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Rejection: The Heart and Soul of All Things Writing

I have been involved in publishing and writing for almost half my life. I am closing in on 50 years of age. I earn my living by being in the literary arts. I deal with a lot of rejection each and every day and have been for over twenty years. Sure, because I do what I enjoy rejection is harder, but not an obstacle.

I feel that writers like to overly bemoan, save, even brag about their rejection letters and stories about “bad” publishers who didn’t do what they wanted. I don’t understand this. I am a book publisher, an author, and also a self-published author. I can vouch for the fact that all three of these writing enterprises involve rejection. People in the “literary” world seem to handle rejection very poorly. Perhaps because it’s not a “real” job to many, but a passion and a dream which means they shouldn’t have to suffer? Who knows.

However, what I want to address is rejection from the point-of-view of a publisher. What I hear most is how authors don’t hear from publishers when they make queries. How they don’t get a personal reply. That they can simply send a publisher a query whenever they feel like it and then expect service is odd. Right now my website clearly shows that I am NOT taking submissions, yet I still get submissions. The reason I am not taking submissions is because I do not have time to read any, and don’t have the time to reply, not to mention that I don’t need any new material for my publishing schedule. To feel “rejected” by me if you send me a submission right now is just absurd don’t you think?

Back to the subject though. Rejection as publisher. If I collected all the rejections I get from bookstores I contact about carrying my books I would have to quit and find a storage area to safe keep the rejections. How easy do authors think it is to call a new bookstore and wade through employees and reach the buyer? Especially when your company name is not a popular, or well known one. How many emails do I send out that never get replied to? The radio, news, television folks are normally hard to get a reply from. Requests for readings that are totally ignored.

Writing, like publishing, like any “real” job, involves lots of rejection. It is not a writer-only realm. In fact, sales of any kind is a world of embracing rejection. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to rush and wade through the answer “no” in order to find a sale. At this point I recommend authors and publishers get the rejections out-of-the-way in order to find the one “yes” you need. That is, if you can learn to “embrace” rejection, even thank the person for not wasting anymore of your time, you can get to the good comment/sale that much faster.