Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Rejection…How to deal

by Robert J. Daniher

As we approach yet another Valentine’s Day with many couples canoodling in secluded corners, there are still others who are without a sweetheart to share it with. So what better writing topic to discuss than rejection. This is something everyone is familiar with -- especially writers. But everyone may not know the best way of dealing with it. The good news is that rejection can be one of the best tools to become a better writer. The first thing to remember is that editors reject submission for many reasons and not always because your writing stinks. It could be that your story or novel doesn’t fit what they were looking for or perhaps they already bought something similar and don’t need another. What’s important is to not be discouraged by it. Keep writing and keep submitting. I once had a conversation with Elizabeth Zelvin, author of “Death Will Keep You Sober”. She is a two time Agatha Award nominee who is also no stranger to rejection. When she asked me how many submission I’d sent out over the last several years, I sheepishly replied, “about 20 or 30.” She enthusiastically said, “Oh, you must send out hundreds and not be discouraged by the rejections. Just move onto another market and if you’re lucky you’ll get a rave rejection.” [Note: The rave rejection, although rare, is when an editor actually compliments your rejected submission explaining why it wasn’t selected. These moments are very helpful learning experiences.] Of course Ms. Zelvin also encouraged me to polish my work and make sure I was sending out my best. But the point is that rejection is part of the writing game and, unlike the dating scene, rejection in the writing world isn’t always personal.

Note from the BHPL bloggers: thanks, as always, to our blog contributor, New Jersey author Robert Daniher.  Happy Valentine's Day!

1 comment:

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Thanks for quoting me, Bob, and ain't it the truth. Sometimes I think the rejections are never about the writing, especially once you've reached the publishable level. I find I'm still learning more about my craft with each manuscript and each revision--but the rejections are about sales, not about the quality of the work.