where the writers are
Dealing with rejections

Another reader question: What if, when I decide to send my manuscript out, I only get rejections? How many rejections do I need to get before I should start thinking about how to fix my project? How many rejections does it take to say that I should move on to something else?

Great question. And the answer is that there is no definitive number. I've never heard of an author who queried an agent and got an offer of representation right off the bat. In fact, I'm not sure that this has ever happened in the history of mankind. If it has, bravo & kudos to them!

Writers get rejected. It's a part of the job. I think it's God's way of asking "how bad do you want it?" When I first started sending out manuscripts, they always got rejected. There weren't any "maybes", not any "nice try" -- just "no, thank you." So I wrote another book, and went through exactly the same thing all over again. Wash, rinse, repeat. When I went to write the third book (yep, it was a good old fantasy trilogy), I realized something. I couldn't write the third book because the thought bored me; in fact, reading over the first two books bored me.

That was my lightbulb going off in my head that I was going about this all wrong. I was trying to be like authors who I admired, to write like them. Finally instead of writing what I thought I SHOULD BE writing, I wrote what I WANTED TO READ. I figured that if I liked it (and since I considered myself to have good taste), then other people would like it. (Yep, I had a bit of an ego going back then. I'll admit that I'm still trying to beat the pesky thing into submission.) But the thing is, if you enjoy what you're writing and have fun writing it, chances are really good that others (like agents) will like it too, because your joy and enthusiasm will be contagious. And also, by writing that much, you'll have become a better writer. Yep, practice does make perfect -- or at least publishable.

Uh . . . what was your question? Oh yeah, rejections. You're gonna get 'em. And only you, your muse, your gut, or whatever it is that tells you "this bites" or "dang, this is good" can tell you if you need to fix a project or move on to something else. Writing is subjective -- one person's "love it!" is another person's "this stinks." Just look at Amazon reviews of any top-selling books/authors for proof.

Hope this helps.