Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rejection Letters

“No rejection is fatal until the writer walks away from the battle leaving dreams and goals behind.” - Jeff Herman

I don’t know of any writer that has not received a number of rejections before finding a publisher for their manuscript. I received plenty of rejections before finding a home for The Ride with ArcheBooks. Sometimes the ‘reject’ was a form letter, sometimes a short hand written note and many times receiving nothing at all was my only clue that my submission had not been accepted.

It’s hard not to take rejection personally but as an author it’s important to develop a thick hide. Otherwise, you may become so discouraged that you quit submitting. Though disappointed by my rejections, it helped me to remember I was not alone.
Rudyard Kipling received the following note from the editor of the San Francisco Examiner: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

The Time Machine author H.G. Wells, was told, “It is not interesting enough for the general reader and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.”

Dr. Seuss was told, “…too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

George Orwell was told, “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A.”

One of Mary Higgins Clark’s rejections for Journey Back to Love stated, “We found the heroine as boring as her husband had.”

One rejection of Carrie that Stephen King received said, “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”

Each of these authors had the last laugh.

How do you handle rejection letters?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: The Ride, ArcheBooks, Jeff Herman, Kipling, H. G. Wells, Dr. Seuss, Orwell, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, rejections,


Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jane-

Fabulous blog! I quit counting my rejections when -after 10 years of submitting- I hit the number 550. Ouch! (Acutal letters-not counting the no answer backs.)

After I sold, I found out that you get just as many rejections as a published author. It's all part of the biz.

My favorites are form rejections years after the fact for books I don't remember writing. (Having assumed long ago that the answer was no-)

Morgan Mandel said...

I like the rejection letters that tell me what they didn't like.

Then again, it gets confusing when I get another rejection letter saying they liked that part and disliked something else.

You can't please everyone.

Morgan Mandel

Katie Hines said...

Rejection letters are tough. It's hard not to take them as a personal affront, but we should remember that our work doesn't "hit" every publisher/agent the same, and that the rejection is our work, not our person.

I try to think of my rejection letters as "passes." I'm not always successful! but try to remind myself that someone else will pick up that article or book.

Krista said...

I'm actually relieved when one rejection letter says they disliked a part that another rejection letter liked. It helps me to recalibrate and remember what I thought of that part, because sometimes I forget I liked it before I sent it out. =)

Joy said...

I guess all of us who get rejection letters are in super fantastic company. It gives one hope. . .

You're welcome Christina. Now I'm heading over to the blogs you nominated.
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Annay Dawson said...

I always have to remember that with each rejection it is only one person's opinion and they may not have even taken the time to read the work past the first few sentences. It could be worse than that. They may have only read the query and dismissed it from there. Now I know that all of you are saying that a writer needs to be able to catch the reader in the first few sentences, but that may not always happen.

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world