Don't let it hinder you
Just like that cutie in high school who never knew you existed. If only you could've built the courage to plop your food tray down on his table, slide in beside him and say, "Hi," things might've been different. Instead, fear held you down at the table in the corner with the rest of the unpopulars as you watched big busted Kyla sit down beside him and start up a giggle-laden conversation. What, just me?
Fear keeps you from trying because you're uncertain of the results. And the ultimate fear for writers is … what if they don't like my writing. And instead of finishing the novel, you put it on the backburner because if you finish it then you'll want to share it. And what if they think it sucks?
You want to get it published, but you're afraid of submitting it because you're writing sucks compared to other writers. What if publishers think you have no business writing, even grocery lists?
They accepted and published your novel, but you're afraid to market it because reviewers and readers could be harsher than any editor. What if they hate your book so bad the only sales you get are from readers who buy your book for the satisfaction of watching the book burn ritualistic style and in your backyard, nonetheless?
Own up to the fact that you will be rejected one way or another, sooner or later, and make sure every time you ...
Learn from it
A (sort of) nice thing to take away from being rejected by a publisher, editor or agent is that sometimes you get a valued piece of written inscription known as a personalized rejection letter. Sometimes the editor will explain why the manuscript was rejected and sometimes will even give you pointers on how to improve it. Leaving you with the decision to fix it and move on (or resubmit) or move on to another publisher without making any changes at all. Whichever you choose, the point is … you're moving on (or revising and resubmitting) and trying again.
You may get rejection after rejection and no explanation for it. Which isn't unusual but if your work is continually getting rejected it's time to change your tactics.
- Rewrite the query letter. Sometimes tweaking the query letter is all it takes. Since the query is the first hint of your writing skills the editor encounters, it's important that it's just as polished as your manuscript.
- Have someone else look over the query letter and manuscript. Sometimes it's difficult for you to see your own mistakes and typos, or if something needs clarification.
- Double check and follow the submission guidelines. Make sure the publisher publishes similar books in your genre, are open for submissions, accepts from author or agent, etc.
- Be professional. No emoticons, text-like abbreviations or usage of slang in your query letter or any written correspondence between you and publisher/editor/agent.
- If all else fails … focus on writing your next novel. Don't spend too much time rewriting and submitting the same manuscript. Move on to your next novel which should be written better your last. You should keep learning your craft and improving.
Know it's not the end
Serious writers understand it's not the end of your writing career or the end of rejection. There will be more rejection letters just as long as you keep writing and submitting manuscripts. Rejection is a huge part of being a serious writer.
Imagine plopping your food tray down next to that cutie in high school and he turns to you with a look of disgust on his face. Your worst fear, right? Hey, you knew it could happen, at least you can say you tried and that you learned to never go that route again. (Next time you'll catch him at his locker after school.)
So embrace rejection instead of fearing it and use it to improve your writing.