WIHM: The Gift Of Rejection

Create, edit, and submit. For some writers this cyclonic habit can suck the confidence right out of you. Seasoned writers know the key to not obsessing too much is to have a stable of submittable stories and markets at the ready. They are too busy working on the next story to stop and grieve the rejection that just came in. I’m not saying it doesn’t still sting, but with the next market send out a new hope begins; and that is, in my opinion, the key.

Publishing houses of all sizes can get an overwhelming number of submissions to any call and sometimes it can take months to sort through, decide, and respond to them all. This leaves the anxious new writer checking their email numerous times a day – if you only have a few stories out. If however you start writing a new story as soon as you’re done the last, then your mind moves on to something else to be preoccupied by and your productivity and chances for publication rise.

This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many new writers just stop writing and start waiting.


Oh, was that an email notification? You just got another rejection? Well let’s analyse it, shall we?

First off, was it a form rejection or a personal one? If it was a form perhaps the editor simply replied that it wasn’t a good fit at this time and try again in the future. They may have already accepted a tale that is too much like yours. A personal rejection – although not as common – can hold gems for the writer. If you have received numerous rejections with comments compare the notes. Do they say the same message? If so, I suggest you seriously consider the advice. If not, then see what you agree with or you feel will contribute to the story. (These people usually don’t take the time to send a personal rejection unless they feel your story has potential.) Perhaps they talk about confusion with character point of view, or the pacing is too slow, too quick, or all over the place. Consider this a sort of free edit that will give your story a better chance with the next submission. These small gifts are far and few between so remember to send a brief ‘Thank you’ for their time. That kind of etiquette can go a long way if you submit to that editor again in the future.

Speaking of submitting, shouldn’t you be working on your next masterpiece? Get writing!

Jo-Anne Russell

Jo-Anne Russell

Jo-Anne Russell is a dark fiction writer and a publisher at Lycan Valley Press. She is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, the Writers Guild of Alberta and the Edmonton Arts Counsel. Her work can be found in a multitude of anthologies, and as standalone stories. Her debut novel The Nightmare Project was republished last year with Book 2 to follow. She is a wife, mother of eight children, has numerous pets, and is legally blind.

You can find out more on her website at www.jo-annerussell.com.

And on Amazon.

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