There are a lot of things to be said about rejection, but here is the most important truth of them all.
If you are rejected, it does not mean you are a failure.
Because rejections can be quite painful, we wanted to write a blog post about them, how to handle them and the truth behind what they mean. Because at the end of the day, a rejection letter is just words on a screen. This is a low down on what a rejection actually is and what it means for you as a writer.
So you've submitted your work somewhere! Great, now you wait for the responses to come rolling in. This is super important because your rejection may have already begun before the agent or editor has read it. The importance of who you are submitting your work to is key. Research who it is you are sending it to and if it's the type of work they want. There is nothing worse than sending YA fiction to an agent who is specifically looking for a memoir or adult fiction. If you are submitting poetry for a specific brief or call out, make sure it suits what the publisher is looking for as well, there is no use just submitting blind to as many publishers as you can. Less submissions to more meaningful presses and making sure that you take you time on your submission will be far more valuable.
You've received your first rejection, what's next? Be ready to receive more. As awful as it sounds, this is a tough, tough industry and it's nothing personal. The hardest rejection you will face is the one you've just received though, so in a way, it's only up from here. It will be hard, but receiving this rejection is the key, it will make you or break you. Let it make you.
Responding to rejections... There isn't a rule saying you can't, but if you decide to reach out to the agent or publisher that rejected you, there is only one piece of advice we can give you: BE POLITE. Editors and agents sometimes read hundreds of submissions a week, don't be the submission they remember for a bad reason. The literary industry, much like any other creative industry, is a small place. Word does get around.
Do rejections mean I'm a bad writer? No, not in the slightest. It's often the case that what you've written just isn't right for that publisher/agent or publication. It's all a matter of opinion and you need to rise above all those opinions because the only one that should matter to you is your own. Have faith in yourself and in your writing, rejections are a normal part of the publishing process and even the most successful authors have faced a lot of rejection in their time.
Finally, you will learn the truth about rejection... Here it is, after this journey you know now what the truth is about rejection. You understand that it's a badge of pride because it means you're waking up each day and trying to do what you love. Every time you send off a submission and receive a rejection, you are one step closer to achieving what you set out to do. There is a point where you must be able to look at your work and ask yourself if this is the right time for this project, but in general, the publishing process is LOOOOONNNNGGGGGGGGG.
Keep on fighting the good fight. Keep writing and whatever you do, never let your rejections get you down. Each rejection is a brick you are laying to build you empire.