It happened. I got a rejection letter in the mail. Have you had a rejected story lately? It’s no fun to be rejected. However, it doesn’t mean that our stories suck or that we’re bad writers.
Watch the latest author confessional to know what to do with your rejected story. (Hint: rewriting the whole thing isn’t always the answer.) Video below.
There are three different reasons for a rejected story: time, the query, and your writing. In that order.
Just because you’re getting rejection letters, you don’t need to rewrite your book. There’s an easy way to decode the meaning behind them. All you have to do is look at them with a fresh
1. You must be patient.
Just because you submit to someone, doesn’t mean they’re going to buy your story. Or sign with you.
You need to send to at least 30 places before you give up and turn back to your writing.
2. You need to write a strong query.
You submitted your story, but all you’ve heard back is crickets. Nada. No one has responded. A rejection letter would even be better than silence.
Or you’ve received more form letters from agents. It doesn’t look like they even read your story. Ugh!
If that is you, then you may have a bad query letter. Read this article to help you write a stellar query letter. Also, take a copy to your writer’s group and ask them to critique it. They will tell you if there’s a problem.
3. You might need to consider a rewrite.
Maybe you’re the opposite. You’re getting responses. People even take the time to say they like your writing or your idea. Yet they STILL aren’t offering to work with you. This is a sign your book could be the reason for your rejection.
Look back at your first few pages in your story to see if they’re really selling your story. Does the reader know:
- Who the story is about (Name, age)
- What the problem is
- What is taking place at that moment
If your first pages are filled with backstory, or not active enough, you could be losing your voice. Read this article to know if you need a rewrite. Then take your manuscript to your critique group to make sure it’s the best version you could be sending.
Having your story rejected isn’t fun, but it’s a part of everyone’s publishing journey. Don’t let a ‘no’ stop you from sending to other people. Among the others could be the very person you need to say ‘yes’.
But you’ll never know if you don’t send!
PS. Once you get the call, be sure to ask these 25 questions before you sign with an agent!