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Thread: rejection letters

  1. #1

    rejection letters

    (not sure if this is in right section, but I'm new so don't tell me off too much if it's not lol)

    Anyway, if you have had any in the past, what was your first rejection letter like and how did you feel about it?
    I got my first when I was around ten. My mum and I sent some poetry off to an agency or publishing house...(it was something like Big Foot publishing...something along those lines) and the agent who wrote back was named Rosemary Canter. She was very pleasant and told me to send more work when I was older.
    I still treasure that letter, even now. I agree with something I read somewhere that J.K Rowling said. She expressed how even her first rejection letter made her feel like a proper writer. It still makes me feel like that to this day!

    However, I also understand how it can become very wearing and make a writer feel jaded after receiving rejection after rejection.

    Did you feel pleased that you had at least got some sort of reply from a publisher when that first rejection letter landed on the doormat? Or did it make you feel as though you failed?

    And for those members who still have not received a rejection letter, how do you imagine it might make you feel if you get one?

    Just interested to know

  2. #2
    For me, rejection letters have been entirely impersonal and formulaic. And, rightfully so...for the most part. I can only imagine the submission desk, piled with thousands of hopefuls. Wading through that must be a nightmare. I once sent a story off for consideration. The letter traveled most of the width of the country. Three days from the time I sent it, I had a rejection letter (more of a slip) in the mail. I was pretty much "Sorry, but your peice (fill in the blank) does not meet our current needs" or some such. I doubt they even read it.

    Stephen King, in his craft memoir "On Writing" talked extensively about the matter. He hung the letters on his wall with a tack for motivation. The tack became a nail, and the nail a railroad spike. For giggles, after he was famous, he dug up an old short story that was rejected in a particular nasty rejection letter. In finding a copy of that pititful excuse for a narrative, he shipped it off to the very no-name rag-mag that rejected him those many years ago. They were elated to put the story in their publication immediately that cycle with his name plastered across the cover.

  3. #3
    I'd love to read that book, I may have to buy it soon. I think perhaps my last letter was so gentle was due to my age...perhaps they thought sending a blunt rejection letter to a ten year old wasn't quite fair!

  4. #4
    Believe it or not, I've actually read many, many books and shorter works on the craft of writing. Stephen King's "On Writing" is by far the best. He addresses the very things that we concern ourselves with and discuss here on these forums. The memoir parts are quite amusing, but his discussion throughout concerns getting published, grammar, rejection letters, agents, dialogue, adverb usage, style, voice, marketing, and numerous other things I'm forgetting. I recommend to everyone on here to read this before they even pick up their next fantasy novel.

    If you want to be a writer, write. But do other things study the craft. Reading this book is one way to do that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member TWErvin2's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    I've gotten plenty of rejection letters. Most of those were form rejections, although sometimes the wording can disguise it some.

    Rejection is part of being a writer and submitting your work for publication. You either develop skin that allows you to let it drip off of you like water on wax paper or you can get caught up on the frustration and wondering why they didn't accept it. Always remember, they're passing on (or rejecting) the piece, not you as a person or even as a writer.

    Rejections can come for more reasons than the work wasn't up to the market's standard. Maybe they are just full (have all the slots for the current and next issue filled). Maybe they just accepted a story similar to yours. Maybe it was good, but just didn't fit the market exactly--editors didn't feel it would meet their reader's expectations. Maybe the queue or desk was just too full to deal with and form rejected without even looking.

    Often you'll never know. When you do get a personal note as to why, maybe it'll give you insight for modifying the story before sending to the next market. But maybe it's not good advice for the next market on the submission list. The writer has to decide.

    Age should have little to do with the decision (or how they treat you). They would have no clue as to your age unless you tell the market.

    Whatever you do, don't give up. The story I listed in the NOvels and Stories section that I had published recently took a while and many efforts to find a home. It even was accepted by a very good paying market--than ended up closing before publishing it, and it got released. So I went to the next one, and they thought it was a great story. Before all that "Accelerated Justice" got several form rejections.

    And after you write, edit/revise, research a market and submit a story, don't wait around. Start working on writing the next story.

    But, back to the original question. The first rejection? I was disappointed but just sent out the story again, and again, and it found a home eventually. I think the more you write and submit and find rejections in the mail or the email inbox, the easier they are to move past and continue forward.

  6. #6
    I've gotten exactly three rejection letters, after sending out exactly four queries. (The fourth has been silent long enough to consider a rejection.) And to be very, very honest, I find every last one difficult to get over. It took me months to write that query, and I've polished every line of those first few pages of my novel to as near perfection as I can get. So I look at each kindly-worded rejection letter and think "All that hard work, and it's STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH."

    And then I remind myself that agents are stretched to the limit of how many clients they can handle... and that I discovered after submitting to one that she already had a client with a similar writing style... and that just because someone says they take fantasy doesn't mean they want to read about a world in which London and New York do not currently exist, so maybe some of those others just didn't want my kind of fantasy. And I think of the lovely things that my critique partner--who had no trouble ripping early drafts of my query letter to shreds--said about my little tale. There's always a way to stay positive.

  7. #7
    Moderator Telcontar's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Michigan, USA
    Ah, rejection letters. I'm building a tidy little collection. My first one(s), though, were from submitting a short story to various magazines. I got one or two that didn't seem like form letters - one actually stated that it was not, it was from one of the subeditors asking me to submit again in three months for their next issue (it was rejected from that one, too). The story was never accepted, though I got bored with submitting it after twenty or so. Every now and again I give it another try.

    I'm also now collecting literary agent rejections for my first novel.
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  8. #8
    I wish I could remember the author’s name, but he is well published now and used to use his rejection letters as wall paper in his study. I thought that was a good motivator to stick it to the man.
    A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.
    --Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kaellpae's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I look forward to my first rejection letters. And of course my first acceptance.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaellpae View Post
    I look forward to my first rejection letters. And of course my first acceptance.
    Well, keep us posted. AND...start sending your stuff!

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