Rejections are all part of the submissions process, but it’s how you deal with them that counts. At university, I knew people who’d been rejected three times by an agent before giving up completely. From there, they decided to self-publish or simply put their manuscripts away. It didn’t make sense to me. They’d spent all year working on their MS, tireless hours on rewrites, and yet gave in after waiting six weeks for an agent to respond. I’ve always been told that I’m determined with a strong will and perhaps that’s why, after about fifteen years of trying and hundreds of rejections, I still never gave up on my dream of being an author.
So how can you receive rejection upon rejection and keep trying? These tips worked for me.
Feel the first rejection and then quickly send the MS to someone else:
Easier said than done, but I recall setting myself a little challenge. With every rejection I received, I’d send my MS off to another agent. That way I always felt as though my MS was constantly out there with the same amount of agents.
Talk about your future as though it’s here:
I used to talk about my novel writing to close friends as though it was a fact and going to happen to me. I would have some momentary doubts, but quickly trained myself to push those away and talk only positively about my future as an author. I still do this now. Live it like it’s happened and I promise it eventually will happen.
Visualise each rejection as once step closer to finding your perfect match:
It’s only a matter of time until you find your agent. You only need one to love it as much as you. I was well aware of how many agents there were out there (not so much in Australia) but around the world. I knew that I would never give up and out of the thousands of agents, I would find mine.
Start writing something else straight away:
I figured if thousands of agents rejected me, then I would have my new MS to submit to all of them once more. Starting a new story will also distract you from refreshing your emails every five seconds.
Join a creative writing group:
Occasionally, the dreaded thought that maybe I was just a shit writer would enter my head. But after getting rejections with comments about my writing being really polished, sophisticated and unique, I knew in my heart that wasn’t the problem. It was always the plot or the pacing or the current market that got me my rejections. My style of writing and my presentation was never as issue. My MS was polished and error free. That’s why joining a creative writing group can help gage other people’s reactions to your work. They can give honest feedback about your writing, storyline, concept and whether you need some added lessons in writing.
Write what you love to read and just write anyway:
It seems obvious, but while you’re waiting, if you write what you love to read you’re more likely to write something that’s popular and current. Write for practice, experience and to take your mind off waiting.
Become addicted to reading about rejection stories like this:
Reading about other authors’ and their rejections during submissions is a great confidence boost. It sounds negative, but I guarantee you’ll feel better knowing that they’re published and have been rejected, which means you can follow in their footsteps!
I hope these little tips help if you’re in the midst of submitting to agents! It can be really frustrating and disheartening. But if you love writing, you’ll know like I do, you can never give it up. So keep going and keep writing and keep submitting.
Thanks for stopping by!