If you’re a writer and want to be published, you need to be able to accept rejection–it’s part of the process.
Recently I spoke to a short-story writer who once visited a critique group I belong to and I asked him what he was doing with his writing. He said he no longer sent it out because he didn’t like being rejected–so he only shares his stories with friends. This man is an excellent writer–though his stories had some flaws. As I look back, I remember that he didn’t like having his work critiqued either and that’s why he didn’t continue on with our group. I think what he’s decided is sad, because eventually he’d probably have found a market for his work and more than just his friends could’ve enjoyed it.
I knew another excellent writer who sent her manuscript to about three publishers or agents, was rejected and that was the end of her sending out her work. Oh, she still writes–but she doesn’t ever submit her work. She is able to take criticism in a writer’s group and make suggested changes or rewrites.
When I taught a weekly writing group, at times I’d get a new student who would read their few pages and be horrified when I pointed out problems. Made me wonder why they bothered to come. Believe me, when I’m critiquing anyone’s work I always talk about what is good first before giving any suggestions.
Frankly, I don’t understand the mind-set that can’t take criticism or rejection. My first book was rejected nearly 30 times before it was accepted by a publisher. Each time it was rejected, I worked on it some more. At the time I didn’t know nearly as much about editing and rewriting as I do now.
Even though I now have over twenty published books, I still attend a weekly critique group. I would be disappointed if they didn’t find something to help make the book better. I use my fellow authors as a first editor.
Rejection is part of getting published. Never take it personally. It can mean many things, the publisher or agent was having a bad day, they are interested in a similar book already, it isn’t the kind of book that they like. Always pay attention to what is in the rejection letter, especially if it’s handwritten and has some actual comments about your writing. No matter what happens, work to fix that book or move onto another. Never, ever give up.