For those of you dealing with the demon of literary Rejection right now, please follow the link to a nice, very concise article by Rachael Stanford by on the same. Once you have finished, follow the link at the bottom of the article to a fascinating article by Stephanie Ostroff about how nine famous authors (C.S. Lewis, Anne Frank, Rudyard Kipling, Jack Kerouac, H.G. Wells, Louisa May Alcott, George Orwell, Sylvia Plath, and William Golding) were rejected often hundreds of time, often quite rudely or in a demeaning fashion, yet persevered to become some of the world’s best known writers.
I like stories of rejection like these, because they remind me that not all publishers are as insightful as we writers hope they are. As with all other occupations, there are publishers who are better or worse at their jobs than others. Therefore, if one of my works is rejected, even numerous times, it does not mean that the work is necessarily a stinker. On the other hand, I must confess to have written at least a few stinkers, and therefore I cannot in all good conscience blame publishers for all my bad luck either.
For me, being honest with myself and critically looking at a work that has been rejected several times to determine whether I have honestly done my best with it or if it simply didn’t meet the publisher’s needs at the moment or if the publisher has sufficient I.Q. points to function reasonably well in human society is one of the hardest parts of writing (not writing rambling, run-on sentences like this one is another challenge).
Now I submit everything electronically. Twenty years ago, when I first started writing, I submitted everything by mail. I always kept a file of the rejection slips I collected, so I would always have a working list of who would be eating a heaping dish of crow when I became famous. In fact, for several years I used to pin them to a bulletin board so I could look at them and smirk now and then. I still keep my electronic rejections, though I still need to create a file for them, for the same reason.
I have yet to become famous and the list is still growing, but having all those rejections gives me something to which I can look forward. At least they serve a purpose, which they would not if I took them seriously and let them drag me down: they give me encouragement and they help me persevere by instilling a spirit to prevail.