Check Yourself

Sending your work out on submission is hard. So is rejection. I suspect that many of us can handle rejection alright. I mean, it’s not fun. (Although we can get together and try to have a little fun with it!) But we know, there are so many obstacles we must be able to get over to hear a yes. Not only is this is a subjective business, we need to connect our work with the right person at the right time. There is much more to an acceptance than an agent or editor seeing something is well written or even simply liking a piece.

Make no mistake about it, if you are working toward publication you are going to rack up those rejections. That’s just a fact. We can all have our down moments about it. It can be hard to get rejection after rejection. I like to try to look at rejections as a positive. They mean we are getting your work out there. They mean we are working toward our goal of publication. That doesn’t mean rejections don’t sting sometimes. But there are ways to deal with it and ways not to. If you are feeling angry or hurt it’s good to check yourself.


  • Post your rejections online. Would you like your query posted online without your permission? It is a personal business letter you wrote to one specific person. It would be wrong of an agent or editor to post it online without your expressed permission. A rejection letter, form or not, is a letter from an agent or editor to you. They have not given you permission to publish their word. Don’t do it.
  • Complain about your rejections online. Not only should you not post your rejections. Don’t complain about them where they can be found online. Do you want to be Googled by an agent and have them find you complaining about other agents who have passed on your work?
  • Do not ever post mean comments about agents or editors you queried, pitched, or otherwise met or heard speak. Why would you do this? Agents and editors are people doing a job the best they can.

Basically, don’t post about your rejections online! I think pretty much everyone knows that. It certainly won’t make a good impression if an agent or editor is interested in your work and decides to see what you’ve been up to on the interwebs. You might just cause yourself an instant pass. For a very specific look at an extreme case of what I’m talking about, take a look at this post: How to get Yourself Blacklisted. I’ve seen a few sites where writers have posted their rejections online. I don’t know what they’re thinking. They certainly don’t have their own best interests in mind.

There are much better ways to deal with rejection!


  • Realize that it is okay to have some bad feelings. It’s totally normal to feel bad about a rejection. Give yourself time for feelings if you need them, but don’t dwell on feeling bad for too long. Move on to something positive, whether it is sending out a new query, going out with a good friend, or… (you fill in the blank with something good!)
  • Remember that this is a small industry you are working in, no matter how big it might feel. Editors and agents know each other. They move around to different houses. They talk. Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want other agents, editors, writers, and/or illustrators to hear about.
  • Find at least one person that you can vent to safely. This means not venting in a public place online where it can be internet searched, as I am certain you have already gathered. There are so many of us writers and illustrators experiencing rejection. We get it. I bet you have a family member or friend who will get it to. There is someone, somewhere to listen if you need to talk. You can certainly to start a conversation in our Sub It Club group about rejection. There are plenty of us in there who will commiserate with you.
  • Be nice to yourself. Find something that makes you happy!
  • All in all, find a way to deal with it that does not hurt others or yourself!

Share with us in the comments your suggestions on dealing with rejection. Of course, music can help. Here ya go:

4 thoughts on “Check Yourself

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  1. Thank you for this post. I read How to Get Yourself Blacklisted earlier today. At first, he made me mad, then I felt sad. He completely missed and opportunity to grow from this experience. I’ve learned that detaching myself from my writing is the best way to deal with rejection. Starting out, I felt about my writing felt much as I felt about my children –that they were a reflection of me, and as long as I kept that perspective, I felt hurt and frustrated. Now my writing isn’t me but an extension of me, a product of my imagination and like a child, it is its own thing. The natural process dictates that it grows and changes, and that growth requires growing pains. Once this shift occurred in my brain, my feelings about rejection also shifted. I’m definitely a better writer because of it, and a better human being. And that is quite an epiphany for one who has never been the kind to find the glass half full in life. If that’s all I ever gain from subbing, I say ‘thanks for the nugget.’


  2. I read then re-read the misogynist rant and the posts associated with his post. It made me very angry on several levels and then left me shaking my head in wonderment. Does this fool think going public in such a horrific manner will help his career? Certainly he will learn nothing from this experience. I picture him sitting behind his monitor somewhere grinning ear-to-ear at the uproar he’s created. He probably believes he’s entirely in the right and all his critics are but stooges to an unfair system. So pathetic.

    I view the querying process as something of a job hunt. If I were seeking a job in say the high-tech industry, I wouldn’t go online and publicly diss the industry. I certainly wouldn’t attempt to shame the HR director who failed to hire me for a position. Nor would I make reference to the interviewer’s appearance, manners or behavior. If I were rejected for a coveted position, I would look at myself and how I presented by credentials, not at the company with whom I hoped to one day work.

    The road to being successfully published is filled with obstacles, some of which feel unfair and unjust at times. But it’s a process laid out long ago and unlikely to change any time soon. If you hope to achieve success, you must learn and follow the rules. The first rule is to behave professionally. Too bad this guy hasn’t adopted this essential rule.


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