Monday, May 18, 2015

10 Reasons Why You can Cope with Rejection

No doubt about it, rejections suck the wind out of your sails. The space around you becomes void of sound, pressure builds in your ears, your head pounds. If you're a writer, (I'm guessing you wouldn't be here if you weren't) it's almost impossible not to receive a literary rejection at one point in your career. You change publishers only to reel from the sting of rejection. Or you write something outside your norm and are instantly rebuffed. If you market your work, rejections are inevitable, regardless of who you are or how many times you've been published.

But even though they can leave you devastated, what you do next speaks volumes about your character.

Here are a few famous authors who let the strength of their character speak loudly:

1.  John Grisham's A Time to Kill - rejected 28 times.

2.  Hermann Melville's Moby Dick - labelled as being old-fashioned.

3.  Hemingway's - The Sun Also Rises, was found to be tedious. He went on to make his prose such that when readers read his work, it took their breath away.

4.  J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - rejected 12 times.

5.  Joseph Heller renamed his book Catch-22 after 22 rejections.

6.  Stephen King was told that his negative utopia Carrie would never sell.

7.  Life of Pi by Yann Martel - rejected 5 times - won The Man Booker Prize.

8.  William Golding's Lord of the Flies - rejected for being boring.

9.  Little Women, author Louisa May Alcott - advised to stick to teaching.

10. Audrey Niffenegger - 25 rejections for The Time Traveler's Wife - sold 7 million copies.

There are many more, but the thing to note is that these authors had something very important in common. Tenacity. They wrote a novel, spent endless hours polishing it, and when faced with rejection, chose to keep marketing.

Here at IWSG we want you to embrace rejections as part of a writer's life. They do not measure your worth or your ability. They are given by ordinary people like you and me, their opinions based on factors and biases we can't control. When faced with rejection, take however long to recuperate, then take you and your strong character back to the keyboard.

Happy Writing

       who received enough rejections for Dead Witness to wallpaper her ensuite.


  1. Rejection always stings but we must persevere as so many have done before us. Success might just be around the next corner.

  2. Seven million copies? I don't think Niffenegger cares about those rejections now.

  3. It always amazing me how many times best selling and amazing books were rejected. You wonder about the people who said no and if they regret it. But mostly, I'm glad those writers didn't give up.

  4. While it's sometimes tempting to give up writing, I don't believe a 'real' writer ever can. The drive and passion to craft words into stories keeps one going. Giving up on submitting and/or promoting the writing is altogether different, and much too easy! LOL.

  5. That is a very encouraging group of statistics. Thanks!

  6. What an eye opener!
    Thanks for sharing, Joylene!

  7. I'm tired of those stings. I want Stephen King fame NOW!

    Someday, perhaps :)

  8. Great post and comments. Dolorah, I feel your sting. My favorite quote that I kept very close to my laptop as the rejection letters poured in was:

    Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
    Thomas Edison

    Stephen King didn't give up. That's why he's Stephen King. Hugs!

  9. Melville was quite a failure as a writer during his lifetime. I love The Time Traveler's Wife. It's beautifully written. I'm glad it was published eventually, but stuff such as 50 Shades of Grey gets published, too. I admit I haven't read Shades, but many friends have told me it is poorly written and doesn't seem to be edited at all.


  10. Great post, Joylene! I loved the bit about papering your ensuite with your rejection slips. Ha ha. Brilliant. Good on you for your tenacity :-)

  11. Goes to show we just have to keep trying

  12. How could anyone think the Lord of the Flies was boring. Thanks for sharing some numbers for this pep talk.

  13. Wow! I'm glad those authors didn't give up.

  14. This is inspiring, Joylene! Rejection is painful, but you have to surmount it, if you want to achieve your writing dreams.

  15. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. Happy Writing.

  16. That's so true, not only for authors, but others who were told they weren't good enough or not to do something. Personally, if I get rejected or told I'm not good enough at one thing, it only makes me want to prove them wrong. I've yet to send any of my work in, so I haven't had to deal with rejection in that aspect. It's so much better to use it as motivation to become successful.

  17. Hi Joylene .. rejection is only someone else's opinion - and could well be nothing to do with the book itself - as shown here ...

    Good luck to one and all - cheers Hilary

  18. Making my way around on the A to Z Road trip! Stopping by to say hello and I hope to see you again next year, if not sooner!


  19. Rejection is like owning a house and having to clean the toilets. The price you pay for loving the art of writing. Thanks, everyone.

  20. Rejection is easier to take if you have someone to talk to. I want to talk but makes me feel selfish. Tried again today. This one is number 14