Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Rejection Blues

Allison, you seem like an upbeat person. Congrats on your book, btw. I am wondering if you've experienced a lot of rejection as a writer and how you deal with it. Also, what do you think of my new blog? You can check it out at Literary Rejections on Display. I guess I'm naming names! www.literaryrejectionsondisplay.blogspot.com.

First: your blog. Hey, if you're willing to put yourself out there and risk that an editor might recognize you, then more power to you! Personally, I'd be wary because the industry is small and incestuous, and you never know with whom you might work. BUT, it seems like you're just reporting the facts and not disparaging anyone, so yeah, if you're comfy w/it, so am I. And maybe people can find solace in numbers.

As far as personal rejection? Well, I think there are different types of personalities in this world: people who take rejection personally and people who do not. I fall into the latter category. My ego must be too big or something because yup, between the magazine world and the book world, I've gotten rejected hundreds of times, and I just don't care that much. In fact, my agent and I were chatting the other day about a rejection for TDLF, and we were cracking up at it (not at the editor, I should note, just the strong distaste noted for the book in the rejection)...which was sort of the same reaction that I had at the time. What else can I do but laugh?

I dunno. My attitude is always like, "Oh well, what am I going to do about it?" Which isn't to say that you can't learn from rejection. You often can and even more often should, but I've been around long enough to know that an editor or agent or whomever isn't rejecting me when he or she says no to an idea or a pitch or even a completed manuscript. By depersonalizing it, I've already removed the emotion from the situation.

I also find that it's really helpful to get right back on the horse. When I was in the midst of my agent hunt, I'd send out a query as soon as I got a rejection back from someone. That whole "close one door as another one opens" idea.

So readers, how do you deal with rejection? Any good coping strategies?

6 comments:

Kim_Ze said...

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Kiss

Writer, Rejected said...

Hi Allison: Thanks for the thoughtful response on your own personal experience with rejection. I admire your spirit! As for me, I am not in the least worried about the editors getting pissed off: 1) they basically send out a million rejections and so what are the chances they will rememer mine? 2) they often write the same things on the rejections, which though personal, are fairly generic 3) I've heard through the grapevine that several editors are actually following the blog and think it's pretty funny 4) I count on the world having a good sense of humor.

My blog is really about trying to come to terms with so much rejection. In many cases, now standing back, I can find some useful criticism in the rejections,though not all of them. I find that the quality of the rejection really counts. It's been interesting. And now some writers are sending me their favorite rejections to post and analyze. Would you like to send me one of yours? You can at writerrejected at aol.com I guess yours didn't bug you at all, so it may not appeal, but it is true that other writers find comfort in numbers.

Manic Mom said...

Allison-totally agree with everything that you've said about rejection, and Lord knows I've beaten the dead horse when it comes to talking and whining and griping and ranting about my rejections.

Talent Persistence and Timing.

Also, remember this to those facing rejection currently:
A published author is an amateur who doesn't quit! (Read that somewhere.

Trish Ryan said...

I tend to take rejection far less bravely. I hate it. It beats the crap out of me if I let it. But the flip side is that I'm irrationally optimistic. So whenever I hear a huge actor tell the story of how randomly they got discovered, it re-energizes to me to get back on the horse and try again.

Finding an agent is a little like finding a spouse, I discovered. It only takes one, and after that, everything is different. But when you're looking, the wait seems to take forever.

Julie said...

I absolutely agree about not taking it personally. Odd, because I know I am a pretty sensitive person; however, when it comes to getting a query letter (for a freelance magazine article) rejected, it feels like a bummer, but I just don't see how it should make me feel bad about myself. I have also found that most editors will give me a good reason for the rejection like, "we have something similar in the works." What's to feel about that?

Neva said...

Successful writers develop thick skins. Allison is right . . . it's not personal. Publishing is a business like any other and even though the writing may have very personal meaning to the author, if it doesn't fit the vision or the bottom line of the publisher, it will not make the cut.