Writing a story is an investment. Of time, energy, heart, soul and everything a writer has to offer. We put it all into our work and it’s hard when it doesn’t meet expectations and is rejected.
I’m going to be honest, it is very hard to be told no, over and over and over again. Every single rejection brings a deflating wave of disappointment down on me. Sometimes I feel fragile and shattered by the mass amount of no’s. The key is to let it go. Move on and forward. I expect rejections and I’m not bitter about it. It does suck no matter how I look at it or feel about it. I just refuse to let it stop my from trying again. When I started this journey I told myself that there was only one outcome, being traditionally published. I plan to do whatever I have to do to get there. I have a fantastic support network of family and friends that believe in me and offer the encouragement needed to get through the vast swamp of no’s.
I’ve talked about this before, but since it’s part of my daily life I’m talking about it again. Only this time what do I do when I’ve been rejected 100%? First, I look at the possible and most likely reasons my Query was declined.
- The agent is busy and I suspect didn’t actually read my query
- My query letter wasn’t good enough
- There’s too much competition (There always will be, I tell myself to get over it)
- My synopsis wasn’t gripping enough
- My hook wasn’t as hook like as it could be.
- They agent isn’t actually open (Even though they say they are)
- There are errors that may need addressing (Grammar, structure, flow, etc.)
- My story isn’t good enough. (Yes it is. Never believe your story isn’t good- I dismiss this thought as soon as it pops in my head.)
- I’m not a good writer. (Again I dismiss this one too. I am and will only succeed if I don’t give in or give up.)
- There are too many queries out there to get noticed (This is a numbers game where persistence will pay off)
Regardless of the potential possibilities I must be open to suggestion and set my ego aside. I will go through each and take the time to ask, can it be better? THe answer is yes.
SO what do I do about it?
- I buy/read books on query letters, synopsis writing and open my mind to the possibility that I’m not perfect and there is room for improvement. If I’m rejected 100% over 300 times, then something needs tweaking or fixing.
- I look at my notes on the agents and agencies before querying again. (This is a big task and I use spreadsheets to keep track)
- Professional editing is always an option (unfortunately it’s also expensive so I do my best to work through it myself.)
- I set my work aside for a while before looking at it again. Proximity can be blinding.
- I never give up. I know what I want and I’m going to get there. Even when it feels insurmountable, I never stop trying.
- I get others to read my work and ask for honest opinions. Sometimes, ah who am I kidding, all the time, criticism is hard to hear. But if I’m not willing to listen then I’ll never get my end goal of traditional publishing. This is the hardest to do and I’ve taken some, sulked and over time mulled it over and found solid advice/reasoning and finally use it to move forward.
- I talk to others in the same situation and those that have succeeded. Jealousy will get me nowhere, petty thoughts of ‘why did they get published and not me?’ are dangerous and wont help.
- Keep my mind open to possibilities and change
Although I’ve had well over 300 rejections in my last round of queries I know I need to keep at it. I will revise my query letter, synopsis and try again. I’m also in the process of finding out how to better tailor each and every query to better my chances of getting noticed. There is one thing I’m doing that is huge, but I’ll discuss this another time.
My advice about the aftermath of rejection.
The entire process is an emotional battle field. No matter how carefully you plan your attack and defenses there will be struggle, loss, pain, highs, lows, frustration and elation, before you win the battle. The only way there is to never stop trying.
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