How to Handle Rejection Slips

Writers learn very early in their careers that rejection slips are part of the job. Whether it's a first query or a seasoned author, all writers have to deal with having masterpieces turned down by editors and agents. While it is never easy or pleasant receiving negative feedback, there are ways you can learn how to handle rejection slips.


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    Realize you are not alone. It might feel that way when you open the envelope, and the words on the page may sting your ego, but you are in good company. Even the most famous authors who have gotten rich had their share of rejection.
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    Understand that the rejection slip isn't personal. There are multiple reasons why your work may have been rejected, such as a similar piece may have already been bought, the tone wasn't quite right or the editor was simply having a bad day. Whatever the reason, remember that it's all business.
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    Learn what you can from the letter. One great way to handle rejection slips is to cull everything you can from an editor or agent. If you didn't receive a form letter, take the time to re-read it, consider the suggestions and critiques, and maybe do some editing.
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    Send it back out. Just because one editor or agent decided to pass on your work does not mean that all of them will. Check your list of publishing options and get ready to try again.
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    Celebrate every rejection slip. This might sound odd, but the fact that you have received a rejection slip means that you were brave enough to take that step in sending it out in the first place. Give yourself a pat on the back because many writers never make it that far.
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    Continue writing. Once you have picked yourself up off the floor from the last rejection slip and have found the next placement option, get back to work. Do not allow self-pity to cripple your creativity and pour your energy onto the page.


  • Value your work. While the notes an editor or agent make on the rejection slip should be considered, if you feel strongly enough about your piece, review it with a trusted friend, mentor or writing group before you make the edits.


  • Consider the possibility that your work may need some revision. If you are receiving rejection slips from a few professionals suggesting the same changes, then your work may not be as flawless as you once thought.
  • Check your pride at the door. If you are lucky enough to receive a rejection slip from an editor or agent asking you to resubmit your piece after some editing, then do it. Do not refuse because you are feeling a bit bruised and let an opportunity to pass you by.

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