How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

If you thought landing an agent was the day the rejections would stop, brace yourselves–you’re in for a long and bumpy ride. From pitch to publication is a long journey (it’s an overused phrase, but it’s true) and you’ll know from querying agents that not all work is right for everyone. Like finding an agent, an agent has to find you an editor that loves your work as much as you two do. Those with thin skin do not fare well.

Use the passes from agents as a test. Can you keep pushing through? Remaining steadfast in your confidence is a must-have skill.

How do you avoid getting down about agents and editors passing on your work?

  • Keep writing. Never stop writing. Even if you want to hold out to see what your agent or editor will want next, you have to push through to keep yourself busy and working on your craft. What your agent and editor want is for you to keep working while there is downtime.
  • Work on building platform (yes, the much-addressed platform) in the form of Twitter or a blog. Guess what, you’re still writing.
  • If you are in the querying stage find or talk to your critique group. If you have an agent talk through your concerns. Each author is different in how they deal with rejection. Let your group or agent know how you feel about it.
  • Read. Read everything published in your genre that you can get your hands on. (That’s what libraries are for.) Know what’s happening in your market/genre.
  • And then keep writing…
No one likes rejections and they are easy to get down about, but everything happens for a reason. A pass from an editor means you and your agent are one step closer to what’s coming next. If the ‘ultimate’ rejection happens–you have an agent and the book wasn’t able to sell–you’ll have lots of material to work with next because you were writing all along.

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

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