The Professional Writer: Accepting Rejection Gracefully

If you’re a writer, you will be rejected. Your critique partners and beta readers won’t “get” your manuscript. You will be rejected by agents. Once you have an agent, you will be rejected by publishers. Then once your book is published, you will be rejected by book reviewers and by readers themselves. No book in the history of the world has been universally adored. No matter how blessed you are, you *will* be rejected, and it will hurt.

There are right ways and wrong ways to deal with the pain. Eating an extra brownie [pan] and having a cry fest with your best friend is a good choice, particularly when you dust yourself off the next day and get back to work. Taking the rejection personally, blaming the publishing industry, and  complaining about the rejection online is… not the best strategy.

I stumbled onto a terrific article today that looks at some rejection letters that writers posted online and then complained about:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html

This article was written in 1984, and the site it pulled the letters and comments from no longer exists. But the bitter comments the writers made are still out there. Yes, the writers posted “anonymously,” but some of those rejection letters were personal. Do you think an editor won’t recognize them? The Internet lives forever. Remember that before you post snarky comments to your blog or on a writers’ forum.

Publishing is a business. It’s highly unlikely — no matter how it feels — that an agent or publisher or reader is rejecting you as a person. They are expressing an opinion: that they didn’t like your book. That’s okay! This is a subjective business. Just keep working on your craft, keep making your writing better, and keep learning about the industry.

Like a professional.

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