Why Rejections Aren’t A Bad Thing

9 Nov

A lot of writers have issues with rejections. Here’s the thing. If you submit your work, in any length, it is at some point going to get rejected. Unless you’re an absolute fucking genius writer.

However, for all the rest of us mere mortals, rejection is going to become a close companion. If you allow it, it might even become your friend.

“WAIT!” I hear you cry. “I fucking hate being rejected, it sucks, nothing good comes from rejections!”

And now I need you to shut the fuck up and listen.

I’ve been doing this for over 6 years now, this ain’t my first rodeo. I am the voice of experience. I’ve been rejected by pretty much every pro rated SF & Fantasy market who existed during that period. I had no fear, I would literally sub to anyone. Hell, I even once sent some crime fic to Ellery Queen. They rejected it.


A rejection should be looked at as a learning experience, not a negative one.

Did they call you a cunt? Did they tell you never to sub there again? Did they say yours was the worst story they had ever seen?

If none of these things happened, and you got a boring, form rejection, that’s fine. They don’t hate you (I’ve got paranoia & mental health issues, I think all kinds of things), and they didn’t want that particular story. Or it wasn’t useful to them at that exact moment in time.


This year I’ve discovered an entirely new to me form of rejection which isn’t an actual rejection. The return, or release.

In this case, the market like the piece, but don’t buy it, so they release it to allow you to submit it to other markets as they don’t wish to hurt you by holding it any longer. It’s both a rejection and not a rejection at the exact same time.

Schrodingers Rejection, if you like.

And you should like!

Anything which isn’t a rejection is a good thing. But I’m also here to tell you rejections are also a good thing.

Try to learn from each rejection. Why it didn’t sell or get accepted?

Was it too long? Had the market seen something similar too recently? Was it too short? These are all things you should be able to work out from the wording of your rejection, if it’s not a form rejection.

Also learn from what else is said in a rejection.

Did they say they enjoyed reading it? That means they like your style, keep trying! Did they say they want you to sub again, or words to that effect? They generally mean it. Sub again.


Learn from each rejection. It’s not a personal sleight against you. It just wasn’t right at the time. I’ve been crazy close in a few pro-rated markets. Heck, I recently had a rejection which stuck in one editors brain so much she emailed me months later to ask if it was still for sale and could she buy it.

So rejections can turn into acceptances and sales.

If you are getting rejections, it means you are at least trying, you’re getting your work out there for editors to see. A lot of people aren’t even willing to risk sending their work out, so you are already ahead of them! Dare to dream, shoot for the moon.

Sure, you might not reach it now, but with every submission, you’ll learn more about what doesn’t work and why. See each rejection as a learning experience, not just about what markets don’t like, but about how strong you are as an individual.

If you’re going to fold up & cry at the first sign of failure, selling your writing might not be the right path to take. However, if you can take a rejection and bounce back from it enough to send out another sub, you might just have the chops to make it one day. Success isn’t going to come overnight, unless you’re that genius I mentioned earlier. Keep trying, keep honing your craft. You’ll make sales. The sheer law of statistics says you will. Unless your work is complete dreck.

And if it’s not dreck, you will sell something somewhere.

That’s why rejections aren’t a bad thing!

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