A couple years ago I wrote a post on Rejection that I thought was pretty good. Today I want to talk about rejection again, and because I’m lazy I am going to do that by rebooting my original post. So, if you’ve been reading my blog for a few years, some of this is going to sound eerily familiar, but some of it is brand new too 🙂
My acceptance ratio, according to Duotrope, for the past twelve months is about 10%. That means my submissions get rejected 90% of the time. 90%! That’s nine times out of ten. Crazy!
You need to develop a “thick skin” or find a way to deal with rejection if you’re going to keep plugging away in the face of that. As if that weren’t bad enough, I’m told by Duotrope that my acceptance ratio is higher than the average for people submitting to the same markets as me. That means I’m stinking lucky to be accepted 10% of the time.
Compounding the number of rejections we, as writers, have to deal with is the way we perceive those rejections. We give them so much more weight than they deserve. Truly.
As an example, a couple years ago NaNoLJers did a group poetry project where we wrote a poem together. Eventually we placed the piece to Sorcerous Signals. When that happened, Arnold Emmanuel, one of the people who worked on the poem blogged about it and said:
…Rhonda sent out submission requests and omg, lots of rejection letters. I thought to myself “Oh well, it won’t be published, that’s okay, least we tried,” and then one day all of a sudden I get an email that says something like “Remember that poem Alone we worked on,” and I’m thinking oh, and another rejection letter, but no, we got published!
How many rejection letters did we collect on the poem before selling it? How many ‘nos’ did we get before he figured ‘Oh well…’ and gave up on that poem being published?
And not two markets that are easy to place work with either. I’m talking about Lone Star Stories and Goblin Fruit. I’m not picking on Arnold, I’m not. I’m just using his words to show how subjective our perception of rejection is. We give it too much power.
I’ve another friend who wrote a story with the intention of submitting it to a specific market, sent it to that market and got turned down. His reaction is to trunk the story. I was shocked. Really? All that work and you’re going to say ‘Oh well…’ and give up on it after one submission? See? Again, giving a rejection notice too much power.
As an editor I can tell you, someone passing on your submission does not mean the submission is bad. It really doesn’t. Honest, honest, honest.
Rejection is a part of writing for publication and it sucks. It really does. It’s something we all need to deal with and the better our coping skills are the more likely we are to succeed because, when it comes down to it, perseverance is a HUGE ingredient in the recipe for success.
Sometimes I feel so worn down by all the rejection letters and the ‘close but…’ letters. I begin to feel like I’m never going to break into my dream markets, or find the perfect agent* and I begin to wonder if it’s worth it. Is it time to give up? To move on? But I grit my teeth and keep grinding away, and then when an acceptance does come it’s all worth it… for an hour or two. Then it’s back to the grind.
One way I’ve found to deal with rejection is to dwell on it as little as possible. When one market passes on a story or poem I don’t waste any time sending it off to another. I figure that way instead of dwelling on how disappointed I am in the first rejection I can focus on how hopeful I am that work will find a home with the new market I’ve sent it to. It’s a little thing, but it helps, and dude, lemme tell you, I’ll take all the help I can get.
How about you? How do you deal with rejection? What sort of tricks do you use to keep yourself going?
This blog post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge over the month of April and was brought to you by the letter R. Check back tomorrow when I plan to be talking about some of my stories that begin with the letter S. Apparently I write a lot of them LOL Shades of Green, Shadows, Sister Margaret…