Why I Like Rejection Letters

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You may think I’m crazy (or being sarcastic) if I were to tell you I like rejection letters, but let me explain.

I would love to have all of my manuscripts accepted. Really, I would. At this point, I would love for at least one children’s book manuscript to be accepted this year! However, I know all of my manuscripts will not be accepted, so I greatly appreciate the responses I get even when they are rejections.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Some publishers are too busy to respond due to the large number of submissions they receive. These publishers often state on their submission’s page that you can assume they have passed on your manuscript if you haven’t heard from them within a set amount of time (such as 6 months).

I understand why they do that, but I tend to start second guessing myself when I don’t hear anything. Did I send the manuscript to the correct address? Did they actually receive it? Did I write my address in the correct spot on the SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope)? Was I suppose to include a SASE? You get the idea.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

So, rejection letters at least acknowledge the fact my manuscript was actually received. That is why I like receiving rejection letters – even if they are the generic letters sent to everyone that has been rejected by that publisher.

My favorite rejection letters, though, are the ones that tell me they like my manuscript, but it doesn’t fit in the publisher’s current list. This tells me my manuscript was good enough to actually warrant a personal response.

Late last year, I received a rejection letter of a manuscript eleven months after I had submitted the manuscript. Sure, I was disappointed. But I was also super excited I had received a response.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Whenever I receive a rejection letter, I feel like I should write a thank you note in return. But then I worry I will be wasting their time even more by sending them a thank you.

I tend to overthink things.

One thing anyone who wants to be a writer should know is that rejections are part of the process. J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishers. Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) received 27 rejections for his first book before it was published.

As George Sheldon says in Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business and More,  “Your ideas or work can be rejected for any number of reasons. It is not always that you have created something terrible (although that could be the reason). Your idea could be rejected because the editor just bought a similar piece…The editor is in a bad mood. These are all things you can not control. Expect rejections.”

Sure, this quote was specifically dealing with nonfiction writings for freelance writing work and not children’s book manuscripts, but the concept is the same.

At my most recent writer meeting, we talked about rejections and why children’s book manuscripts may be rejected. Some reasons can not be controlled but others can.

Here are some possible reasons for rejections we discussed:

  1. length of the manuscript/word count (either too long or too short)
  2. too lesson-driven
  3. too much competition for the subject in the current market
  4. age of character doesn’t fit the age of the audience
  5. lacks conflict
  6. character not developed enough
  7. an inappropriate topic for audience age
  8. the topic is too overdone and the manuscript isn’t unique enough to stand out
  9. not enough of a story arc
  10. sent manuscript to someone who isn’t interested in the style presented

So far, I have had nine official rejection letters this year…one literally came in as I was writing this paragraph! The fact I am receiving rejections means I am actually submitting my work and attempting to put it out there to the world.

True, I could self-publish books to bypass the rejection letters. I did self-publish Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles and Jobs of a Preschooler, and I have other ideas I have not submitted that I am considering self-publishing in the future. But, there are some manuscripts I have that I would prefer to have traditionally published. There are pros and cons to self-publishing and traditional publishing, and I hope to continue pursuing both options.

Laura Purdie Salas states “I’m aiming for 200 rejections this year!” in her book entitled Making a Living Writing Books for Kids.

Although I am not aiming that high (this year at least), I do intend to continue sending out queries and manuscripts. After all, if I don’t send them out, I won’t have any chance of getting my books accepted by a traditional publisher or literary agent.

With that being said, I intend to only submit to places that actually seem like good fits for my manuscripts. There is no point in wasting the time of other people (and myself) by submitting something I know they won’t publish.

goals picture

What obstacle are you not going to let stand in your way this year to achieve your goals?

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