By Dave Kavanagh
Rejection slips are not a rejection of your work, they are merely the view of one editor with a limited focus, limited resources and often limited space. Publishers gravitate towards work that appeals to their own taste and it is part of the human condition that tastes vary. A rejection slip is not a condemnation of your work it is rather a vindication of your effort.
You are alive, you are writing and you are submitting. Keep doing it, if one publisher does not like your work there are hundreds more. If you have a burning desire to be published in a particular collection, magazine or to be liked by a particular editor then read what they have previously published. See if you have work that will fit that particular profile. But do not under any circumstances alter work that you have faith in just to please another’s taste.
The only critic of real importance is yourself, the only rejection slip to fear is the one issued internally, that is the one that kills dreams.
I have stolen these dozen quotes from cyberspace- quotes from authors who you will all have heard of, they speak about how they view the rejection slip. It seems the universal view is that rejection slips are infact just incremental stepping stones on the path to a dream realised.
IX.“I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’“ – Saul Bellow X. “To ward off a feeling of failure, she joked that she could wallpaper her bathroom with rejection slips, which she chose not to see as messages to stop, but rather as tickets to the game.” – Anita Shreve XI. “Often, you have to fail as a writer before you write that bestselling novel or ground-breaking memoir. If you’re failing as a writer – which it definitely feels like when you’re struggling to write regularly or can’t seem to earn a living as a freelance writer – maybe you need to take a long-term perspective.” – J.K. Rowling XII. “Rejection has value. It teaches us when our work or our skillset is not good enough and must be made better. This is a powerful revelation, like the burning UFO wheel seen by the prophet Ezekiel, or like the McRib sandwich shaped like the Virgin Mary seen by the prophet Steve Jenkins. Rejection refines us. Those who fall prey to its enervating soul-sucking tentacles are doomed. Those who persist past it are survivors. Best ask yourself the question: what kind of writer are you? The kind who survives? Or the kind who gets asphyxiated by the tentacles of woe?” – Chuck Wendig