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Topic: Dealing with rejection

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Subject: Dealing with rejection
Date Posted: 6/13/2010 1:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2010
Posts: 39
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I know I've heard from many people that even the best books don't always make it on the first submittal.  Many have to go through scores of rejection before finally getting published.  Admittedly, though, that whole "taking rejection in stride" deal is still a struggle with me.  For instance, one publisher took three of my short stories, one after the other, and published them.  The fourth one I wrote, though - well, it's past the notification deadline and I haven't heard back from them yet, so I fear it hasn't made the cut this time around.  Other friends of mine (both published writers and those with no interest in writing at all) think I should just be happy I had any stories published, and deal with the fact that not all of them will be instantly loved.  Logically, I know they're right - but then if my mind was always thinking logically, I wouldn't be so immersed in fantasy fiction.  Therefore, most illogically, I'm obsessed with finding out why this story didn't make the cut, feeling generally dissapointed in myself, and wondering what changes would've made it better, in their eyes. 

So for all you other writers who have run the publishing gauntlet - how do you deal with rejection of a story?  Do you take it personal?  Do you ask to know why, or offer to change it?  Do you assume it's just not what they were looking for a at the moment, and move on with the story, as is, to someone else?

Date Posted: 6/13/2010 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Yes I have been rejected several times with a short story I published.. But the main reason I was given was that it was just alittle too weird and different for their magazine.

You can ask why and if you have been published by them before, they might be more inclined to tell you BUT most just send out form letters.
And yes I DO move on to someone else, because what each place accepts can change from month to month depending on what focus or theme they are trying for with that issue of the magazine.

But I did get told one thing by a published writer, "I am an oversenstive writer, it is my issue and I must deal with it".. I was made to repeat it out loud and had to laugh because its true. AND if you do not care about your work in such a way then you'd not take the time for it to be the best.

I am still waiting to get published,but I doubt it would be any easier to handle rejection even if I had something published.

If it was me I would write and ask why, either they will tell you or not.

Do you have an agent, sometimes they have a better sucess at getting those answers or could give you what they think might need work.

Best of luck. Nothing feels better then writing :)

Date Posted: 6/15/2010 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2007
Posts: 589
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I've found that it's easier to handle a rejection on a project ... when you've receive a yes later for that same project. It's hard not to take a rejection personally. Easier said than done category. If it hurt, give yourself time to greive over not getting that yes and doing that celebration yes ... then take a breath and move on. Take a look at the story and see if there is anything to make it stronger, if not, pick another place to sumbit the story to.

Sometimes a publisher, editor, or agent, will already have some works contracted or an author on their list that writes something similar. So similar that the story competes directly against the other and so they have to say no. For short story anthologies, sometimes one theme is common among the ones sent in and they can only have so many in one issue. They may have wanted to say yes but can't. 

If you have a relationship with the publisher or editor, you could drop a short note or email (once you get the no thank you letter ... they might actually have pushed back the notify by date) asking about the story. Or even better, what type of characters, theme, or plot element that they're wanting to see in a short story.

Subject: ...
Date Posted: 7/29/2010 12:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2008
Posts: 204
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"But the main reason I was given was that it was just alittle too weird and different for their magazine."

That made me laugh, Xenab, because I'm all too familiar with the Weird assessment. Of course, publishers usually use the word "eccentric" with me (but that's merely secret code for werid). I think a great question to pose in these forums is if anyone is accepting Weird material at the moment.

I can understand why literary magazines stray from pushing the envelope, but it sure hurts artistic quality, doesn't it?

Date Posted: 7/29/2010 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Mike- thanks. Yes it did dampen my way of writing for several months I toned it down and then thought  stuff it and went back to being me.

Either I will get published with all my weird glory (an agent told me I cannot be eccentric until I get published).or I wont.

I even wrote a short story for a self published book a group I am with was putting out. (it was a competition). They loved it BUT it just did not fit in with the theme they were going with. And my review letter was basically telling me to add more and make it a novel.. hehe One of the judges was a published author that I've never met or had dealings with and she was the one to do my review.

Dealing with rejection is something we all deal with in some form or another, its what we do with that advice is what counts- that is what my take on it these days.

Subject: I've been rejected by 13 agents
Date Posted: 7/31/2010 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2008
Posts: 74
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I finished a suspense novel and began querying agents after the final draft was done. So far I've been rejected by 13 agents. I was feeling really badly about it, then I had two things happen

  • I read that some of the most famous authors have received 100s of rejections
  • and, one agent said the story wasn't for him, but encouraged me send future projects his way

It would be easy to just give up, but I'll keep querying agents for my current finished novel while continuing to work on the next one