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!
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