7 Ways for Writers to Overcome Rejection

“This book fills a much-needed gap.” Moses Hadas.

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book. I’ll waste no time reading it.” Moses Hadas

Addo 183It’s my first post and I’m tackling rejection. Is this a good idea? Well, the one thing all writers have in common is rejection. Not one writer in the history of the written word has had their every word universally accepted.

Unfortunately, not all rejection comes with the wit of the examples above. Most will be in the form of a standard non-personalised letter/e-mail or, worse, no reply at all.

Dealing with rejection is one of the most important aspects of being a writer. It hurts. But it cannot be ignored; it must be faced. Here are seven ways to beat it:

1. Celebrate

Now you’re thinking I’m one chapter short of the full novel, but bear with me. If your book or article has been rejected you’ve done something great – you’ve put it out there for scrutiny. Most people don’t.

If I had a pound for every time someone told me they could write a book I would be as rich as Bill Gates (well, not quite, but you get the picture – it happens a lot). But how many of those people actually write the book? Very few.

I have even read of cases of writers finishing book after book but never sending them off. Their fear of rejection outweighs their desire for publication. Celebrate, you’ve made a brave step.

2. Learn from it

Review what you sent.

If it was a book, can the cover letter be tweaked to make your pitch more compelling? Does your synopsis sizzle? Do the opening chapters grab the reader and pull them in?

If it was an article, did it meet the exact requirements of the targeted publication? Many submissions are too long or too short or written in first person when the usual style is third. Give them what they want.

3. Join a writing community

Family and friends can be useful sounding boards/ readers for your work but the danger is they will be too nice. Join a writing community and you will benefit from tough love. Critiques from strangers mean more because they are your potential readers post-publication. One of the best is Litopia.

4. Take a break

Leave your writing and get away for a weekend or a week. Go on Skyscanner select some dates and your local airport and type anywhere in the destination box. See a country you fancy? Go and enjoy.

5. Read inspirational books

Combine this with the last one and take it with you. I recommend:

  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – useful writing advice and a great story from the best-selling author
  • Taking On the World by Ellen MacArthur – how Ellen overcame all obstacles to become the youngest person to sail single-handedly around the globe
  • Yes Man by Danny Wallace – the hilarious story of what happens when Danny decides to say yes to everything

6. Take succour from successful rejected authors

Many famous authors suffered rejection before they hit the big time:

  • Ruth Rendell, the Queen of crime-writing, wrote seven books before being published
  • JK Rowling had her first Harry Potter book rejected by twelve publishers before it found a home
  • The San Francisco Examiner wrote the following to Rudyard Kipling: “I’m sorry, Mr Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

7. Write again

Write another book, write a dozen articles, and send them out into the world.

Remember, all you need is one yes to kick-start your writing career.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett