Writing Bootcamp is a blog series in which I invite fabulous authors to share with you (yes, you! assuming you are an inquisitive writer) their best bits of writerly advice. Today Holly Schindler talks about the good things about getting rejected.
Every writer faces rejection—at every stage of his or her career. And while it’s easy to focus merely on the “no,” the most important thing a writer can do is remind him or herself about all the wonderful things that a rejection actually implies and provides:
1). You have the guts to submit. I’ve heard writers described repeatedly as a shy bunch. Not so, I’d argue. It takes guts to put yourself on the page and to send that work—which feels so personal and private—out to be critiqued, possibly passed over for other work. If you’re submitting, you have courage—every bit as much as someone who gets up on a stage to perform. Period.
2). If you’re getting any kind of personal letter at all, it means that the editor or agent saw something quite positive and promising in your work. Keep at it.
3). If you submitted a book, rather than just a query, don’t simply concentrate on the fact that your book was passed over. Remind yourself that the book was read—which means that you’ve got a stand-out query! That in itself is quite an accomplishment. If one editor or agent found that query promising, another will, too. Believe that you’ll receive another request for the manuscript in full.
4). If you’ve received a rejection with a detailed critique and an invitation to resubmit, you’re lucky in many different ways. Sure, you’ve got an editor or agent who’s seriously interested and invested at this point. Just as importantly, though, you’ve not got the chance to test your revision skills.
Even after a book is acquired, it most often undergoes one or more rounds of revision—global revision, that is—before the copyedits start. And nothing prepared me for this process more than all the rounds of rejection and revision I endured before I sold my first book.
Rejection, in many ways, isn’t just a means to an end. It isn’t something a writer endures in order to finally snag that first yes. Rejection is itself a kind of college…and the lessons you learn during the rejection process will serve you, time and again, in your career as an author.
Holly Schindler is the author of YA novels A BLUE SO DARK & PLAYING HURT, as well as a middle grade novel, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. You can follow her on Twitter (@holly_schindler), Facebook, her lovely blog & hollyschindler.com for more info about her & her books!