You’ve poured out your heart and soul, spending weeks, months, in some cases years to complete that short story, non-fiction piece or novel; the poem that was written on one lovely afternoon has been revised to perfection; you’ve done your research and found the perfect place to submit; after several rewrites, a professional edit, and a polished query, off it all goes into the ether, awaiting its fate.
Time passes and one day an answer arrives; you rip open the envelope or click on that email and see these words: “we regret that we have decided not to publish your work at this time…” The letter continues on describing the large number of submissions they receive, how they can only publish a small percentage, and concludes with wishing you luck in placing your work elsewhere. You’re left to nurse your wounds, wondering what was so wrong with your work and if you will ever write again.
Once the mourning period is over, you will write again. Rejection is part of the writing process. Publishing is a competitive industry and for every one acceptance there are a hundred rejections in its wake. Rejections are inevitable – the question is, how will you handle them? Will you let them defeat you? Or will you learn from them? Some letters will provide suggestions as to how to revise your work or offer a small critique – take this advice and apply it to your work. Most responses are a generic letter thanking you for your submission, with no helpful comments – you are now free to send it somewhere else and see what happens. If a particular piece is always being rejected, perhaps it’s time to give it back to your first reader, or share it with a writing group for some new feedback and amendments.
Don’t stop writing or give up on your babies; there are many potential homes for your work, and with a lot of patience and persistence, they will find a place to call home.