Dealing with Rejection

I am sure there must be at least a few writers who’ve never been rejected, but I’m equally sure they’re the exceptions that prove the rule. It’s part of being a writer. If you don’t submit your work, it can’t be rejected; but if you don’t submit your work, it can’t be accepted, either. It’s important to remember that even when you’re feeling especially crushed.

Every submission is a risk, even if it seems that your story is absolutely perfect for the editor you’ve chosen. Even if that editor likes your story and wants to buy it, they might have to reject you anyway, because they’ve already spent all their money, or they’ve already filled the anthology, or someone higher up at the publisher hates your prose style. Even if your story or novel is accepted, all sorts of things out of your control can happen and the story will never see print.

I think the best way to deal with rejection, after the screaming and crying, is to keep those things in mind. And then to go do something else. Preferably send out your submission again; but you’re allowed to spend a week watching The Muppet Show in your pajamas, first.

And always keep new projects in the works, ready to get you excited about writing again.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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8 Responses to Dealing with Rejection

  1. maddybarone says:

    Sometimes rejections can be so hard, especially when it feels personal. Your advice is right on. The rejection isn't personal; it's business. Keep working and writing and submitting. If Stephen King had given up after his first 10 rejections we wouldn't know who is is today.

  2. Victoria Janssen says:

    Even famous writers get rejected every once in a while!

  3. Jeannie Lin says:

    I cast an evil eye upon writers who have never been rejected. "Oh, congratulations!" *bats evil eye*

    It's my one pettiness. I'm a bad person in this respect.

  4. Victoria Janssen says:


  5. Shelley Munro says:

    I have a plan A, B, C and sometimes D for all my submissions. It helps knowing I already have a strategy in place. After the chocolate and glass of wine I'm back in business again.

  6. Victoria Janssen says:

    I like that planning ahead idea, Shelley.

  7. Cara Bristol says:

    Sometimes rejection is a good thing…I once submitted a short story to a small magazine that paid $100. (I'd actually written it with the magazine in mind). Meanwhile, after urgings from my critique group, I sent it a major women's magazine. The small magazine rejected it…the major magazine bought it for $2,000. Thank goodness I was rejected!

  8. Victoria Janssen says:

    Cara, may we all have such rejections!!!

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