Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Is Your Publishing Dream Worth the Rejections?

Publishing can be a rewarding field to work in—especially when it involves helping other authors achieve their dreams. There’s nothing like the feeling that comes from offering a writer a contract. 

But when I first took on my two roles in publishing, I didn’t quite take into account the fact that I would have to say “no” more often than I said “yes.” As an author myself, I understand the determination writers have toward reaching their dreams. I can relate with the emotional roller coaster that writers often find themselves on throughout this crazy journey.

And I know what it’s like to work so hard and have your hopes set on a specific publisher or agent, only to have yet another door shut in your face. A door that you thought for sure could be the one to lead you toward your dream.

So trust me when I say that it’s painful for me to write rejections as well. Since I’m passionate about motiving writers to achieve their dreams, it’s hard for me to realize that my rejection letter could accomplish the exact opposite. These letters could be a source of discouragement rather than encouragement.

Of course, I always try to come across as encouraging, even in the rejections. But it could still hurt the writer who is on the receiving end. The simple fact that they reached yet another closed door could tempt them to give up.  

The hard truth is, rejections are part of the journey. It’s inevitable. Yet even though us writers might know this, it still doesn’t take away the sting. You might be prepared to receive these letters, but it still doesn’t take away the discouragement. After a while, you might begin to wonder if the journey is even worth the effort. Besides, how is an aspiring author supposed to reach the land of publishing if every route she’s tried seems blocked—as if it leads to a dead end?

When we reach the point when the rejections seem endless, I think it’s important to take a pause. A breather. Remind yourself of why you’ve decided to set out on this voyage to begin with. Allow yourself to dream again.

Then, the next time you receive a rejection, remind yourself of the following truths…

1 – It’s all about perspective.

A rejection doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer, nor does it mean you won’t be published someday. It simply means that your project is not right for the agent or editor at this time. However, it might also mean that your book still needs some work.

Did you set out on the voyage toward your dreams prematurely? Should you go back to the starting line and spend more time honing your craft?

Remember: This is a journey, not a race.

2 – There are still other options.

The great thing about today’s publishing world is that there are multiple options for aspiring authors. There will always be another agent. Multiple smaller houses are providing aspiring authors with the chance to reach their publishing dreams as well. Self-published authors are beginning to earn more respect in the industry. Plus, you could always put the manuscript you’re shopping in your drawer for now and try to pitch another project instead.

The point is, there are always options. A rejection isn’t the end of the road. You simply need to decide which step to take next.

3 – You’re trying to find the perfect editor or agent for your project. Rejections mean that person was not the right fit. (For now, at least.)

Can I remind you of this genius quote by Thomas Edison?

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

If you receive another rejection, remind yourself that you didn’t fail. You just found yet another person who isn’t right for your project. But that doesn’t mean the right person won't come along at the right time. (Why is this starting to sound like a post on relationship advice? Haha)  

4 – Every successful writer has dealt with rejection at some point.

Again, rejection is simply part of the journey toward publication.

“J.K. Rowling’s first ‘Harry Potter’ was rejection 12 times. Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ was rejected 38 times. I was immensely proud to have beaten them all.” 
– Ashwin Sanghi

5 – The dream will never come to pass if you don’t keep striving toward it.

Wouldn’t you rather try and be rejected rather than live with the regret of not trying at all?

“It is impossible to live without failing at something … unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” 
– J.K. Rowling

So this year, as you continue to trek along your path toward publication, remind yourself that progress is better than being stagnant. Reaching a closed door is better than to never have knocked on the door in the first place. Besides, the simple fact that you wrote a book and you’re attempting to navigate the waters of publishing should be something to be proud of! You’re already farther ahead than several writers who only dream about writing a book.

The writing journey is simply that—a journey.

A journey that’s often filled with setbacks, failures, and mistakes.

Yet there are bright moments along the journey as well. Moments when you reach milestones that are worth celebrating. Moments when you learn to take constructive criticism and use that to catapult you further in your craft. Times when you hear back from readers who tell you that they couldn’t put your story down. Times when you might win contests or finally sign with your dream agent.

Those are the moments that will make this journey—and yes, even the rejections—worthwhile in the end.

“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” 
– Sylvia Plath

~ ~ ~ 
How do you handle rejections? 
Let me know in the comments!


Is Your Publishing Dream Worth the Rejections? #writingcommunity #writerslife @TessaEmilyHall

1 comment:

Thanks for stopping by my blog!