Saturday, October 22, 2011

What's in a rejection? Take it easy.

   A few days ago I got a rejection I did not expect. I thought the journal had an interest in publishing my story. Their website said that they took around two to three months to reply. A longer waiting period meant that the manuscript was most likely being considered for publication. Four months after submitting my story, they sent me a reply and it was... a rejection! To make matters worse, this journal did not accept simultaneous submissions so I wasted four precious months, and I ended up thinking they had a special interest in my manuscript. Around the time my story was rejected, however, they changed their rule and decided to accept simultaneous submissions.
    I normally take rejections in stride, but this one made me feel dejected and deeply disappointed considering the circumstances.
     Now let's put things in perspective. Rejections are very subjective, and they reflect the editor's opinion. Period. Now, let's move on and keep trying.  One editor may hate a story, whereas another one may appreciate it, and even love it.
    I will share with you some facts that support my statement on how subjective rejections are:
   - After reading one of his short stories, an  editor told Rudyard Kipling that he " didn't know how to use the English language".
   - The novel "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle was rejected 26 times before getting published. After publication it won the Newberry Medal in 1963.
-"Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times before finding a publisher.
- An editor told Louisa May Alcott that she "should stick to teaching".
-"The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Forde, a classical of the modern fantasy genre, underwent 76 rejections before getting published.
-"Dubliners", by James Joyce was rejected 22 times before finding a publisher.
-Joanathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach was rejected 18 times. In 1972, the year it was finally published, more than a million copies were sold.
- Gertrude Stein spent 22 years trying to get a poem published.
-"Dune" by Frank Herbert was rejected 20 times before it was published.
-An editor told Irving Stone that his novel "Lust for Life" was "a long dull novel about an artist".
-An editor recommended Vladimir Nabokov that his novel "Lolita" be buried under a stone for a thousand years. Another editor said they would both end up in jail if he published that novel.
-William Saroyan was rejected 7,000 times before his first short story was published. His short story collection, "My name is Aram" is an International best seller.
 The list can go on but I will stop here.
   Every writer endures rejections. Feel free to let me know about your own experiences and how you deal with them, but, in the meantime, don't give up. Keep on submitting  your work to other journals and publishers. Keep on reading and writing!