WRITERS AT WORK, Reality of Rejection(Part 4)

Hi everyone,

I’m adding my concluding thoughts on the subject of rejection. I heard plenty of comments about it during the NCTE conference that I can share with you.

Topic: The Reality of Rejection
Response 4: David
Date: November 23, 2010

So I’m attending a major convention. This morning I made a presentation about Word of the Month Poetry Challenge which, I think, was well received and might result in more teachers introducing their students to the project. Not ony that, I'm signing books at the Scholastic booth and last hour I signed books at the Boyds Mills Press booth. In both places, I greeted many old friends and met a number of new ones. When I finish here, I’ll attend the Authors Luncheon and sit around a table of teachers, each of whom will receive a copy of my latest book. They will ask me to sign their books and I’ll do it with pleasure. It’s hard not to feel good about this day. Until

I check my e-mail just prior to the luncheon. And there I find

a r-e-j-e-c-t-i-o-n.

And I am bummed.

Never mind how grown up we all try to be about having our work turned down, it still stings when someone says, “Not for us.” As Sandy says, we gradually reach a point where we take these rejections in stride as being part of the job. Maybe our sulk time shortens and the hysterics diminish. But come on, I’m having a Rejection Moment here. How about a moment of silence?

Okay, I’m back.

Today I visited with several other writers, among them some of the brightest and best. And guess what? One of them just got turned down twice; same for another. Others mention how hard it has been lately for them to get approval for new projects. These are STARS for Pete’s sake. I also talked with editors and they, too, lament how difficult it can be these days to get a book accepted. I mentioned earlier in my conversation with Sandy that I developed a habit years ago to keep a list of potential publishers for every new manuscript so that I could get a rejected manuscript back in circulation as soon as possible after it came back. The tactic still works. We’ve talked about dealing with rejection before the fact and how to handle it after it happens. Here’s my executive summary.

1. Write something.
2. Polish it until you can’t read it without sunglasses.
3. Study the market.
4. Make a list of potential publishers.
5. Submit to the one at the top of the list.
6. Remind yourself that there is a strong chance you’ll be rejected.
7. Be prepared to hold the briefest pity part possible before going to #2 on your list.
8. See #7.
9. See #7.
10. See #7.
11. If you sell something, bask in the glow, but don’t get used to the idea that you are now invincible.
12. See #7

Sorry to be so spotty lately with my posting. Once I’m home again it won’t take long to get back on schedule.