This month on the November O’Malley blog, we’re discussing Self-Care for writers, taking time to be kind to yourself and keeping yourself in writin’, fightin’ shape. Last week we talked about keeping yourself sane when your writing is being read by strangers, this week, it’s what happens when strangers don’t like the thing.
Rejection letters suck. They’re disheartening, dehumanizing, and they make you feel like poopy. Right?
Rejection letters are awesome. They’re super cool, they’re awesome, they’re the best thing that can happen to a writer.
And I know. You’re wondering which deep end I’ve jumped off of this week. But hear me out:
1. They Prevent You From Ending Up With the Wrong Publisher
“A Wrinkle in Time was almost never published. You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it.Madeline L’Engle
Think of it like a bad date. Yeah, it’s sad that things didn’t work out, but it’s good that you figured that part out early, right?
Ending up with the wrong publisher can mean your manuscript is edited badly, handled badly, and marketed badly. Wouldn’t you rather be published by a house that knows how to make your work truly shine?
It’s honestly so much better this way.
2. More Fish In the Sea
“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”Sylvia Plath
According to Wikipedia, there are precisely a lot of publishers out there (and that’s only the data I can get on English-language ones!) The Manuscript Wish List lists hundreds, if not thousands of Agents and Editors all across the world. And did you ever see those Writer’s Market books? They’re massive chunks of tree crawling with teeny-tiny print with every publisher, editor, contest, and agent known to man (or at least those who could afford to get in.)
There are so many different people making books these days, and one of them is going to be perfect for you.
3. It Gives You A Second Chance
“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”Ray Bradbury
Maybe it is you. Maybe there’s something not quite right about your manuscript or your voice or maybe it’s just not marketable. It happens, and that’s okay.
But imagine if you did get picked up by some small press that didn’t know what they were doing. It’s edited on a shoestring budget (read: run through a spell checker and then they call it a day), printed off-center in an ugly font, shared maybe ONCE on their social media pages, and only distributed to the last Borders Books in the universe.
How awful would THAT be for you and your book?
So take this chance you’ve been given to edit, revise, change. Because sometimes getting published is actually the worst thing that can happen.
4. Win or Lose, YOU DID THE THING
“Rejections slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.”Isaac Asimov
You’ve taken your first steps towards being a real, actual professional writer. You’ve done it. You’ve taken the big leap that countless others have been afraid to.