To be or not to be rejected? That really is the darned question.

In an ideal world, the answer to the above would be categorically ‘no’. However, writing is a hard game which requires an extraordinary amount of patience and self-belief. Anyone who says it’s easy, might not be going about the whole business in the right way. Or they are kidding themselves.

Rejection is tough. God knows I’ve cried, I’ve thrown pillows across the room, I’ve drunk one too many vinos and then cried even harder the next day because my head hurts so much. There is, however, such a thing as good rejection. If an agent/an editor gives you feedback (it is a precious resource – don’t dismiss it with a wave of a hand and a ‘they don’t know what they’re talking about’) grab it and use it. Rejection can arrive in the form of a standard, generic letter – stash this away. If you receive an email or anything with a few nuggets of why the answer was ‘no’, take it on board. You’ve been handed a gift. Sure, the temptation is to think you’re above it all – no need for any help here, thank you – but, frankly, you’re not. We all need help. We are all always learning.

If the advice doesn’t make sense then go to an editorial consultancy. My favourite is The Writers’ Workshop. Honest advice that will really help to shape and hone your work. You can’t beat it. An editorial consultancy (a good one) can decode agent/editor speak. You might be told the issue is one thing and start changing the structure, only to find out that all you needed to do was flesh out some of the back story.

So, yes, we’d all prefer we weren’t rejected but, in actual fact (as most of us are, at some point anyway), take it on the chin and, in turn, become the better writer.


Published by Lottie Phillips & Louise Stone

Bestselling women's fiction & thriller writer with HarperCollins.

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