of mere mortals. This feeling did not last long. Rejection came and with it the foulest of demons: reality.

However, rejection does have an upside. Once the sting wears of, you go back and have a look at that rejected work. This is the first time you have read that story since you sent it to the publishers. You were nervous then; you sent that story on its way and haven’t dared look at it since. But now, now that it has returned home with its tail between its legs, you take it in both hands and you read it with a strong heart. You look at it with a ‘what is the worst that can happen now’ eye. You see the stories faults and you see the good; and you have learnt a valuable lesson.

If you’ve had a rejection letter - or even a rejection email - you’re in extremely good company - and I don’t just mean me. An Internet search shows that most established authors received a rejection letter or two along the way.

One particularly famous contemporary author had 12 rejection letters before finally getting her work published. I wonder if those rejection letters helped her view her work in a more critical way; helped her hone her style; helped her find better ways to say what she wanted to say. This author was tenacious. She believed in her story and went on to become one of the most successful authors of our time.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

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