I was recently asked by a writer friend how do I handle rejection?
After so many of them I guess you could call me a rejection pro.
I realised long ago being accepted by a publisher straight away wasn’t going to happen. I had to earn my stripes. What I did know was I would be published. You’ve heard the phrase ‘believe it and it will happen’ well, I always had a feeling it would happen. I didn’t know when, I just knew one day. But in between that ‘one day’ I received lots of rejections. Yes, initially I felt angry. I mean, how dare they not want to publish MY story. Ah, what a cocky thing I was. Oh, and I see now why I wasn’t accepted and it’s definitely not a bad thing. My writing totally stunk!
R E J E C T I O N – Not a four letter word, but just as bad!
Those early rejection letters feel like a hundred years ago. The main thing is I kept going; I used them not to discourage, but to fuel my passion and determination. It was clear I had to go through the publishing back door rather than through the front.
Yes, there were more rejections, but I continued to work hard and over time the rejections I was receiving were not just the stock standard responses. Some had personalised comments from the publisher, some took the time to point out areas that needed improving. Yes! It wasn’t an acceptance, but it was as good as. When a publisher takes the time to personalise your rejection, you are getting somewhere. Again, I continued chipping away and soaking up all I could about the children’s writing industry, my target audience and being a better writer.
In 2014 I received that acceptance letter. In 2015 my first picture book, Lulu was published. My second picture book, Clover’s BIG Ideas was published in 2017.
I’ve had more rejections in between these two acceptances and I’m sure there will be many more, hopefully, with a few more acceptances too.
Writing is a journey. The most wonderful, heart-wrenching, exhilarating, goose bumps expedition you can venture on.
My advice is to build your name within the industry. Work hard on your writing. Wear rejections like a badge of honour. Be proud and celebrate each and every achievement and win. But most of all believe, always believe because that acceptance letter is on its way.
Good luck with your journey and see you on the shelves.