Writing to a Deadline Part 12: The Slap of a Rejection

After a week of waiting… Rejected.

Wow.  That stung.  I read the email.  Well, that’s not true.  After the words “Not ready for publication at this time.” I pretty much skimmed it.

Two things stuck with me off the bat.  George was an unnecessary character, and the opening was confusing.  What??????????  George is the catalyst!  Deep breath… don’t scream.

Being a good little camper, I shut down my computer, and walked away.

I stewed over it for a while.  What were they talking about?  How could they say these things?

Then I took my own advice.  It was a nice day.  I got on my bicycle, and just rode.  I thought over those two comments, and cleared my head for an hour or so.  Once I was able to deal with it, I went back to my computer to read it again.

It’s very hard to take your own advice when something happens to you.  I have walked a few people through this very thing, but never myself.  I’ve sent out work before, but they all saved me this heartache by not answering my queries at all.  This time, I got the definitive “No”.

But was it really a no?  I read it again.  It wasn’t a yes, but it wasn’t completely a rejection either.  They gave me a full-page type-written list of areas they thought were lacking in the story.  Someone thought it through, and let me know everything they thought was a problem.

In my own advice to others: “If someone took that much time, they must have seen something in it that they liked.”

I printed out the page, went to my room, closed the door, and read it over and over.  I realized that if I took their advice about the character George, that the characterization inconsistencies that they pointed out with three other characters would just naturally fall in line.

The last line of the email stated:  If you would like to make changes and resubmit before the deadline date, please send the rewrite directly to “********”

Wait a minute… Go past the normal submission channels?  Hop over the other entries right into a special mailbox?

Not quite so much a rejection anymore, is it?  Thank God I submitted two weeks early!

Seven days for a rewrite, taking out a major plot element.

Gotta go…. Got something to do. 🙂


38 responses to “Writing to a Deadline Part 12: The Slap of a Rejection

  1. I’m sure you’ve heard of all the famous writer who had been rejected over and over and over — keep on submitting!

  2. Wow! Go for it! And the moral of the tale is … read the email to the end 🙂

  3. They must REALLY have liked it! congratulations on the rejection!!

  4. Congrats. That was a great response so keep going with the editing.

  5. EXCELLENT! Good thing you read on. Now disappear in your writer’s hole until you are done. Make the magic happen and create the masterpiece they can’t pass up. 😉

  6. I’m surprised you didn’t write, “I printed out the page, went to my room, closed the door, and read it over and over.Then I drank a fifth of scotch.”

    Good for you! As a unpublished writer with a query letter I am ready to torch,you give me hope. Okay, now send over that scotch you aren’t drinking because you are editing.

  7. SO happy you read past the initial “no.”

    You are so right. They took time to read and make detailed notes on what they saw as ways to improve your TALENT–make that story acceptable for publication with them.

    Bet that turned your day around. Big time. It would have done wonders for mine. Hey, wait! Since we’re buddies, it has also done wonders for my day.

  8. Heather Tiger

    Best of luck with the rewrite!

  9. Excellent attitude. Helps to breath and come back. One of the most positive letters I got from an editor was a rejection (she took the time to really get into the story with me and show what she liked and did not like). Nail that rewrite!

  10. That is awesome, Jennifer! Criticism is a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but it sounds like they loved your work. Best of luck to you on resubmission –I hope they accept it! 🙂

  11. I think we all hope for this kind of feedback! It shows you’re on the right track and the editor recognized the potential for the story. I’ll bet most people simply get the “not right for us” standard reply.

    So good luck with the rewrites and the resubmission!

  12. Love your post as it reminds me of how it helps me, working through the emotions. And if it’s any consolation, rewrites or whatever is very common based on my own experience in working for an academic publication. Of like 300 transcripts, it’s rare that even one won’t be told to edit or whatever in some way, if not outright declined due to lack of content relevance. Hence, as writers are like cats, treat gently please, it can be quite the harsh process to hammer out the very best in you. But that’s just it, it’s mean to refine, hone, and sharpen you as a writer. so please remember it’s not you, it’s just the process. 😀


  13. Good luck with your revision! That’s awesome you got feedback (very positive).

  14. Soooo much better than a form rejection letter … good luck with round 2.

  15. You’re so right about taking your own advice, on any topic, not just writing. But, congrats! I consider this a major win. Good luck with the rewrite!

  16. Oh fantastic news! Good for you for thinking it through and remaining positive. Write write write!

  17. I love this.
    And good luck with the rewrite! What a great opportunity!

  18. You are just…amazing. You DID take your own advice and you did it so well. I would probably be addressing anthrax envelopes by now. Way to go Jenn! Got my fingers crossed for your rewrite! 🙂

  19. A personalized message, whether it’s positive or whether it mentions the need for some changes, is always better than the flat out “Sorry, but it’s not what we’re looking for.” Good for you, and good luck with the revisions!

    • Yes it is. When I queried my novel, I got about 30 “not right for us” letters but I did get ONE that took the time to tell me what she thought the problem was. It pissed me off at first until the anger faded and I could appreciate what she did for me. 🙂

      • I’ve had the same experience. Once the anger dissipates (and it’s definitely there), you can appreciate what they were trying to say and see if you can incorporate it.

        • She only gave me two pieces of advice but both were widespread. One I took and made a few more changes and the other one I didn’t agree with (neither did my editor/beta reader/friend) 🙂

  20. That’s good news, Jennifer! Good luck 🙂

  21. That’s great, good luck with it!

  22. Thanks for giving us this peek into your progress! If you must receive a rejection, this kind seems like the one you want to get. 🙂
    Keep at it, you might have a winner on you hands!

  23. Awesome! Good luck with the revisions. 🙂

  24. The moment I read the part that you “read the email” I knew this was no ordinary rejection–for the fact that you RECEIVED an email! That’s big stuff–and the fact that it was actually a page of notes/suggestions AND an invite to re-submit!!!! Huge!!!

  25. Wooooo go Jennifer! I guess we will see you in 7 days? Just don’t get eaten by a creepy girl in the TV

  26. Awesome! Good luck with it!

  27. Good luck with the revision… you can do it:)

  28. That’s great news! If nothing else, you’ll know that the story is as strong as it possibly can be at the end of it – and it sounds like they well be interested. Well done! 🙂

  29. Best of luck on re-submission!

  30. See Jennifer… You were right! The glass was half full… As writers, we can even write the story that way if we choose! 😉 Good luck on the rewrite. Focus- buckle down- just give it your best shot. Anyhow the best reward is that writing makes you a better writer! Felicia