Coping with the rejection of your manuscript

GallianoYep, that’s what I’m doing. I’m back on the merry-go-round. Just received my first rejection for my current manuscript The Grey Silk Purse. And already resorted to drink! One bourbon and coke down and the Galliano pictured to go! Coping mechanism No. 1. Have a drink. That’s one strategy and being very generous of spirit, although down (but not beaten) I am going to offer some more.

2. Adopt a mantra. I submitted my first piece of writing way back in 1981 but it wasn’t until sometime after 1996 when I watched The Cable Guy and Carey said those marvellous words “Allrightee then!” that I adopted a mantra. I still repeat those eloquent words to myself on being rejected. I find they are very helpful, being such a mix of frustration and, dare I say, bloody-mindedness, that they sum up my feelings exactly and are very soothing.

3. Begin another project. As readers of this blog will know that’s what I’ve already done. I tell you, Paris is looking pretty good at the moment! I’d rather be writing about it than trying to work out where to send my manuscript next. But then maybe that’s why I still haven’t found a mainstream publisher for my novels. I tend to submit a handful of times and then retreat into a hole – generally the world of the first half of the 20th century. Each one of us has our own coping mechanisms, I guess, but obviously breaking through does require perhaps that one last gasp of air – that garganturan lunge to the finish line. Maybe I’m still ambling. How are you going?

4. Whinge to friends. This is a good one. Twitter and facebook friends are excellent. You can’t see them looking around for a means of escape and only those that feel like lending a friendly ear will respond to your tweets and posts.

5. Regroup. I do find that after a rejection (at least in the early stages of submitting) I am pushed back to have another look at the manuscript. This is my method of regrouping. After yesterday’s rejection I read for the 101st time, the crucial first page. I decided again, that yes, the manuscript did need a prologue but I slashed a few sentences. They were phrases that I had hesitated over previously. They are gone now and the first page is much cleaner.

6. Do not speculate! I’ve done it in the past, you know: “Oh why didn’t they accept my manuscript? Was it because of this, or that or maybe…etc. etc.” Don’t! It is a complete waste of time. Put your frustrated energy into something else. Maybe an idea for a co-operative, start up a meeting of like-minded friends or go to a workshop. Catch up with relatives or see a movie or a play. Anything is better than beating yourself up about it.

These are just a few suggestion. I hope they help. If you are wandering around in the wilderness, like I am, I would love to hear yours!


10 thoughts on “Coping with the rejection of your manuscript

  1. Hi Deb. I’m sorry you have had a rejection. I’ve sent you a text about tomorrow. Let me know if you are interested.


  2. Hi Deb .. so difficult to go through this process. We work and work and work on our little babies and then folks you don’t know and can never speak to reject them. Glad to see you writing about it. Great attitude.


  3. I’m sorry your manuscript was rejected. I’ve been writing for a very long time and hate rejections – even now – but I find they’re a learning curve, they tell you nothing of what they want, what they don’t want, what’s missing or not… so it makes you want to either improve your work or start on something else. So, this is why I write… even with rejection letters.

    And being an artist, I get frustrated with rejection at galleries. I’ve tried a few times at a gallery but they still say no. Why? I still don’t know. I had a finished works, a half-finished works and they said no to both… so what they want, I’m not sure. But I’ll keep on trying to please them because I’m an artist.


  4. Thanks Mozette. I think that is the worst of it, the not knowing. I say above “Don’t speculate” but of course I do.
    I didn’t know you were an artist as well as a writer! Do you paint or sculpt? Are you going to the NZ convention in October! Would love a catchup. We could compare worst case rejections, lol!


  5. Never, ever give up. There’s a favourite quote about “just as you are about to quit is when the magic happens.” True in my experience. I think your stories sound fresh and fabulous. Keep submitting and all the best. Thx to Brenda Telford for pointing me here. BTW There is a lovely author called Deborah Burrows whose novels are set in Perth wartime.


    • Thanks so much Jenn! I have marked your book to read on goodreads. Yes, I’ve heard of Deborah and I’m looking forward to reading her books. The GI war brides are fascinating, don’t you think.
      I’ll be writing a review soon of Eleanor Dark’s first novel Slow Dawning, a book I enjoyed but is not available to the general public and it should be, so stay tuned!


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