Thursday, June 27, 2013

Business Basics for Today's Writer—Do You Know a GOOD Rejection When You See One?


I’m amazed at the number of beginning writers I talk to who have no idea there’s such a thing as a good rejection. Those new to the industry have the idea that no is no and there’s nothing good about it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

And if you spend much time in the industry you’ll discover there are varying levels of no. Today I’ll let you in on some positive rejections you may (hopefully) run into.

  • The Worst Good Rejection is One With a Personal Note. Let me assure you that editors do not have time to write personal notes to go with everything they reject. Any time an editor takes time to encourage a writer, especially one they aren’t going to publish, IT’S A BIG DEAL. And you should be encouraged that you’re doing something right.
  • Next on the Good Rejection Ladder is One that Turns You Down But ask if They Can Keep Your Name on File. Again, editors don’t ask that of every writer they come in contact with. Frequently editors reject a piece, not because it’s not well-written, but because they just can’t use it. They may have published something similar in the recent past or just not have a place for what you submitted. But if you’re asked if they can keep your name on file this means they like your writing. And that’s a GOOD THING!
  • Further up on the Good Rejection Ladder is One Where the Editor asks Permission to Pass the Piece  or Your Name to another Department. Again, editors don’t put their reputations on the line for writers they don’t think can write. If an editor asks if they can pass your name along, say YES, and then CELEBRATE!
  • At the very Top of the Good Rejection Ladder is One With Suggestions. Sometimes an editor will send you a rejection and ask you to make some changes and resubmit. This should cause you to do a happy dance. No editor is going to take the time to tell you what they want if they don’t really want you to resubmit it. When this happens, don’t just be encouraged. Sit yourself in front of the computer and make those changes—then RESUBMIT it!
These are just a few of the good rejections you can run into. And I don’t want anyone to pass up the chance to celebrate! Now it’s your turn, if you’ve had a good rejection, share the story in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie 

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14 comments:

  1. I received a good rejection letter last week. The editor took the time to point out some deficiencies in my MS, and invited me to submit something else in the future.

    I think it will always disappoint me to receive a rejection, but if I have to receive one, this particular letter would be the best kind to get.

    I'm so thankful for wiser, more experienced authors and others in the industry, like Edie, who take the time to encourage those of us still trudging through the newby muck and mire.

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    1. Ginger, you're so right, rejections of any kind are always a disappointment. I'm glad you've found this series helpful! Thanks so much for sharing, Blessings, E

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  2. Edie, I love your perspective. When I first started out, I never thought a rejection could b a good thing. But hearing you teach over the years and talk about some of your personal experiences, it's made me realize that there are such a thing. Love you!

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    1. Jamie, When I started I had no idea there was such a thing as a good rejection. Because of that, I missed out on some pretty cool opportunities. I just hate to think of others missing a chance! Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  3. The best rejection I had gave me a list of things I needed to improve in my writing and revealed things to me that I didn't know. It ended with, "please submit to us again in the future." While I have not submitted to them (not ruling it out), I was so touched by the detail and attentiveness she gave to help me as a newer writer. I learned so much from that one rejection it was a blessing more than a disappointment.

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    1. Susan, those kind of rejections are golden and can often catapult us to the next level in our writing. I'm so thankful when an editor takes the time to reach out to me. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us! Blessings, E

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  4. The best rejection I have received was from a magazine...but I received a call from one of the editors. He liked the article and would like to send it to another magazine. Delighted I answered with "yes, of course." Moody Monthly published it.
    As a sidebar: when I called my mother (I was rather excited) to tell her the good news, she said "Who is this?" Guess I was more than "rather excited."

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    1. Marjorie, that is a great story - so encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing, Blessings, E

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  5. A friend of mine received a rejection from a house and was told they had recently published a similar piece.

    AND the letter stated they were sending the manuscript to a friend at another house, hoping they could work it in to their schedule.

    Now that is awesome!

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    1. Mary, that is a wonderful experience! Thanks so much for sharing, Blessings, E

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  6. This was such an encouraging post and has really changed my perspective, so thanks. I've received two good rejections and didn't even know or appreciate it!

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    1. Erika, I'm so glad I was able to give you a different way to look at your rejections. Thanks so much for sharing - Blessings, E

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  7. The publishing committee said it was a highly appealing novel with great potential, but it wasn't ready just yet. The acquisitions editor explained that it needed a stronger opening hook, and attention to cadence and flow. Recognizing lack of flow is still eluding me.

    The acquisitions editor has changed publishing houses, but let me know her new contact information.

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    1. This is great news! Be sure you plug in somewhere to get help with the 'lack of flow' issue. Are you a member of ACFW or My Book Therapy? I recommend you look into either of those. Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings, E

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