1. Rejection Sucks.
There are few things in life that are comparable to spending months, even years churning out a novel only to see it repeatedly rejected by an array of agents and publishers. There have been times where this hasn't phased me in the least, where I've just shrugged and carried on regardless, but there have been other times where I've been left feeling so crestfallen that it has affected my mood for days. But though I've felt down at times, I've never given up, never stopped writing, and never stopped believing in the worthiness of my characters and my project. So if you're reading this and you're either writing a novel or about to start work on one you have to prepare yourself for being rejected, and to at times feeling really horrible about it. It's all part of the game unfortunately. But what matters in the end is that you pick up the proverbial pen, keep on churning out the pages, and never ever give-up.
2. Rejection Happens To Everyone
Everyone gets rejected. Just because an agent and/or publisher turns you down doesn't mean that your novel is rubbish. They might not have read it for starters, or they may have given it only the most passing of glances, or they may feel that your novel is not the right fit for them. But whatever the reason it's important not to think too deeply about it, especially since agents and publishers rarely, if ever, give you any kind of detailed response for you to consider. All you can do is keep plugging away with your writing and reading - and in the process make your project as good and as professional as it can be - whilst simultaneously sending it off to other would-be agents and publishers. Besides, it does you good to remember that J.K Rowling, George Orwell, Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, C.S Lewis, Dan Browne, Vladamir Nabokov, Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame, William Golding, Jack Kerouac, and Frank Herbert, to name but a few were all rejected many times by agents and publishers alike. So if your book is rejected, just remember that you're in hallowed company. If they were wrong about Stephen King et al they could be wrong about you too ...
3. Rejection Is Never As Bad As You Think
As strange as it may seem you can at times take a lot of solace out of rejections. As I said earlier, agents and publishers rarely send out detailed responses, so if you do receive personal replies from the editor and/or agent it's good for you to remember that you've done well enough to bypass the 'reader', even if you have fallen at the second stage. Since most agents and publishers receive anywhere from 50 - 100+ manuscripts each week it means that yours has finished top of the pile. You're in the ballpark so to speak - since the 'reader' has seen enough quality and promise to pass it onto their boss - if not exactly hitting a home run. When I first started to get these rejection slips I took it quite badly, both because of their non-standard personal replies - their comments always seemed to find bone somehow- and because I realised just how tantalisingly close I'd come to being asked to submit the full manuscript. But these days I try to focus on the positives, namely that my two books have passed through the 'reader's hands and into those of the agent on 7 or 8 occasions. I'm clearly in the proverbial ballpark and like any big hitter I'm going to keep on practicing my swing until I hit that home run. I'm not going to give up and neither should you.
4. Opportunity Knocks
One of the best things that has come out of having my novel, Jack Strong and the Red Giant rejected is that it has given me the opportunity to re-visit the original manuscript and to see if I can improve it in some way. It turns out that I can. I'm currently on the second read through on my kindle and so far I have highlighted almost 600+ areas that can either be deleted or improved upon. Whilst it's true that these changes are all relatively minor, ranging from punctuation issues, some slight word changes, to the occasional pruning of the text, I believe that it will ultimately make my book both a better, smoother read, and a more realistic prospect for any would-be agent and/or publisher. I'm a confident writer with a lot of belief in my work, but I'm not a vain-glorious one. I make mistakes. But I also possess the drive, courage, and honesty to take another look at my work, and to engage in some minor re-decorations where necessary. And you should too. Don't be afraid in the event of rejection, to give your novel another edit or else pass it onto a trusted friend to have a look at. It will be all the better for it. Besides, after you've given it a few snips and plugged a few holes in the plot you can always send it back out to the agents and publishers, only this time it will have a better chance of success than before.
Keep on swinging, the home run beckons ...
If you want to read my novel, Jack Strong and the Red Giant, about a bullied, 12 year old boy's adventures in space please check out the link below: