Well, I know there are many good websites out there which cover the issue of (*whispers*) rejection, but I thought I’d add my own thoughts.
And you are blessed with such a post for for two reasons.
Firstly, I have writer friends and students from my writing course who are about to embark on the rocky but wonderful road to publication. Secondly, a book of my own has this day sprouted wings and left my laptop in search of a better home. So the idea of submission and potential rejection is very much on my mind. Along with these thoughts:
* When I was contemplating sending off my first story, I obviously worried about rejection. That’s natural, especially when you’ve spent ages pouring your life and soul into a story. I decided to go ahead because ultimately my fear of failing myself was greater than my fear of rejection. I decided I would regret it more if I didn’t submit my story. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life ‘what-iffing’ and wondering if I could have pursued writing more seriously. I would have let myself down. So I sent it in and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.
* We all get rejections, even writers who have been published before. It’s hard when no reason has been given, which is often the way with first-time authors. It’s important to remember it’s not always the writing itself which is the problem. It could be that the publishers already have a similar book, or it may not be what they’re specifically after at the moment. But, as my lovely agent says, ‘”It only takes one.” So much can depend on an editor’s personal preferences or opinions and what one editor rejects may be exactly what another one is looking for. Think J.K.Rowling. Her first book, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ was rejected many times before it was published. Look what happened to that!
* Rather than dwelling on rejection, try REFLECTION. If you have received a rejection, that’s great! You’ve taken the first important steps by sending your work out and that takes great courage. If you find yourself staring tearfully at the rejection letter, take time out to think. You’ve probably had weeks (or months!) away from your manuscript while waiting for a response. Can you revisit now and make any improvements? If you can, great. If you can’t, still great! You’ve obviously done a good job. Research some publishers and send it out again!
The writer’s road is a bumpy one. There will be highs and lows, no matter what stage of your career you are at. I suspect even people who have a tremendous publishing record still feel nervous as their new idea leaves the safety of their imagination for the first time and starts making its way into the big, wide world. It’s hard to keep believing in yourself, and I will probably obsessively be clicking ‘send/receive’ on my emails over the next few weeks. but it comes back to that question….
Will I regret it more if I do submit, or if I don’t?