Welcome Wednesday guests for November:
11/05 Maya Corrigan's Five-Ingredient Mystery, By Cook or By Crook.
11/12 Death by Blue Water, a scuba-diving adventure-mystery by scuba-diving author, Kait Carson.
11/19 Susan Van Kirk--Three Can Keep A Secret.
11/26 Tagged for Death, a garage sale mystery by Sherry Harris.

Gloria Alden's latest publication is nonfiction. Boys Will Be Boys: The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys. Edited by Cher'ley Grogg was recently released and available on Amazon. Gloria wrote three essays and two poems in her chapter included in the book.

Don't miss this month's release of Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays on October 7th, in which WWK bloggers Shari Randall ("Disco Donna") and E. B. Davis ("Compromised Circumstances") have short stories.

KM Rockwood's
short stories will appear in two anthologies released in October. They are: "The Lure of the Owl" in Swamp Mansion and Other Dark Stories, to be released as a ebook, and "Aunt Olga and the Werewolf" will be included in the third Creatures, Crimes and Creativity anthology release by Intrigue Publishing. at their conference in October.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dealing with Rejection


I'm not afraid of much, but I've feared rejection my whole life.

Logically, I realize that rejection is a part of being a writer; it's something we must all endure on the path to success. But knowing that doesn't lessen the sting any. No matter how many times people tell you that a rejection isn't personal, it's hard not to take it as such when it's happening to you.

It doesn't help that two of the definitions for "reject" in the dictionary are:
  • to discard as useless or unsatisfactory
  • to cast out or eject; vomit
Seriously. "Vomit." I realize that particular definition pertains more to a bodily function than a "no thank you", but it's still a harsh thing to think about.

Maybe it would be easier for me to deal with rejection if I were to view it as simply a difference of opinion: I like my work, but the agent (or reader) doesn't. I realize this is the concept that people try to share when they say "don't take it personally," but that phrase doesn't soften the blow quite like "difference of opinion" does.

I can easily accept opinions that don't mesh with my own; to each his/her own, and all that. So if I start to view a rejection as a mere difference of opinion, maybe that will help lessen the sting. Or will it still hurt because of the inherent need for validation that we all have? Is it the rejection itself that hurts, or is it the way in which the dismissal is delivered? Would my ego feel less bruised if someone explained why they didn't like my book, rather than sending me an impersonal "Thanks, but no thanks", or worse, no reply at all?

Maybe seeing the reasons my work has been refused would help me to understand said rejection better, and grow as a writer. For instance, if the issue is with syntax or grammar, that's information I could use to make the book better. If it's more that someone didn't like my protagonist, I'd be able to decide if I want to change that or not.

Granted, the bitter pill of "no thanks" might not taste that good - no matter what reason was given - but I still think I'd rather know the reasons behind a rejection than to receive some impersonal non-response.

6 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

I think that rejection is hard to take unless you're given a reason for the rejection. Few agents or publishers have the time to give reasons for each submission they receive.

One agent told me she "didn't like my style," which wasn't very helpful because I didn't understand exactly what that meant. I think it was an easy way to reject someone's work without it being stinging. On one hand I'm thankful, but on the other hand it was unhelpful.

But I got a review of a short story I wrote that was extremely helpful. In the review comments, he discussed the plot, talking about plot points that were only his assumptions not was I had written. He clearly hadn't bothered to read the story. It was helpful in that, I disregarded his comments.

Warren Bull said...

As a "recovering" editor and contest judge, I can say that there is never enough time to comment in detail on every submission. And written comments always seem harsher than when the reviewer can control tone of voice and interact verbally. An editor may just be in a bad mood when she/he reads your work or your idea may have already have been used in an already accepted story. Or the editor can make mistakes. I have had many stories accepted by the third or forth editor I've offered them to. Then I think, "Finally, a smart editor."

Gloria Alden said...

I totally relate to that fear of rejection. I know there have to be people out there who don't, but I'm not one of them. Whenever I got a letter - one I'd enclosed with my query letter - or an email from the agent and or publisher I'd queried, I was afraid to open it. Then the horrible let down feeling after I read the rejection. I could never shrug my shoulders and think, "Oh well. It's their loss."

Alyx Morgan said...

Exactly, EB. If they don't like my style, that's fine with me. It's that "difference of opinion" that I can handle.

And I do realize there are just too many manuscripts to be able to fully respond to all of them. I don't know that I'm expecting or even hoping for a change in the system, just lamenting about my fear & working to overcome that.

Alyx Morgan said...

LOL, Warren. It is probably easier to think the editors or agents aren't "smart" when they reject my submission, but for some reason I tend to think their rejection is reflective of my work...that whole "it's easier to believe bad things about yourself" mentality.

Hmmm...something else to work on. :o)

Alyx Morgan said...

I'm with you, Gloria. I'm not quite at the "their loss" stage of rejections yet. My brother once told me that he asked out over 100 girls back in high school, just to help him get over the fear of rejection. He said that by the time the school year was over, he was able to simply shrug any rejection off he received.

So maybe we only have to get over that first 100 rejections...if I can stop myself from crying over each & every one of them. ;o)