Monday, January 23, 2012

The Dreaded "R" Word—Rejection. My Writing Journey--Part 5

Rejected—my manuscript slipped back into the file to be read another day—over my dead body, literally.

Too many gifted writers give up too soon because they fear rejection. They write, are rejected, and then give up. Words that could change someone's life and sentences that God wants someone to read—are stuffed in a drawer never to see or be the light.

You don't write a book so that no one will every read it. If you want to be published I urge you to accept rejection, keep polishing your manuscript, and keep submitting to publishers.

Writing books and writing conferences will help you along your way. A book you should read and keep as a reference is Dave Fessenden's, From Concept to Contract.

Last week, I was honored to be the guest blogger on Dave Fessenden's blog, I wrote the following about that dreaded "R" word—Rejection:

It's a fact, as a writer, you will be rejected—not everyone will like your writing. Why? Well, because readers are all different. A writing style that entices one publisher will not appeal to another.

It happened to me. In 30 minutes I had two appointments with two different publishers. One read my work, put the paper down, and said she couldn't read it. That was not my hoped-for response. Fifteen minutes later a different publisher read the same words and said "This is great! I'd love to publish it."

Rejection is a part of the writing life. Please realize you are not alone. Perhaps these facts from Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul will encourage you:

Dr. Seuss' book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers before Vanguard Press accepted it. It sold six million copies.

Pearl Buck's The Good Earth was rejected 14 times and went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Mary Higgins Clark was rejected 40 times before selling her first story. More than 30 million copies of her books are in print.

John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, was turned down by 15 publishers and 30 agents. More than 60 million of his books are in print.

Star Wars was rejected by every movie studio in Hollywood before 20th Century Fox finally produced it.

Rudyard Kipling received the following rejection from the San Francisco Examiner: "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language."

What lesson can a writer learn from this? Don't give up. Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep submitting your work.

It's sad when the work of a gifted writer goes unpublished because they can't handle the rejection. Keep your eyes fixed on the One Who received the ultimate rejection. Jesus died for you. I hope you write for Him.

Today I blogged about the rejection. Tomorrow I'll share how my first book went from being a concept to being a contract. Woo Hoo!!!

May God bless your writing with Splashes of Serenity!



  1. Elaine,

    I love rejection! Let me clarify. As a writer or anything in life for that matter we have the choice - to try or let fear stifle us and not take the risk. I remember the time I entered a play writing contest, I was terrified. I wrote a one scene play of my feelings following my sister's kidnapping and then lost the courage to mail it.

    Thankfully I had a friend who encouraged me and explained a new version of rejection. "Lisa, the worst thing they will say is you didn't win but if you don't send it, you might not write again." I mailed my script and waited. I did not win yet I received a beautiful note. I didn't win the contest but I won my first battle with fear over the tragedy of my sister's disappearance.

    My friend invited our entire class to CELEBRATE my first rejection with words of hope for my future publications. "If you can't show the children you will take a risk, what makes you think they will?" she asked me. Hmm...

    Each rejection is an opportunity to learn and grow. And to celebrate!

    Thanks Elaine,
    Lisa M Buske

    Also - I have Dave Fessenden's book and it is wonderful. It has amble sticky notes, highlighting and dog-eared pages. One everyone should invest in.

  2. Lisa, Of course, you celebrate rejections! That's so YOU! I love the learning opportunities you see when doors close. Love and prayers for you, Lisa and for your book, Where's Heidi!"


I would love hearing from you! Thanks for sharing!