But rejections aren’t a bad thing. *ducks the rotten tomato* No, really, there is a bright side to them.
- They’re a challenge. In high school my guidance counsellor told me not to bother with university. I’d never succeed. I decided to prove him wrong, worked my butt off, and have a Master’s of Science degree. When I received rejections from agents, I took this to mean I needed to work harder at my craft. And I did. Craft books, conferences, and workshops (live and online) became my best friend.
- They could be a hint you need to switch genre. Maybe you decided to write YA because YA is big. Except everyone thought the same thing and agents’ slushpiles became flooded with similar sounding stories. Or maybe you don’t have a YA voice, and your voice is better suited for historical romance.
- They could be a hint you need to read books from your genre. People often ask me if their story idea is New Adult. If you’ve actually read NA, you would know if your story is appropriate for the category. Plus, you would know if your story idea has been already done by a dozen authors before you. Books are frequently rejected because they are too similar to a book already published. Better yet, you’ll realize you don’t like reading the category, which means you shouldn’t be writing it. Time to switch to a genre you do adore.
- You’ll become smarter. While writing your next book, hang out on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. See what other authors are doing for promotion. See what works and what fails. If you notice a book is starting a blog tour, check out Goodreads at the beginning and at the end and do the math. Did it have an impact on the number of people who added the book to their Goodreads ‘Want to read’ list? What about the Amazon ranking? Did the author stick with her blogging circle or hire a blog tour company? What company? If she had a blog hop, did this have any impact on the book’s stats? It doesn’t matter how exciting the blog hop is, or how many people signed up for it, or how many people commented on it if it doesn’t impact sales.
- It’s a sign to reconsider your publishing pathway. Rejections might mean your story is more appropriate for a niche market and you’re better off querying small publishers or self publishing the book. Study your options and talk to a lot of people who’ve tried these routes. Find out the pros and cons. But if you’re planning to self publish, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and set realistic expectations. Not everyone who goes that route ends up a bestseller.
Do you see rejections as a bad thing?