Writing is one of the most volatile industries in the world. Authors face rejection on a regular basis and that can be one of the hardest challenges to overcome. As a fiction writer, I’ve been rejected far more than I’ve been published. The act of creating something and having it turned down repeatedly is discouraging. But getting rejected can actually be one of the most motivating situations to experience. Here are my thoughts on writing rejection and how to overcome it.
Give yourself credit
I’ll start off by saying that completing a story is an accomplishment. Being able to finish something that you’ve created from your imagination is amazing and you should give yourself credit for it. If you’re someone who struggles to complete a story then think of it as a first draft. It doesn’t have to be good or bad. All you need to do is get to the end and then you can go back and edit it as much as you want.
After finishing the story, you might be feeling confident about your chances of getting published. You send it to a magazine, only to receive the dreaded rejection email. It’s natural to feel disappointed. But don’t forget about the pride of finishing a story or the bravery that it took to send the story in the first place.
Look for the positives
When it comes to rejection, I focus on the positive aspects and remember that writing is subjective. What doesn’t work for one publisher could be great for another. I remind myself that I had the drive to put myself out there and that I can do it again. There’s the motivation of wanting to move on to the next publisher.
Another way to deal with rejection is to see what kind of advice the publisher has offered. A lot of publishers are open to giving feedback and that could help you with getting a story featured somewhere else.
For example, I wrote a novelette called Shadows At Dawn and the first publisher I spoke to didn’t think it was a good fit. But he did make suggestions of what could be changed. After making the edits, I sent it to Aurelia Leo Publishing and they published it in an anthology. Shadows At Dawn became the first story that I got featured in print. The motivation of being rejected pushed me to try again.
Having self-belief is one of the best methods for coping with rejection. If you believe that your writing deserves to be published there’s a good chance that it will happen. For everything that does get published, remind yourself that you’ll be able to do it again.
Knowing about publishers that fit with your genre is helpful as well. Two websites that are brilliant for fantasy authors are Dark Markets and The Horror Tree. Both are updated regularly with publishing calls from magazines, zines and anthologies. The majority of my work has been published through using resource sites like Dark Markets.
Here are some of my published works:
A weird western that follows a witch hunter called Rueben McNab. Trapped between love and duty, Rueben needs to decide what is most important to him.
A young man finds himself asking for advice from the ghost of his father.
When Femi Henderson goes on a camping trip with his boyfriend, Shay, he’s ready to party and escape his demons. They aren’t letting him go. Something’s lurking in Windsor Great Park and it won’t stop hunting Femi until he faces the ghouls of his past.
A war veteran finds himself confronted with a woman he thought he’d never seen again. Music and memories come together in a snapshot of modern day Manchester.
A poem that focuses on the marriage between the Norse gods Njord and Skadi.
A poem that showcases the vibrancy and magic of New Orleans.
Whether you’re writing a short story or comic, it’s important to remember that rejection is a normal part of the process. As long as you keep writing then you’re bound to be published. I’d love to hear about your rejection stories as well and any advice you have for dealing with it!