Wednesday, December 22, 2010

If Santa came early, and brought you a rejection letter, read this

Laurie Halse Anderson knows a thing or two about rejection.

Read this.

Then do what she says.


Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Fabulous, indeed. I started a "Rejection Scrapbook" that I'm incredibly proud of...all the lessons learned there are badges of honor.

Colin said...

It comes to a point where you can gauge your progress as a writer by the rejections themselves.
First, they start getting personalized, then they begin lasting several paragraphs.

Even without a contract or an agent, you know your skill is circling closer when a publishing professional takes the time to tell you "you're almost there."
It's strangely uplifting, like drinking sugar-laced gasoline. You find yourself thinking "Well, if I'm going to drink gasoline anyway. . ."

Joanne Levy said...

Thanks for sharing, Janet. And while I'm here, let me wish you all the very best for the holidays and a healthy, happy, prosperous 2011!

Anonymous said...

She is brilliant and so are you. Thanks for sharing this as a reminder!

Joelle said...

It's a hard time of year to be a writer starting out. All the editors and agents want to clear their desks for the year and the rejections arrive all around and on the holidays. I remember those dreaded letters well. You can't blame the agents and editors for wanting to get it all done, but I kind of wish they'd mail everything on Jan 2nd, even if they had all the answers ready before their break.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

I don't think rejection should ever be taken personally, but I have had a moment where I thought I had finally nailed it and I received a no thanks. I sulked for a minute and then queried another agent. We have to be professional, put our business heads on, and keep writing. I'm a better writer today than I was yesterday, and, for me anyway, too much expectation unsettles me.

Thanks for everything this year, Janet. Even though you want to bite me when I use the love word, I see that little shark heart beating. Merry Christmas :)

ryan field said...

Taking rejection well is one of those things that comes in time. It's always going to be there, whether you're pubbed or not. (Just check out the reviews on for any well-pubbed author who has been around for a while.) And when you learn how to deal with it and not take it personally, life is so much nicer.

Michael G-G said...

Whoa?! Even Santa's bringing rejection letters now. Is there no good in this world?

Merry Cnristmas, Janet. Finding your blog has been one of this year's gifts. Now, isn't it time for one of those contests of yours? we'll need an excuse to take leave of Uncle Joe and Aunt Prue.

Anonymous said...

I still remember the Christmas when I got an enthusiastic "yes" from an agent.

He loved the book; he didn't normally handle my genre, but thought he'd try it just because he loved it so much. He couldn't sell it, though, and gave up after about a year.

He certainly didn't seem like a charlatan; I'd found him in Writer's Market, and he never asked me for a dime. Maybe he just couldn't sell the book because it wasn't his genre, and he lacked the expertise. At any rate, he's gone from the business now --- maybe his foray into the world of literary agenting was ill-advised? I guess I'll never know... I've stopped trying to sell that book, and moved on to other projects. Better ones.

It just goes to show that you should react to everything with a measure of equanimity. Even the worst news --- and even the best.

Steve Stubbs said...

Brilliantly written post and thanx for recommending it to us. But I don't understand this Rejection Depression stuff. Maybe it comes from having worked in a profession in which "egoless" design (yes, that is what they called it - egoless) was the standard. But being told by a professional that one's work sux is better, methinks, than getting it published, only to have the Great Reading Masses use torn out pages to wipe their noses and less respectable areas of their collective anatomies.

Rejection. Like it. Use it.

Tawna Fenske said...

Hey, thanks for the shout-out for The Debutante Ball! We've been so honored to have a lot of great guest bloggers this season, but Laurie's post on rejection proved to be one of our most popular. Wise words indeed!

Tawna (er, Deb Tawna)