Morning all, I hope your week has been full of success and happiness.
I’m querying at the moment, which means I am receiving rejections in interludes, from agents I’ve submitted to. It’s such an odd experience, and I wanted to share some tips of how to handle your novel being rejected.
1. Allow yourself to be sad
Writers are constantly advised to develop a thick skin, and I agree. It’s a tough industry, one where we will come up against rejection, negative feedback and criticism. This doesn’t mean you can’t feel sad though. Allow yourself the negative emotions that come wit a rejection; sadness, disappointment, frustration, worry…go through them, but do not dwell on them for long.
2. Treat yourself
You should only treat yourself when you’ve had success, right? Wrong! Writing, editing, revising and re-writing a novel is a gruelling task and a huge achievement. Crafting a submission and taking the gut-wrenching plunge into getting your novel out in the world is an achievement too. And every rejection is proof that you’ve reached this stage. So treat yourself. It can be something small. Mine is usually a strong cup of tea and a bar of chocolate. You should also take up the amazing K.M. Allan’s idea of building yourself a rejection survival kit. A great idea, and a great way to keep positive through the tough times.
3. Revise your submission
Read back over your cover letter and synopsis. You’d be amazed what mistakes come to light when you’ve not looked at it in a while. Fresh eyes spot typos, weak sentences and poor grammar. If you’re being rejected, it’s worth making sure it’s not your submission that’s letting you down.
4. Revise your story
Keep revising your first three chapters. If you’re not getting offers for full manuscripts then there could be a weakness here. If you are getting full submission, but nothing after that, take a look at the rest of your story. In this case you’ve probably fine-tuned the first three chapters, but need to put some extra revision into the chapters that follow.
5. Ask for feedback
If an agent requests a full, and then rejects it, it’s okay to ask for feedback. Their input will be vital into how you move forward. (Please note, don’t be offended if they ignore your request, agents are busy people!). I should also stress it’s not common practice to ask an agent for feedback if they reject your first stage submission – if they’ve not offered any, they probably don’t have the time to do so. But you can seek feedback from beta readers, to see if you could improve your work.
6. Remember, it’s subjective
You may look back over your submission and your chapters and feel confident there are no changes to be made. That’s fine! Everybody has different preferences, and it’s unlikely your novel was rejected because it was bad. Simply because that one agent didn’t feel strongly enough about it. Another agent might. Don’t be disheartened – the right one is out there for you!
7. Try again
Keep sending submissions. That’s the most basic advice I can give. Just keep going. Send more. You never know who is out there, and who is looking for the exact type of story you’ve written. Don’t give up.
8. Keep writing
Work on other projects. Not only is it important to keep the habit of writing, but it gives you new material to work with. If the day comes when you decide your manuscript might not be the one that gets you published, you can try with a new one. Your writing will strengthen and improve over time, so never stop.
9. Speak to the writing community
There is an amazing writing community online, from here on wordpress, to Twitter and Instagram and many other social media platforms. Share your feelings and experiences, and see what others have to say. It’s such an uplifting place to be, and you’ll seen be motivated, inspired and ready to tackle the next submission.
10. Look at successful authors’ rejection numbers
There are some famous authors and famous novels out there that were rejected a lot. A quick ‘google’ search can show you the numbers, and it’s encouraging to see that some of the greatest writers of our time struggled to get over that first hurdle into the career. If they can do it, you can too!
How do you handle rejection? Pop your thoughts in the comments below,
But until then,