Rejections suck whether in our daily life or in our writing life.

I was eight-years old when I experienced a rejection that hurt enough at the time for me to remember it. The school announced a play. I auditioned and was chosen. I was ecstatic. But I got sick and missed two rehearsals. When I came back I was told I’d been replaced. God, did I cry.

I am much, much older now, but still hurt badly when I meet with rejection. On February 17, my debut book, To Love A Hero, was released by Cerridwen Press. A wonderful time for celebration, and yet the next day, my joy was smothered by the worst rejection I ever had. For a few days, I curled in my corner and pondered the letter I received from the editor who worked with me for a whole year, advised and encouraged me, but suddenly left the company and sent me a blunt rejection on her last day. Boy, did it hurt. It hurt enough to make me forget my new book, my first book.

When you meet with rejection, allow yourself a day or two to mourn and whine. Chocolate and crying on a friend’s shoulder may help soothe the pain. You need the time to absorb the disappointment and come to terms with the situation. And then, analyze it rationally. Is it a definite situation? Can you reverse it? Can you work around it? Would it be better to forget it, turn the page and start a new project?

In the case of my last rejection, that’s exactly what I decided to do. This editor is gone. If I use her advice to write something new and submit a fresh manuscript to another editor, maybe I would have a better chance than trying to hang on a work that has been rejected. The rejected work will not be discarded, just set aside for a later visit and more editing.

When was the last time you had to face a bad rejection, one that really hurt? How did you cope with the disappointment? Did something good come out of it?

Mona Risk



--Benjamin Franklin--


  1. Beth Trissel // February 7, 2008 at 8:53 AM  

    Very honest and poignant post, Mona. Rejections, ah yes, I'm one of those writers who has acumulated enough over the years to paper her walls. But I've also received many positives as a result. I learned to value the rejection letters that held a note of praise and to learn from constuctive criticism. All that striving and revising has forced me to reach dep inside and truly hone the craft of writing. Also, to reach out for a support network which ultimately broguht me to the Fuzzies. And I'm feeling very at home and among friends here. :)
    To quote Dickens, loosely, "The best wrought steel must first go through the fire." The title of my much rejected novel.

  2. Sherry Morris // February 7, 2008 at 1:58 PM  

    ((Huge Hugs, Mona))

    I'm looking at your rejected manuscript as being a blessing. Set it aside, and then reread it later. If you then feel it is still a fabulous book, submit it to a bigger fish. Or if you agreed with some of her criticism, then revise first. It's all subjective and what one lady passed on, another WILL run with.

    I have many elementary memories of being the last picked on the playground. And it was always, "Okay, we'll take Sherry for our team...if we have to."

    Moral: There are much bigger publishers which haven't rejected your MS yet. Give them a shot at buying it :)

  3. Beth Trissel // February 7, 2008 at 3:24 PM  

    I thought of a theme song for rejection mode that you, no doubt, recall: "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, going to the garden to eat worms. Big fat juicy ones, little slippy slimy ones, oh, how they wiggle and they squirm..."

    Altogether now, everybody join in!
    Seriously, though, Mona. I have a list I call my 'ha ha' list where I keep all the names of those in the publishing world who've rejected me (a very lengthy list). And when I'm exceedingly popular I shall read over it and say, "Ha! So there." And that'll show them. :)

  4. Mona Risk // February 7, 2008 at 7:52 PM  

    Beth, Sherry,

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. I have been through a lot of rejections and know better than to whine for long. Usually, I follow suggestions, pick up the pieces and edit and revise. But there are times, when one has to put aside an ms for a later time in order to look at it objectively. That's what I did. She's probably right, but I wasn't in receptive mood having built up my hope too high after a long work with her.

    I'm fine now. I just sold a second book to Cerridwen Press where I have the best editor one can dream of, and I have wonderful, supportive friends. Thank you.

  5. Sandra Cox // February 7, 2008 at 8:59 PM  

    Well said, Mona. We all go through it. Highs and lows. But you've sold another book. YAY. That's a definite high. I'm proud of you, my friend.

  6. Anny Cook // February 8, 2008 at 5:00 PM  

    Hi, Mona! I had a book rejected right at Christmas, not because it was a bad book... not because there was no hope for it. As a matter of fact I received praise for the story, writing, etc.

    But the book was too similar to another book already published. Heh! That was a hit. Rejection plus that faint hint of plagurism was a very tough pill to swallow. And yes, that book is not on the back burner--it's not even on the stove. Truthfully, I think it will take a long time for me to be able to read it with neutral eyes. At the moment, if it was in print I would probably throw it across the room.

    But someday down the road when I can look at it with fresh eyes, I will have to make a decision about whether or not I can salvage any part of it. In the meantime, there are other stories to write. Other books to finish.

    Congrats on your new contract!

  7. Joanne // February 10, 2008 at 8:54 AM  

    The longer we write and submit, the more we will encounter rejections. Think of it as a learning experience. Take some time to ponder and regroup, and the...go forward! Congratulations on your second book contract.

  8. Helen Scott Taylor // February 11, 2008 at 7:09 PM  

    I can accept rejections when I know why. What irks me is the form rejection when you're left with no idea what's wrong with the story.

    I'm pleased you've put that last rejection behind you and decided to pursue the line you want to write for. I've heard and read so many quotes from successful people that say the secret of success is never giving up.

  9. Mary Marvella // February 17, 2008 at 12:21 AM  

    Hey, Mona and my fellow fuzzies. I have been rejected by the best. 2 of the most recent ones happened a month or so before the targeted line bombed. The rejections were good but didn't suggest another line for me to target.

    Now I can laugh but at the time I didn't find it amazing. Chocolate, thumb sucking in the fetal position and mumbling!