Three Reasons to Love your Rejection Letters

We’ve talked all the live long month about submissions. A few times we’ve touched in rejection letters as an unavoidable eventuality. I stand by this, they are unavoidable. I promise, if you’re hoping for universal love, you will be sadly disappointed, my friends.

I’ve never hated rejection letters, though. In fact, I love them. I’ve still got my very first one, that I got when I was thirteen years old and sent some poor agent a hand written submission. Bless her heart for responding to that silly little girl that I was so long ago.

You should love your rejection letters too. Here’s why.

Agents don’t respond to most submissions they get.

It’s just a fact. Agents and magazines get hundreds of submissions. They don’t have the time or patience to respond to them all, and still have time for things like eating, bathing, sleeping, occasionally seeing their loved ones and, oh yeah, taking care of the clients they already have. If you were an agent, and you got a submission that just wasn’t professional, wrong genre, stupid font, full of typo’s, would you waste your time responding to them?  I wouldn’t.  So if an agent sent you a rejection letter, you should see that as an investment of their time. You’re work was professional enough for them to make that time. Be proud of that, even if their ultimate decision was to not represent you.

It’s concrete evidence that you’re sending your work out there.

You know what kind of writer doesn’t have any rejection letters?
* Writers who haven’t finished their first marketable piece.
* Writers who haven’t had the guts to send their work to an agent.

Do you want to be that guy? Don’t be that guy. You know what kind of writer does have rejection letters? Every single writer with a book on the shelf. King, Rowling, Martin, Sanderson, everybody! I’ve sure got my fair share. Snoopy’s got more than me. But I can point to that, and say, “Look, that’s how many times I’ve tried. Yes I’ve failed, but at least I’ve tried.”

It’s your signal to try again.

And this is the important one. If you sent your work out to an agent, and you’ve just gotten a rejection letter, then you’ve just got something to put on your to-do list for tomorrow; send the book out again! Don’t let it sit for more than a day or two. Three at the most if you’re busy. But get it right back out there. I always assume I’m going to need another agent to send my book to, and so I’ve already got a list ready for when that rejection letter comes. There will be no collecting of dust, or sitting stagnant for my work.

Did you get a rejection letter yet this month? If not, why not! Make it your goal to get one next month, and the month after that. Because trying your best and failing, beats not trying every time.

Writing Prompt Saturday- Reject your own work

Are you all doing the Writing 101 program?  I’ve been doing it, if you can’t tell by the daily free writing posts that have been going on since Tuesday.  That’s going to be going on the whole month.  So if your not a huge fan of my unedited ramblings on the site, sorry.  If you do like it, then great, you’ve got a whole month to go.

The point is, you might be really sick of writing prompts at this point if you are participating.  If that’s the case, feel free to store this one away for May.  Hopefully this helps us all get into the free writing habit.

So, back to our theme for the month, submissions.  I’m sure you know that submissions lead to two things, sales and rejection letters.  Rejection letters are far more common.  So long as we all understand that, let’s have some fun with it, yeah?

Pretend you’re an editor for a literary magazine, or a publishing company.  Now grab your most recent piece, novel or short story.  It’s just landed on your desk.  Reject it.  Write your rejection in a letter format.  What would you, the editor, tell you, the writer, about why this piece didn’t make it to print?

You can play it funny, really have some fun with it.  Or, you can take this as a chance to do what my grandma always told me to do.  Whether cleaning my room or editing my own writing, the advice is the same, “Look at it like it was done by someone you don’t like, and you want to get them in trouble.”  In this case, look at it like a tired editor who wants to stop reading your piece, and is just looking for an excuse.

If you do get around to responding to this prompt, feel free to post it in the comments below.  Have a great weekend, everyone.

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