Rejection hurts no matter who or what you do, but if you’re going to be a writer you’d better develop some thick skin. While there are circumstances of instant acceptance and overnight fame, it’s rare. Writers get rejected a LOT.
First it starts with the manuscript. Writers send their book babies on submission to agents and get a lot of “not right for me” form rejections. If they’re lucky enough to land an agent, eventually the manuscript will go on submission to publishers. And sorry folks, that’s not an instant deal just because they have an agent. Publishers reject agents too. And even after a publisher picks up a novel, the fans can reject the story. For example, The Great Gatsby didn’t become famous until soldiers of World War II wrote home about the story, of which the government had sent to them to have something to read.
Writing is a lot of belief in the story and that it deserves to be told. They hold onto the dream that one day an agent and publisher will agree. They don’t let rejections allow them to quit. After all, giving up is the sure way to not succeed.
But all those rejections keep piling up! And from the dark corners of a writer’s mind, they hear “you’re a fraud” and “stop already”. So I offer encouragement. Not everyone succeeded their first try. Heck, many famous authors took years to get published. Here are a few to inspire writers to keep pushing forward.
- John Grisham: A Time to Kill was rejected by 16 publishers.
- James Patterson: Rejected by more than a dozen publishers.
- J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishing houses.
- William Faulkner: Sanctuary was said couldn’t be published.
- Nicholas Sparks: The Notebook was turned down by 24 literary agencies.
- Louisa May Alcott: The author of Little Women had been told to stick to teaching.
- Margaret Mitchell: Gone With The Wind faced 38 rejections.
- Frank Herbert: After 20 rejections, Dune was finally published.
- Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen: Chicken Soup for the Soul had 134 rejections.
- Kathryn Stockett: The Help author got rejected at least 61 times.
And sometimes it just takes years!
- Alex Haley: After writing daily for EIGHT years, the Roots author found success.
- Gertrude Stein: Submitted poems for TWENTY-TWO years before one got pubbed.
- Elizabeth Jolly: Wrote about 30 years before her first publication.
So, as you can see, successful writing takes perseverance. And while there are success stories of writers who self publish, that’s a story for another day. For now, I hope this is enough encouragement for writers today!
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.
So, I said I wouldn’t be back until 2015. But before I logged off WordPress, I read that Andy Mulberry (an author of middle grade stories) nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Holy-moly…and THANK YOU Andy!!!
Okay, so I’ve no idea where this award originated but I wouldn’t care if it was by a kindergarten class insisting to award me for best misfit socks. I’ll proudly except this nomination! Woot-woot! (And seriously, hop over to Andy’s site and learn about her stories!)
The award rules are:
- Display the award on your blog
- Link back to the person who nominated you
- State 7 things about yourself
- Nominate 15 bloggers, link to them, and notify them about their nominations (Wow…that’s a lot.)
Okay, here it goes:
- I secretly love cheese more than chocolate. (Shhh, don’t tell Miss Swiss. I’ll need her this winter.)
- The past few years I’ve been bah-hum-bug about Christmas and have decorated only one to two days before the magical event. (You read that right. Behold. A Christmas tree erected on Christmas Eve.)
- My daughter had to sweet talk me into NOT taking the tree down the day after Christmas last year. (You in the corner, stop throwing stones! Refer to #1 and continue.)
- I have a dog that does a front handstand when she urinates. Every. Time. (Don’t ask me how she keeps the pee off herself, but she does.)
- I once searched for thirty minutes wondering where I’d put the TV remote. Gave up and got a glass of tea. The remote was in the fridge. (Loosing my mind at twenty and have been going full force ever since.)
- While playing cards with friends on the Fourth of July (once again, in my twenties) and laughing, a temporary tooth that I thought was permanent fell out of my mouth and onto the kitchen table. Needless to say, the game never resumed because no one could stop laughing. (Alcohol may or may not have been involved.)
- My writing mind finds inspiration in almost anything. I once proved it by blogging an idea about toilet paper. (Seriously. My dog vomited. I stepped into the muck and imagined bacteria absorbing into my skin, causing me to grow claws and a tongue that could lick the wax out of my own ear.)
Now for my nominations:
- Brenda Drake
- Authoress (Miss Snark’s First Victim)
- Dan Koboldt
- Lauren Spieller
- Jessa Russo
- Caitlin Sinead
- Veronica Bartles
- Natasha Neagle
- SC Write
- Lucas Hargis
- Laura Heffernan
- Kimberly P. Chase
- Michelle Hauck
- Rae Chang
- Amy Trueblood
Okay, I was wrong. Fifteen isn’t enough to name all the wonderful people blogging great stuff! If I didn’t name you, it’s not because I don’t love you! And some that I wanted to name, I had trouble finding your blog. (Remember, I was in a hurry to post this so I could get on with Christmas shenanigans.)
Once again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction
Ever want to tell someone to kiss your words because they said you wouldn’t make it as a writer? If you’re having moments you believe them, maybe you should tell them. Don’t listen to their words:
• “You’re from a small town, no one will listen.”
• “You’re not smart enough.”
• “Your style isn’t right.”
• “Get your head out of the clouds.”
• “You’re too young/old.”
I could ramble endlessly about things I’ve heard people say to writers. Even family and friends can be negative unintentionally. Remember, it doesn’t matter what they believe. You must believe in yourself. Tell them to kiss your words! When they look puzzled, just repeat and walk away with a smile. (Yes, I said smile Mr./Mrs. Sourpuss!) Sure, being an author is a difficult road. But believing in yourself keeps you determined to find the tools you need to succeed. You don’t need to explain to negative people how you plan finding your way into the writing world. Just keep writing and you’ll get there.
What’s that? All those rejection letters are piling up and making you doubt yourself. If I have to hand you a tissue, I’m going to throw the box at your head. Many famous authors were rejected before they found success:
• John Grisham: A Time to Kill was rejected by 16 publishers.
• James Patterson: Rejected by more than a dozen publishers.
• J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishing houses.
• William Faulkner: Sanctuary was said couldn’t be published.
• Nicholas Sparks: The Notebook was turned down by 24 literary agencies.
And even though I would love to add Chronicles of Narnia author, C.S. Lewis, rejected 800 times before his first publication, those numbers are still in question. But if they are true, the promise for publication is great for new writers. Everyone gets rejected…EVERYONE. So, chin up and keep believing in yourself!
Writer and blogger