Yesterday, I opened my email and was delighted to find a response from one of the publishers I had submitted a short story to. I had waited months to hear from them so I eagerly opened the email and read their missive, only to discover I had received my first rejection letter.
Wow, the pain…the dissappointment…the gall of these people to turn me down! My feelings are hurt! I worked so hard on that story…how could they not want it?
Yes, my friends, rejection letters can bring out the worst in us as writers. Some of us tend to take it personal and we bring out all those insecurities that kept us from writing or submitting our work for so long. Some get angry and stuff their stories back in the drawer and resolve never to embarrass themselves again.
Others, like myself, will take a few moments to wallow in self-pity, dry our tears and then put the hankie away. We move on, we continue to write and we continue to submit our stories. Because, it is a fact of life that all writers will experience the pain of receiving a rejection letter. And, in the end, some rejection letters can be turned into a learning experience for the new writer.
After wringing out the hankie, I retraced my steps and went back to who, how and when I submitted this story. It was one of the first submissions I made and after checking out the publisher, they were right. Their magazine was not the right home for my story. I hadn’t done my research prior to submitting the story and I was now holding the end result, a rejection letter.
Of course, lack of research is not the only reason I’ll ever get a rejection letter. There are so many reasons for a publisher to give my stories a thumbs down…such as: they aren’t currently looking for my type of story, they have too many stories that are carrying the same theme or they just didn’t connect with the story itself. That’s life in the publishing world and as hard as it is for writers to accept it, that’s the way it is.
I went back to the story I submitted and reread it and double checked it…I wanted to make sure I had dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. It was in good shape and I still liked the story…so, I jumped on to Duotrope and researched a few more publishers. I found a few that I felt might be more receptive to my story and before I could lose my nerve, I submitted to them. And, if they all reject my story, I’ll find a few more publishers and I’ll submit my work to them.
Persistence is so important in the publishing world, much as it is in life. You can’t give up…if you believe your story is good, get out there and find a publisher who agrees.
What did I do with my first rejection letter? I printed it out and it is now on my Milestone Page along with the stories that did get published. Why? Because, it is a rite of passage in my journey down the road to being a successful writer and it deserves it’s place in my Milestone page. There will be others in my future, but I’m never going to let that stop me. I’ll keep on writing and keep on submitting my stories.
For, I am a writer and that’s what writer’s do! So, there! 🙂
Yours In Writing,
M E McMahon