Rejection is an uncomfortable familiarity to the aspiring author and at some point, you may find yourself staring down the smoking barrel of a dismissive letter.
“I’ve poured my soul into this, why does it feel like nobody is listening?”
You’ll ask. Everyone does.
From the bottom of my heart, I sympathize with you. The fact of the matter is that agent and publisher rejection are normal for all artists of the written word. A relentless veto of one's manuscript is typically the most common reason a writer loses their flame. It can be truly exhausting to be told over and again that you aren’t good enough. As it turns out, there can be a slew of motives for a plausible benefactor to turn you down for publication. Today I’d like to discuss the most common reasons your work has been rejected by either an agent or a publisher and offer some solutions for this communal barrier.
SOMETIMES IT’S YOUR FAULT
This may be difficult to hear and not everyone is open to the suggestion. It is quite possible that you, yourself could be the issue. The wisest thing an author can do regardless of your rejection rate is to look inward and be honest with yourself. A good practice is to ask yourself,
“How does my book compare to other writers at my level of experience? Is it well-written? Is the text fluid? If I were reading this for the first time, would I want to keep going?”
A publisher may reject your manuscript for various reasons, some of which may not be listed here but prime cases for denial may include; Your book is too long. Your book is too short. Your story is unable to keep a reader's attention for an extended amount of time. Your word choice is too unusual. Your book is missing key elements that make a story good. The list goes on.
Occasionally it boils down to something simple. If you didn’t do a preliminary revision your book will appear to be low effort and unpolished. If you don’t have an agent, A larger house surely won’t take you. Rejection is a palpable likelihood. Discreetly, if you think that any of this describes you, I encourage you to read this article that I recently posted. Landing Your First Book Deal. It details several strategies to overcome the hurdles of getting your book deal.
SOMETIMES IT ISN’T
On the other hand, if you feel that you’ve done all you can to make sure that your story is sufficiently captivating and that you’ve edited your manuscript to perfection, understand that rejection doesn’t only occur to writers who aren’t being true to their potential. Actually, this happens all the time. The effect is more prevalently observed in mid-tier publishing houses and below. You’ve written a fantastic story but the publisher's budget for the season is tied up with other contracts. It could also be a case where you’ve submitted a book that falls outside of the publisher's usual genre. It’s difficult to do a risk analysis for a market that you haven’t studied so publishers will often pass on books that don’t fall within their competency. Additionally, you may have written a bestseller and the publisher for whatever reason refuses to see the marketable potential. You have to be careful about that last one though. Now and then folks will get a big head. (We all know one of these people. If you don’t, that may be a sign…)
REMEMBER TO ENDURE
If you want to be a professional storyteller then you’re going to have to get comfortable with suffering for your work. You will be left in the cold frequently. You will weather all manner of criticism from every direction. Friends, family, publishers, agents, and strangers will all tell you what’s wrong with what you’ve written.
You could bend and break. You could yield and give up. Go home and curl up with a good book written by someone more patient than you. You could. But you shouldn’t. In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche wrote about a person described as being carved from an integral block; hard, sweet, as well as fragrant. He goes on to say that this individual “divines remedies for injuries, he knows how to turn serious accidents to his own advantage; that which does not kill him makes him stronger.” This is the passage from which we take the ever-present phrase of the same wording. It can be found in the best interest of every author to channel this individual internally. When you feel the sting of rejection, you must not succumb to it. Rather gladly accept it and let it mold you. You may burn a bit but you’ll build on what’s left of you. Like a forest, you will be strong in time.
I implore you not to surrender. You will ultimately have your moment, I promise. But first, you’ve got to make it there. I, for one, am certainly not above taking another look at a manuscript I previously rejected. If you happen to be looking for a publisher then please be sure to check out our website to decide if Huntsville Independent Publishing is right for you. I would love to hear your stories and the honor of circulating your book is not one we take for granted. I can’t tell you how much it means that you have spent your valuable time here with us today. If you enjoyed this article or know someone who may be struggling with the process of publication please share it with them. Together we can lift them up and encourage them to be a part of A Library Made of Dreams. Join us here next Sunday for another insightful piece. As always thank you for reading. Have a positive and productive week!
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