Rejection Letters
Aren't All Bad
"I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach
a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts,
'To hell with you.'"  ~ Saul Bellow
They Didn't Give Up

Okay, you've gotten a rejection letter from an agent or editor.  It feels awful!  Maybe it was your
first.  Maybe it was number sixteen.  Whichever it was, don't despair, you're standing in really
good company, so don't give up.  These authors didn't:

If you are a romance writer, and maybe even if you aren't, you've probably read--or at least
watched--Margaret Mitchell's story,
Gone with the Wind.  Over 20 publishing houses tuned that
little story down before it sold.

Who hasn't heard of John Grisham in this day and age.  Did you know that the fist manuscript
he wrote,
A Time to Kill, was rejected 45 times before it was accepted?

Famous western novelist Louis L'Amour sold countless books over the years.  Many of his
stories were made into movies, like
The Quick and the Dead -- the old one, not the newer
version.  His stories earned him over 300 rejections before he ever sold a book.

Mary Higgins Clark is well known by mystery fans all over the world.  She kept wiring and
sending out her novels, even after 40 rejections rolled in.

If you have children, you've probably spent at least a few hours with a
Dr. Seuss book in hand.  
He was the proud owner of nearly 30 rejections, and that was just from one of his stories.

Aren't you glad they filed those rejections away, and then kept on trying? I hope you do the

Rejection Letters Do Have Some Good Points

Getting a rejection from a publishing house--or agent--might leave you feeling depressed, sad,
angry, and more.  That's okay, let yourself sink into the biggest pity party known to man.  Eat a
ton of chocolate, watch a sad love story and cry your eyes out, sit around in your PJ's until
noon, but don't spend too much time on that party.  You have things to do, another publishing
house to research, a new agent to check out, and that manuscript to get back in the mail.  
There is also that new story you should be working on.

Believe it or not, there are some good things you should remember about rejection.  What good
things? Let me list a few.  Oh, and let me add congratulation on that rejection letter.  You
should be proud!

1) That rejection letter means you are a REAL writer.
2) You completed a manuscript. A whole story.
3) You wrote both a query letter and a synopsis; something that can be harder than writing an
entire novel.
4) When you were done, you looked through guidelines and found a publishing house that
handles your kind of story, or an agent who accepted the genre you write in.
5) With dreams overflowing, you addressed that envelope and mailed your baby, sending it out
into the cold, hard world.
6) You used up more patience than you even knew you possessed, watching that mail box and
waiting to hear something, anything...probably for months at the least.
7) When you got that rejection, you didn't give up, or you wouldn't be hear reading this.

The Steps on the Rejection Ladder

When you at last get brave enough to send out your manuscript, the rejection letter you might
get could be the standard form letter.  When I sent my first MS off years ago, I thought it was
filled with great writing!  Now looking back, I know it was awful!  It did get me my first rejection
letter though. Hopefully, sites like mine will help you skip at least the first kind of rejection letter
listed below.

Dear Author,

Thank you for thinking of DreamOn publishing, but at this time we feel your story does not fit
our needs.  Best of luck placing your work elsewhere.

The Editors

(Notice I'm an author, but they don't use my name, nor do they mention the title of my MS, the
real reason it was rejected--it sucked dirt--or even list an editor by name.  Oh well.  I kept
writing, joined RWA and went to some meetings, started learning what I was doing wrong, did a
little rewrite, and sent that baby out again.)

Next rejection, please, one step up.

Dear Ms. Dillon,

Thank you for thinking of GettingBetter publishing, but at this time your story, Love at Last,
does not fit our needs.  Best of luck placing it with another house.

Assistant Editor, April Noname

(This is better. I have a name now, my story is listed by titled, and an actually editor signed the

Another step up. Lots of hard work later. Ah, the glory of it all. (Smile)  

Dear Ms. Dillon,

I enjoyed reading Love Again, and find you have an impressive writing style, but I'm sorry to
inform you that we can not accept your story at this time. Although you have strong
characterization skills, and a powerful use of description, too much narrative slows your
overall pace throughout the story.  If you have any other manuscripts available, I would be
happy to consider them.

All the best,
Senior Editor, Pattie Loveme

This is why you should send out something and get to work on your next story. If you get the
above letter, you'll be able to jump on the chance while you have the editor's attention.)

Above all, don't let any number or kind of rejections make you give up if you love to write.

                                 Charlotte Dillon  ~
Copyrighted 2002 by Charlotte Dillon
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