Deadly Ever After

Making Rejection Easy With Your Host, Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Target brand Candy Cane. It was less than $3.

By Julie

Writers put themselves through the ringer. We beat ourselves to hell getting words on paper to give to critique partners and welcome their line by line shredding. Then we do it all over again. And as if finishing the book isn’t enough, now we have to put it out into the world and seemingly beg for rejections. From advanced readers, from agents, from editors and publishers, and eventually readers. This thing that you’ve bled into, and you’ve sent it out to be


I watch writers sob, question their talent, their self-worth, all of their choices over ten or twelve pints of ice cream and booze after those rejections start rolling in. It kills me to watch. I have to say that one thing I am wildly proud of in myself is my ability to handle these rejections. I never let them get me down, and can count on two fingers the number of times I’ve cried over them. This is how:

    • I prepared to be rejected. Rejection is part of the process. Not everyone is going to love your work the way you do, and querying takes practice. You’ll think that your query is perfection and look at it in a month and think what in hell crap is this that I’ve conjured up? Knowing that, I didn’t query my dream agents first. I had practice agents, if you will. So when those rejections showed up, they were part of the plan. I felt in control. Those first queries are the pawns in this game of chess. I viewed that first wave of rejections as Step One, and I checked off that I’d done it. Easy.
    • I don’t give my work ultimatums. I of course have dream agents and dream publishers. But if they don’t like my stuff, or if they do but can’t sell it, I refuse to see it as the end for my book. I stand behind my work unfalteringly, and have had this attitude from day one: My books are coming out, one way or another. So shoot for the stars, the dream agents and publishers, but don’t hit the ground if they don’t catch you. Write what you want and if you believe in it, it will find its way out into the world.
    • Don’t take the rejection as a personal blow. Sure, some of the rejections baffle me. I have publishing houses on Twitter that follow me and rejected my books. But it isn’t ME they don’t connect with, it’s that they don’t think the project is safe enough for them to make money off of. That’s okay. Watch Shark Tank. Those folks like a lot of people and products but know when they can’t do the project justice and pass on it.
    • See the thing that gets you rejected and make it your point of pride. I’ve got a list of these bitches. Vampires. Paranormal. Abrasive female characters. Risky. Too cerebral. “Dangerous.” Well hell yes! All of this sounds like my favorite stuff. So if I do this to the point that it overtakes the tone of the book, then boom, I’ve done exactly what I wanted and you’re scared of it. I’m not. This is the voice I want to see in the world; mine.
    • Have backup plans from the start. This is important part for me, so listen, because I feel like it’s helped me keep my sanity. I’ve known from the first day I started querying that my book was coming out because I’d make it come out. The dream was everyone’s: Get an amazing agent, have said agent sell you to an amazing publisher, become famous. But this was the dream. And dreams can come true, but if they don’t I plan on creating my own reality that looks pretty damn close. I queried a million agents, and I knew that if I never landed one, I’d go to small presses. If small presses wouldn’t have me, I’d self-publish. My safety net was that the book was coming out.
    • Don’t let them tell you anything you don’t already know. I got rejected by all of my dream publishers, even the one that I was really sure would love me. But all of these big press rejections told me something I already knew and I took great pride in it: my work is too different and unsafe to be a sure thing. So when those rejections came, it was just what I needed to show me that indie was probably best for me anyway. If they’d come back saying the writing was poor, I would have been surprised. But I looked at my work from every angle and knew that it might just not be right for traditional publishing as it is right now. They more or less agreed with me. Know your work well enough to not get any surprises.

So this is all my stuff. Rejection is a sure thing in the publishing industry. Know you aren’t above it, and you’ll learn to work around it. But always remember: Write what you have to write, and that will show through in the manuscript. A book like that always finds its way into the world.

Dry those tears and make a path for your work. Look past the trees to see the forest.


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7 thoughts on “Making Rejection Easy With Your Host, Julie

  1. Pingback: Making Rejection Easy With Your Host, Julie | Summer Wier

  2. We ❤ you, Julie! We ❤ you very much!

  3. Reblogged this on C.A.Liccardi Author and commented:
    Making Rejection Easy With Your Host, Julie – ReBlog

  4. akeller9 on said:

    I’m with you on rejections, Julie. I have no idea how many short stories or novel queries have garnered them. I don’t keep count. I just keep going. You have to. I mean, if you really want it. Some of what you heard ie rejections echoes my experience, too. But it’s our story, our vision. So now we find the right place for it. As Adam Sandler says in Happy Gilmore, Go Home, Book! Go To Your Home! I watch a lot of movies…

    You have to be prepared in some way for rejection. And, most importantly, you have to be able to move on from them. Period.

  5. This is some great advice, and one thing that helped me get through the first round of rejections was looking at my first queries and saying, yeah, I would have passed on that, too.
    You know what I HATE? Following agents’ blogs and twitters and seeing “send me this” and “I want more this” and screaming in my head “I DID LAST MONTH AND YOU SAID NO!!!”
    Or, a new agent or other agent at an agency begging for something like what I’ve written, but having already been rejected by someone that agency. This actually happened with an author who critiqued my query and said “I’d totally request this, it sounds awesome.” Less than two months later she was working at an agency that had rejected me.
    Why don’t you just give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?

    • I entirely get what you’re saying and that is a whole other blog post. I’ve always had a hard time with the querying process. I hate that I KNOW the query wouldn’t sell the book because the QUERY wasn’t good. I hate that writers have to know agents’ innermost secrets and subtly mention them in a query to impress upon them just how much work they’ve put into research. And then I hate that you find an agent that you mesh with perfectly and they can’t sell your work because just because THEY love it doesn’t mean TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING will. I hate that writers are non-conformists that still have to answer to people. I hate that the rules change and we have to change with them. And I refuse to give in to rules that don’t have purpose.

      Did that answer any question at all? Did I even respond to a question. What’s happening.

  6. Such a great post on keeping the right perspective and knowing your true drive/motivation.

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