The Blog of Author Robert K. Lewis

On Rejection.

Happens, right? Get over it, yeah? Move on, kiddo!

Yes, those are all true when it comes to handling rejection. What we do as writers naturally has incredible amounts of rejection built into the entire process, from day one ever onward.

On the day you decide that you want to be published, you start on a road down which awaits massive mounds of NO.

You send out queries to agents. Get rejected until you eventually land one. On my last manuscript, an urban fantasy novel, I must have tried over 250 agents and publishers, and got nowhere. I think that really was a turning point for me, taking all that rejection and still showing up at the keyboard every day. I believe that was where it all started to click for me, and I have to admit, I sure learned a lot about myself during that stage of the game!

After you land an agent, they send your book out to publishers. It gets rejected, but it still feels like it’s you getting rejected, not the book. Now remember something: this book may get published, but it may not. It may be the next book that does it for you. I am so very fortunate to have an agent who told me, “Don’t worry, I’m in this for the long haul and we’ll work together until we figure we’ve done all we can do.” So, it might just be that next book. You never know. But until then? More rejection.

Let’s say the Gods smile upon you and your manuscript, and you get published. Guess what? Yup. More rejection. Why? Because there will be readers that negatively comment on you and your book on public sites like Amazon, writing blogs, etc. They will reject you, too. Not everyone is going to love your book.

And you know what? That’s okay. You’re strong. You can take it, keep it all in perspective. I got word yesterday that a publisher passed on the manuscript my agent is currently shopping. It hurt, and yeah, I didn’t write yesterday. I took a day off and curled up on the couch weeping like a baby. No, hahaha… not really. What I did do was something other than writing, just to get my bearings again.

There’s this really great line from Rocky 6 that I want you to always remember while you’re walking the writing path (and I guess this line applies to life in general, too):

It’s not how hard you can hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward

That’s very akin to “pulling yourself from the wreckage, dusting off, and continuing on down the road”, another line I like to use when my friends tell me about their latest rejection on a query or a publisher.

Finally, I know it’s easier to read about rejection than it is to experience it on the manuscript you’ve slaved over for the last three years of your life. It kills, I know. However, letting that rejection kick your butt is not the answer. Not now, not ever.

Keep moving forward.

And of course, keep writing!


10 responses

  1. Nice ethos. Some days I can shrug rejection off like it’s nothing, other days it makes me want to set all my stories on fire. But I guess all you can do really is take it and know that if you can take it once, you can take it again and again!

    04/06/2010 at 6:19 pm

  2. Exactly!

    Thanks for the comment, and thanks for stopping by! šŸ™‚

    04/06/2010 at 8:16 pm

  3. I really like that Rocky quote. The writing road is certainly not a smooth one – I always find it interesting how many people are willing to face the seemingly endless barrage of rejection!

    04/07/2010 at 12:18 am

  4. I agree. I think it’s all tied up with the “why” we write; the need to have our stories out there. I think that drive is directly tied to the “why” we’ll take all the rejections.

    Of course, lol, it could also be that to be a writer, you have to be a monster masochist!

    04/07/2010 at 3:08 pm

  5. Thanks for the great pick me up…Rocky is so inspirational…love it!

    04/12/2010 at 7:06 pm

  6. My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by. šŸ™‚

    04/12/2010 at 7:53 pm

  7. So very true! You just need to keep moving forward. Chin up, and all that. I always tell myself that I’m writing anyway, so if it’s not this book, then maybe the next, or the one after that. Few have overnight success when it comes to getting published. Great post!

    04/17/2010 at 8:35 pm

  8. Thanks, Cali. It is really about minding the gap, and staying focused on your work, yeah? šŸ™‚

    Thanks for stopping by!

    04/17/2010 at 11:20 pm

  9. Inspiring and pointed. We only fail when we let the light at the end of the tunnel get snuffed out.

    04/23/2010 at 2:59 pm

  10. Hey, I like that saying, Cat! Nice! šŸ™‚

    04/23/2010 at 3:36 pm

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