I am seriously curious. Does anyone know if there is an author who’s submitted to a publisher and never – I mean NEVER – received a single rejection letter? I think if I submitted something and got accepted the first try I’d be tempted never to try again just to be able to say that (tempted only. I couldn’t resist writing and trying again!).
Many of the most famous writers received rejection letters before finally being published. There are any number of great quotes by them on the matter, too. Some of the best writing advice out there is to write and submit over and over and over again until you get something published. And then, start all over.
Here’s an interesting example:
J.K. Rowling, famed author of the Harry Potter series, not only received rejection letters for that aforementioned series (I bet those publishers regret that now) but also received rejections letters for the unrelated series she’s written since then. We know this because Rowling posted two of the rejection letters on her twitter feed to show her fans that a rejection letter is not the end of the world. Or the end of a writing career for that matter.
Personally, I feel a little sorry for the publishers who didn’t know they were turning down such a famous author (their names were hidden, so it’s ok.), but I can also understand why she would want to try to publish the new series without resting on her laurels. It’s kind of like being an actor or actress who did so fabulously and famously in a specific role that your chance of getting a different kind of role is almost impossible. Or, it could make you wonder if you’re getting the new role because you deserved it or simply because the producers thought your name would sell in the box office.
I’m actually the most curious about how different the Harry Potter series was when it was accepted versus when it was rejected. Did she change it, or did she submit the same manuscript elsewhere?
See, like those producers, publishers are also thinking of salability, and if there’s a glutton of a certain type of novel on the market, then, maybe, book A will be chosen over book B. On the other hand, if there aren’t so many books competing, maybe, both would be published (Or that’s my impression from what publishers and authors say on the subject).
So if the timing is such a big part of getting published, are rejection letters a kind of notice that the time isn’t right yet? And submitting again and again to different publishers is like knocking on someone’s door – are you ready yet? You don’t want to be too obnoxious, but checking in every so often makes sense.
That’s not to say that all manuscripts that are submitted are going to be published if they’re submitted over and over again without any changes. Some novels do need revisions. That said, there are also plenty of novels that were rejected by multiple publishers before being picked up and hitting it big. And plenty of novelists whose works were rejected after they had big hits. No one is immune (Seriously, can you think of anyone?), so think of rejection letters as part of the publishing process.
C’mon, guys. Everybody’s doing it.