By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about getting rejected.
As authors, we open our hearts and pens to share stories. Some we dream up and craft into clever and courageous novels. In others, we talk of real life experiences in either a memoir or a how-to book so we can share the knowledge we’ve gained with others.
Sometimes, we choose to share a piece of our nostalgia with children everywhere by taking a song, poem or story that delights our own children and giving this gift to the world by sharing it through a beautifully illustrated book.
On occasion, we’ll include something out of the ordinary with a book like an audio recording, tickets to an event, or opportunities to subscribe to more of an author’s knowledge or upcoming projects.
Not every person who wants to be an author makes it. Many get rejected. Some get rejected over and over and over again.
As a result, some quit and lose their tenacity to stay in the game and keep pitching their project.
Others continue to take criticism and guidance, re-craft their project and then trot it out again to see if they got it right the next time.
And there are those won’t listen to the advice sometimes offered in a rejection and continue to take the same package to another person, hoping they’ll see the merit in their project and want to take it on.
It is a privilege to be a published author. Although there are hundreds of thousands of books published every year, there are hundreds of thousands more that have been denied and authors that have been disappointed and perhaps discouraged.
As an author, getting rejected may be a part of your publishing path. It’s not uncommon. Rejection is often a part of the process for many of us. Heck, even Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, the co-authors and co-creators of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® books and who were acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records for selling millions and millions of books, started by getting over 130 rejections before connecting with the publisher that would pick them and their book up.
The guest author on today’s show, Bertha M. Davis, got rejected nearly 100 times before taking on a publisher that wasn’t necessarily so well-known, but nonetheless would publish her. Who knew that Bertha’s book would go on to become a bestseller for her publisher? So many before Infinity, a print-on-demand publisher, had said no. Who could predict that Bertha and her book would be featured years later on C-SPAN’s Book TV? Not the agents, publishers or editors who told her “this is not for me” and “I can’t take this on.”
Ask yourself: Do you really want to work with someone who wants to reject you and who doesn’t feel good about your project? Not really. It’s not good to have to work with anyone who isn’t as crazy and gung ho about your project as you are. Although the truth is no one will ever be as dedicated to it as you are, you want someone who is passionate about your project and wants to see it published.
Take rejections for what they are:
1) An indication that perhaps something in your project is not ready to be published. If advice is offered, consider it because it is what is keeping that publisher or agent from taking it on. Weigh it properly and don’t let your ego get bruised by it. Heed the advice you feel is helpful.
2) A sign that you may not have the right format or you may need assistance with crafting your pitch. If you’re not sure why you got rejected and didn’t receive an explanation, consider having your package reviewed by an experienced consultant or editor.
3) Encouragement to test your fortitude, commitment and courage to stay the course with your project.
Authors are a wonderful mix of emotional strength, creative force and incredible transparency. They give us permission to see inside their hearts, minds and imaginations. Few are rewarded for revealing themselves.
Look at the rejection you received today as a stepping stone that will lead you to the rewards you seek tomorrow.