Every writer who encloses their words into an envelop and sends them off to agents, editors, and publishers must learn to face the eventual return of a rejection letter.
Rejection letters come in many shapes and sizes, but they are mostly form letters with little personality, which is wise, as there is danger in treading the emotional waters of rejection.
If an editor ever chooses to grace your rejection letter with actual handwritten words, or if the gods are willing, a bit of inspiration or encouragement, then you must not consider that to be a letter of rejection, as human contact within a rejection letter is actually a form of victory.
However, most rejection letters are short and apologetic, and they usually point to the massive influx of new authors they receive every day as the reason your work could not be considered, which is really disconcerting if you understand that to mean that there are just too many people with more talent than you.
If you think about it, the very idea of the rejection letter is unique to writers alone, as other unknown artists are simply allowed to go unnoticed and are not directly subjected to a written form of deliberate rejection.
Not many budding rock stars would jam in dimly-lit bar stages if they knew they would actually receive a direct rejection from the audience after the show and not just be ignored, although it’s true that writers don’t usually have to worry about beer bottles flying at them while they’re writing.
How you handle your rejection letter is the most important aspect of the publishing process, as it could easily discourage you from otherwise pursuing your art.
At first glance, it’s easy to feel slighted. I mean, you spend years putting together your novel of over 400 pages, you slave over the crafting of every sentence exchange until the words bleed into your eyes off the page, and then you take the care to send a perfect copy to an editor or agent, only to have it dismissed summarily without so much the decency to even sign a name onto the rejection letter.
It’s enough for any writer to want to self-publish their work, but we must dismiss rejection letters as easily as they dismiss our work, because it’s just business.
It’s a numbers game, and it’s the writers job to submit our work to as many valid markets as possible, and it’s the publishing industry’s job to filter out what is viable for publication.
Of course, we may not agree with their opinion, but it’s how you disagree that makes you stronger.
Don’t write your editor back denouncing their knowledge of literature or demanding they reconsider your work. First of all, that’s crazy behavior, and second of all, maybe you didn’t deserve consideration at this time and you need to look further into your writing.
Just keep writing and accept your rejection letters for what they are, an initiation into the secret society of people who tell stories in isolation and invite others to listen.
Rejection letters are a symbol of your loyalty to your art. They are as important as your writing itself, because without them, you are only a diarists.
So keep writing, work harder, and continue submitting your work for approval, because without running the risk of receiving another rejection letter, you are removing the possibility that you will one day be published.
Article originally published by The MAG Zine.
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