I’m not sure if I’ve ever met anyone who likes to be rejected. I’ll never forget when I was a senior in high school and I’d been dating this girl off and on for close to a year. We were basically a couple but one day as we parked at the mall in Kennesaw, Ga; I decided to make things official and ask her to be my girlfriend.
We sat there in my hot, white S-10 pickup truck and her words hit like a purposeful blow to the gut.
She said it so matter-of-factly that it caught me completely off guard. When I asked her why, cause I didn’t know what else to say, she said, “We’re both too young to be committed and you’re moving off to college soon.”
I didn’t really want to hear her reason, I just wanted her to say yes. As a writer, rejection is a major part of the process. You will hear no many more times than you hear yes. Lit agents, publishing companies, and even some readers. You can learn from the no’s, however. There is usually a reason behind their no.
Sometimes it’s simply because the agent is too busy to take on a new client or it’s just not their taste. Other times your writing needs to be improved before it can be published. I received 22 rejections from lit agents and 2 rejections from publishing companies for THE EARTH BLEEDS RED. I also received serious interest from 2 lit agents and eventually signed directly with a publishing company because it felt like the right thing to do.
Here’s the bottom line: take rejection and build on it. Know that it’s only temporary and never permanent unless you make it permanent. Use the rejection as fuel to become better in your pursuit and strive for greatness. Below are a few examples of writers who dealt with rejection and became incredibly successful:
John Grisham received 25 rejections
The Help received 60 rejection letters
James Joyce got 22 rejection letters for The Dubliners and sold only 300 copies in its first year, 120 of which he bought himself