5 Practical Tips For Writers Who've Been Rejected

5 Practical Tips For Writers Who’ve Been Rejected

If you’ve sent your manuscript off to a publisher and been rejected, try our 5 practical tips for writers who’ve been rejected.

My heart has been handed back to me. It resembles steak tartare and it isn’t even on a silver platter. It’s more like a congealed mass on a Styrofoam tray.

For those of you who have never received or seen a rejection letter I have included mine below:

Dear Writer
Thank you for the opportunity to consider your work. Unfortunately, your story idea is not right for us at this time. We apologise for the form letter, but with the number of submissions we receive, it’s not possible to give a personal response in every case.
But thank you again for your interest in XYZ Books; we wish you success in finding a home for your work.
The Editors

As you can imagine it sucked getting this one and, as far as rejection letters go, you can’t get much worse. If an editor has taken time to write a personal note, it is good. This is a pretty standard reply. It was the reply I thought about when I wrote Rejection Sucks – another post on this subject.

I was expecting this feedback in a few months, but I received it in two weeks. It’s taken me a month to write about it and to get over it. I have mourned. I have cried. I have cussed and riled, but now I need to deal with it. What do I do?

5 Practical Tips For Writers Who’ve Been Rejected

  1. The first thing I do after rejection is nothing. This is after the crying, screaming, sad part. I do think about it and mull it over but I don’t start rewriting anything. I don’t even look at the manuscript.
  2. I carry on with my work in progress. The best advice I have received about submissions came from Amanda Patterson, who told me to start writing a new novel the moment you have submitted. That way, if you get rejected you have something positive to look forward to. Luckily, I listened and I have nice new novel emerging. I will use this to console myself.
  3. I evaluate the feedback. The submitted manuscript was appraised by three different people. I will go back to their feedback and re-evaluate it. There was advice I used and advice I ignored. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.
  4. I kill my darlings. I know I should have done this before I even submitted, but honestly that is easier said than done. So let’s say I’ll kill the rest of my darlings. For example, I wrote in the first person viewpoint. In this particular genre, third person is preferred. Sometimes experiments work, sometimes they don’t. Read: 4 Viewpoint Choices For Writers
  5. I re-plot and draw up new storylines. I will re-evaluate the chances I took and try to figure out where I can improve. I will make notes and start making changes, but not on the actual document. I will start a new document and re-write from scratch.

Of course you can skip this horrible process entirely by self-publishing, but I guess I am old fashioned. I still write with pen and paper for heaven’s sake. So this is where I will start.

It has been four weeks since I received the letter so I am still in the ‘do nothing’ phase. I will keep on writing my new novel, and soon I will tackle this one again with a nice big band aid on my heart.

Suggested reading: 5 Things That Happen After You’ve Typed THE END

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. The Book That Started It All – A Christmas Story
  2. Getting Un-Stuck – How To Keep On Writing
  3. The Write Everything – The End Of Excuses

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Posted on: 8th January 2014