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Dealing with Rejection

Dealing with Rejection

By Rochelle Melander


This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address.’ Just keep looking for the right address. —Barbara Kingsolver


Writer Jim Morrison says that the most important skill for writers is accepting rejection and moving on. It takes a lot of work to get your work published. You will be rejected and ignored by editors. No problem. Move on. Offer the same editor a different idea or offer your idea to another editor. Here are some famous rejection stories:

*Editors rejected the first offerings of Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, H.G. Wells, John le Carré, and Jane Austen.

*Mark Twain self-published Huckleberry Finn.

*Irving Stone’s first book was about Van Gogh. It was rejected 16 times. Lust for Life was finally published in 1934 and has sold 25 million copies.

*After multiple rejections, author and illustrator Beatrix Potter self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It sold so well that a publisher eventually picked it up. Nearly 100 years later, Peter Rabbit is still selling well!

*Madeleine L’Engle’s Newberry Award winning book A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 30-some times before it was accepted by FSG. This year A Wrinkle in Time celebrates its fiftieth year of publication!

*Even J.K. Rowling received rejections for her blockbuster novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Writers, the only way to overcome rejection is to keep submitting until, as Barbara Kingsolver said above, you find the right person to publish your book. (And that won’t happen if your book is sitting in your computer!)

Note: Several of the above stories come from the book Rotten Rejections: A Literary Companion edited by Andre Bernard. For more stories of famous writers who have been rejected, check out this article by Michelle Kerns of The Examiner, 30 Writers Whose Works Were Rejected (Repeatedly and sometimes Rudely) by Publishers.

WANT TO USE THIS TIP IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) is the 10th book authored by Melander, who teaches professionals how to write fast, get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at and sign up to be a member of her Write Now! Mastermind class for professionals at


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