Every writer has to deal with rejection at some point. In this post, we have seven questions for writers on rejection.
As writers, we’d all like to publish, but we’ve been brainwashed to believe that it is the only measure of success. Before you start submitting, you must ask yourself a few questions and set a few concrete goals, because if you believe that publishing or winning a competition is the only way to give value to your work this industry will eat you alive.
The Long Game
We’ve all heard stories about a writer who punched out a manuscript in a matter of weeks and gave it, incomplete and raw, to a publisher who just loved it and agreed to publish it on the spot. Charming plot holes and all. Those stories make the news because they are the exception. For most writers, it doesn’t happen that way. Getting published is a matter of trial and error and can take some time.
So, before you beat yourself up about your latest rejection ask yourself a few questions.
7 Questions For Writers On Rejection
1. Why Do You Write?
Do you even want to publish? Decide what you want to get out of your writing. You may want to write a story for your children to cherish or you may want to write only for yourself. You may decide that self-publishing is the right choice for you, or you may want to hold out for a traditional publisher. These are very personal decisions, don’t let anyone talk you into following a route that is not right for you.
2. What Does Success Look Like To You?
We all have different definitions of success. Some writers get published and feel like they have failed if it isn’t an instant bestseller. Others publish and do well and are satisfied. Others never submit and are perfectly content. Decide what you will consider a success. Manifest, dream big, and decide what you want to achieve. No one can do this for you. You must decide what you want to do with your writing.
3. Why Do Publishers Reject Manuscripts?
Publishing is a business. Learn that. Embrace it. If they reject your manuscript, it doesn’t necessarily mean your book is bad. Sometimes they just don’t have the budget for another book or there is something similar that they have taken on or they have a huge backlog of books. Sometimes they can’t afford to take a risk with a new author. There are many reasons books are rejected. Find somewhere else to submit.
4. Do You Work On Improving Your Writing?
If you do receive feedback from a publisher, you can take that as a good sign. You can, of course, decide to ignore their feedback if you don’t agree with it, but if you keep receiving the same feedback it may be worth looking into. Perhaps it’s time for an appraisal of your work.
5. Have You Approached The Right Publisher?
All publishers have their own likes and dislikes, and genre preferences and story types. Have you researched this, and have you approached the right publisher?
6. Have You Done The Necessary Housekeeping?
7. Do You Have Skin In The Game?
Are you actually submitting, and have you submitted more than once, or are you just bitching on the sidelines? I often speak to writers who moan about the publication process, but when I ask for details, they aren’t actually submitting and are just adding to the doom and gloom. Sometimes, we try to protect ourselves by telling ourselves how hard it is and that it is not worth trying.
The Last Word
We hope these questions for writers on rejection, help you with your work. As writers, we have to learn to accept critiques and rejections of our work. This is part of the process and how we learn and grow, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing. Decide what you want to do. Submit if that is what you want. Rant and wallow as needed if you are rejected, but don’t leave it there. Keep writing. Keep dreaming.
by Mia Botha
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