Nobody likes the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you open a letter or email informing you that the story you worked on day and night for the last month is not what the editor is “looking for”. Or worse yet, you receive the all-too-common form letter or simple “it just didn’t work for me.”
Many would speculate that it is some conspiracy of the Postal Service or Internet to keep business churning by paying off editors to turn away anyone who’s last name doesn’t begin with a ‘K’. Maybe the editor was a complete idiot who didn’t realize your genius at first glance. Maybe it was crap. (That’s where editing comes into play). The human factor in getting your story published is a big one. The editor could have marital problems one morning, spill boiling coffee on herself on the way to the office where she is bombarded by stacks of stories – in between which is your gem. Let’s hope her mood improves before she reaches your neck of the pile.
Blankety-blank happens. The only antidote for rejection is perserverance. Like selling a car, getting a part in a play, or anything else; the more you send a story out, the higher the chance it will have in getting published. *** I want to note that you damn well better make sure it is in tip-top shape before sending it out. (See last week’s blog.)
And in keeping with that old saying about misery, here’s some examples to hopefully keep you going.
1. Stephen King’s manuscript for Carrie was rejected twelve times.
2. Ray Bradbury was continuously rejected until he began to sell one story a year. Then two. And it doubled every year after that.
3. Theodore Geisel – His first book was rejected 28 TIMES before being published by Random House. The book was “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street”. You may know him better as Dr. Seuss.
I myself have recently received the quickest rejection in my own experience, although I don’t believe the Guiness people would be willing to call it a world record. But who knows. I sent the story in on Friday evening and received the rejection at 7:25 Saturday morning. And you know what I did? I sent it right back out.
Rejection blows and it’s part of the game of writing. Get used to it. I want to give you several groups of three words that I would like you to memorize, keep in your heart and put on a sticky note below your shower head. Pick whatever one works best for you
Don’t Give Up
Keep Moving Forward
Send It Again
Who’s Dr. Seuss?
– Sean Grigsby