How to Deal with the Pain of Rejection as a Writer

by Marie Rodriguez

Rejection is a normal part of life, but few people know how to deal with it. Being rejected hurts, especially if it comes from something you badly want and think you deserve.

Everyone has been rejected, whether an artist or an office worker. In the literary world, rejections happen so often that it can be disheartening to continue.


So, how can writers better deal if a potential publisher turns away the manuscript they’ve worked on so hard?

Don’t Take It Personally.

Don’t take it personally, and try not to internalize the rejection. Sure, you’ve worked hard on the project, but there are many possible reasons a particular publisher didn’t accept it. Maybe your work isn’t for them, or perhaps they have too many books to publish and don’t have time for more.

It is easy to think you are a failure, but you’re not. Just because one editor rejects your book doesn’t mean all of them will so keep looking for someone who will love your manuscript as much as you do!

Famous Writers Got Rejected, Too

A lot of writers know about the story of J.K. Rowling. When she wrote “Harry Potter,” not many publishers thought it was worth publishing. As a result, she received 12 rejections before her first book was finally accepted by a publisher and then printed. She became one of the wealthiest and most well-known authors globally.

Then, Stephen King, the unofficial king of horror, almost couldn’t publish his first novel. He even threw away the story’s first draft that would become “Carrie.” When he finished writing the story, he was rejected 30 times before publishing the book.

Frank Herbert had to endure 23 rejections before finally publishing “Dune,” a sci-fi classic now adapted twice for the big screen.

Remember that these are only a few famous authors who faced rejection on their path to success, so don’t feel so bad! It doesn’t mean you will never be published if rejected. You’ll be in good company alongside other famous authors whose publishers have also left.

Be Proud of Your Accomplishments

Sure, you didn’t accomplish getting accepted by a publisher or agent right now but keep in mind all the progress you’ve made.

You did something! If your manuscript wasn’t accepted, you finished writing another book and sent it to someone who can give feedback. Many people dream about spending their books but never actually write anything down or try to get them published.

Then, you took a risk by submitting your work to others even though rejection is always possible. Most writers fear negative criticism because they are too scared to publish their manuscripts. Remember that when you’re feeling discouraged after being rejected, no matter how many times that may be!

Don’t Compare Yourself with Others.

Rejection is very personal. No one can tell you when your manuscript will be accepted, so don’t compare yourself with someone who got an acceptance letter from a publisher or agent after weeks of submitting their work.

Everyone has different writing styles and ideas, so whether you like your work matters. If you put your heart into your work, people will eventually see your book’s value, and you will ultimately become the writer you’ve dreamed you would be.

Try Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is now a viable way to release your work to the world, gain a loyal following, and earn from it. There’s still a misconception about self-publishing, but it’s a way for authors who cannot find a publisher for some reason or are tired of having to be at the mercy of the publishing world.

With self-publishing, you wouldn’t have to worry about whether your particular genre or subject isn’t prevalent now. Your self-published poetry book will find its audience and be read even though the public’s interest in poems isn’t the same as before.

Of course, you still have to market your work, and you wouldn’t have the financial backing of a big publishing house. However, many self-published authors have found fame and fortune. You could be the next prominent self-published author.

Rejection is a part of the writing process. It’s important not to let it discourage you.

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