Rejection Doesn’t Stop

Photo credit: Daniel Kulinski on Flickr
Some tough love today.

Every once in a while, I’ll get an e-mail from writers who say they’re having trouble with rejection, or scared of rejection, or getting tired of rejection, etc. These are feelings, I think, that just about every writer can identify with. After all, rejection is never easy to handle, especially over and over and over again.

Unfortunately, if you’re a writer, that’s too bad.

I hate to sound callous or cold, because I get it. I do. I’ve dealt with close to a decade of writing-related rejection and I expect more in my future. Rejection sucks. It’s exhausting and eats away at your confidence and motivation and it’s really hard.

It’s also inevitable.

The truth is, for writers, rejection never goes away. Not after you get an agent. Not after you get your first book published (or publish it yourself). Not after you publish five, ten, twenty novels. Rejection will always be a part of the writing life. Always.

Before you get an agent, rejection will come from agents in answer to query letters. Many writers see hundreds of rejections before they sign with an agent. It’s normal. It sucks. It’s reality.

After you get an agent and you go on submission, rejection will come from editors in answer to submissions. Many writers wait for months and see rejection after rejection before they sell their book. Some writers don’t sell their first book on submission at all. It’s normal. It sucks. It’s reality.

After you get a book deal or self-publish your first book, rejections will come from readers in the form of bad reviews. All writers get bad reviews. Many of them. It’s normal. It sucks. It’s reality.

It doesn’t matter how successful you are, or how many books you publish, or how popular your books become—rejection doesn’t stop. And yes, it’s hard, but the truth is, one way or another, writers just have to learn how to deal with it. That’s really all there is to it.

The good news is other writers understand. When you get agented, your agent understands. There are people around you who you can go to when rejection starts to feel like too much, when it weighs you down and makes it hard for you to continue.

But most importantly, I think, is to remember you’re not alone. All writers deal with rejection over and over and over again. And while it’s absolutely hard to handle, I like to think that with a little support and a lot of determination, it’s manageable. Eventually, at least.

What do you think?

Twitter-sized bites: 
"The truth is, for writers, rejection never goes away." (Click to tweet)  
Having trouble with rejection? @Ava_Jae shares her thoughts on this inevitable part of the writing life. (Click to tweet)


Darth Lolita said...

Hah. I think I'm going to chant "It’s normal. It sucks. It’s reality." under my breath every time my fiction gets rejected or has a negative reaction in general. Gotta accept it now :P (also, yayyy for writers bonding together over these things. We really do need each other).

Linda Strawn said...

I'm glad you mentioned rejection from readers, because I just finished reading a book by a multi-published, popular writer. I loved it, absolutely loved it. So I wrote a stellar review on Goodreads. I then read reviews others had posted for the same book and I was shocked. One person went as far as saying she couldn't get past the first page. What? I loved the first page, and the second, the third, etc. This just goes to show not everyone will feel the same about a book whether it's an agent, a publisher, or a reader. The lesson here is to keep writing, keep submitting, and develop a thick (or thicker) skin.

MK said...

Reject goes down a lot more easily with a nice glass of pinot noir. Or whiskey. Whiskey works too.

Lola R said...

Rejection will be always difficult to deal with no matter in which form it comes. I am not a writer, but I've spent years job searching before I decided to start my own company and the rejection really could get me down on some days.
Having people who believe in you and stand at your side is the best thing you can have to get through it. Or in the case of books I think it helps to know there are people who do love you book. We can't all love the same books, so there always will be people who like it and peopel who don't.

Heather said...

I think I have a quote up on my wall in my room (I have so many quotes, ha) where someone says something along the lines of: "Ingrain this into your brain: EVERY WRITER GETS REJECTED. You will be no different." You make good points and it's very true... Sometimes I think we think we're too special to get rejected but that is not the case. You just have to keep plugging.

Ava Jae said...

Ha ha it's a good battle cry, I think. Good luck! :)

Ava Jae said...

Yes! I've seen that too—sometimes I'll run over to Goodreads after totally loving every page of a book and the first review I see is someone with a DNF or one-star review. It's a somewhat sobering reminder that we really can't please everyone and even the most successful books will have many many bad reviews.

No writer is immune from rejection.

Ava Jae said...

Heh. Valid point.

Ava Jae said...

Yes! Rejection is definitely not a phenomena reserved for the publishing world, and that's a great point. I also love what you said about not everyone loving the same books—I think that's especially important to remember when publishing. Thanks, Lola!

Ava Jae said...

I remember the days when I envision a world where I would never get rejected heh heh. They didn't last long. lol

Every writer absolutely gets rejected. It's just a fact of the writer life, and the sooner we accept it, the better.

Thanks, Heather!

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