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Monday, July 2, 2012

The End of Rejections by Tina Gerow

I started writing seriously for publication in August of 2003, and soon stumbled on the horrible phenomenon we know as rejection.  It's part of every writer's (and artist's life) in some form or another, and something that no one loves or even likes. Granted there are different types of rejections – scathing rejections, form rejections and even good rejections. 

The scathing ones are the most hurtful (at least to me) but oddly enough, usually the most helpful, in that they teach you the most about what you need to improve to avoid the big "R" your next time out.  They might be blunt and make you feel like giving up writing and doing something safer and less likely to trample your ego, like underwater basket weaving…lol… but if looked at it the right light, and the feedback taken as intended, they can be the ones to actually push your career forward! 

The form rejections really don't tell you anything other than "Thanks for submitting, but we don't want your work"  Regardless of it's just right now or at all, you're usually not any farther ahead in your career than you were. 

However, the Good rejections – those are gems!  Those are the ones that tell you all the great stuff about your submission, but sadly, also include the reasons why they can't offer you a contract on it.  Things like they just bought something similar, you need to work on a particular plot point or writing style element, there's no more room in their upcoming line up etc.  But usually for good rejections they invite you to submit again, which is something that should never be wasted or taken lightly.  Editors are busy people.  If they didn't want you to submit again, believe me – they wouldn't even even offer the opportunity!!

But now back to the original point of "The end of rejections" which I'm sure is what caught your interest enough to get you to read this blog.  I'm sure all of us would like to work in a writing industry where there are no rejections and editors and agents are happy to buy whatever we write, but sadly, even after reading to this point, I'm here to tell you that that state just doesn't and never will exist unless you're Nora Roberts or Stephen King.

Back to my own story where I learned this first hand.  I wrote my first story, a paranormal romantic suspense called Into a Dangerous Mind, in 2003.  I garnered 25 rejections until it was finally published in 2005, and those 25 were all over the board in the three categories I mentioned above.  Over the next few years I wrote more books and sent them out religiously with the "rule of ten" taught to me by my friend and critique partner, Brit Blaise.  Basically, the rule of 10 is to have 10 submissions of some type out at any one time.  If you come home to three rejections in your mailbox, you immediately send out three more submissions, queries or etc.  Using this method of submission I really started to build up rejections – so high that by the time I sold my first Cassie Ryan novel, an erotic paranormal romance called Ceremony of Seduction to Kensington Aphrodisia, and landed an amazing agent off of that deal, I had garnered 69 rejections and kept them in a box to remind me of all that I'd accomplished and all the work I'd put into this dream of mine — way too much to ever give it up and throw in the towel!

Woo Hoo!  My work was finally published by a big New York publisher, I had a wonderful agent who was going to help me get my work out there, so I was once and for all done with rejections – right? 


I kept pitching ideas to my agent and writing books…and continued to garner rejections.  Yes, they were still of all three types, but they were rejections nonetheless.  And even on the stories my agent submitted for me, she would helpfully forward onto me the rejections she received on my behalf…lol.  But again – as mentioned above, some of those were extremely helpful to my career and I still try to take them in the vein intended and use them for my good.

So here I am, a multi published author under two pen names with around 18 books and stories published and somewhere around 90 rejections, and I expect there will be more coming in my career.

I use them as sort of a badge of honor for all the work I've done and all that I've accomplished!  I mean, look at the business we're in.  We're told nearly every day by well meaning friends, relatives and even other writers how difficult it is to get an agent and to get published.  We're told that it only happens to "one in a million" - I'm here to tell you, "Why can't you be that one??"

Don't let anyone steal your dream!  No matter how difficult the path, if the final dream is worth it and what's truly in your heart – then don't give it up lightly!  Fight for it with everything you are.  And if that involves a little rejection (or a lot) then so be it.  Every time you receive one, celebrate that you've taken another step toward your dream and are already miles ahead of thousands of other people who always say they want to write a book but have never taken that step!

So what to do now?  Get out there and submit, submit, submit!  And then come home and write, write, write!  Rinse and repeat ad infinitum until you've reached the level of success you've always dreamed of.  Then what?  Keep going and love the life you've built for yourself!

Good luck, fellow writer, now get out there and grab your dream!

Bio:  Tina Gerow has always had a passion for romance and anything paranormal. And even in school, was encouraged to put her writing skills to good use, but always with the admonishment to 'stop writing the weird stuff and tone down the sarcasm.' But what fun is that?! So, in 2003, she finally decided to try her hand at writing a novel, but still firmly embracing the 'weird stuff and the sarcasm.' Her first book, Into a Dangerous Mind, won the award for Romantic Times Best Small Press Contemporary Paranormal for 2006.

Since then, Tina has published several more books, including the popular Maiden series, the Seduction Series for Kensington's Aphrodisia line as Cassie Ryan, and the Sisters of Darkness series with Berkley, also as Cassie Ryan.

Tina lives in Arizona with her "guys", Jon, and her son Darian and two feisty cats. When Tina isn't spending time with her family, she's usually writing, or at some various and sundry writer's conference, workshop or meeting.  Find Tina at: 


Amber Belldene said...

I love the rule of 10. I imagine that would keep me off the edge of my seat, where I chronically sit right now! I also like the idea that we can learn from the rejections, but they can be so varied (and even contradictory) that they aren't always helpful. Great blog!

Tina Gerow said...

Thanks, Amber! I can't take credit for the Rule of 10, that was my friend Brit Blaise, but I'm so grateful to her for sharing it with me! And now she's multi and well published as well :) Best of luck on your writing!

Brit Blaise said...

Thanks for the memories...I need to take my own advise.:-)

Brit Blaise said...

And learn how to spell.:-)

Marie said...

I have my own collection of rejections that I've been amassing since 1988, but I agree with you, I've learned a little bit from each and every one. I still get them and they still hurt a little but they haven't stopped me from pursuing my dream.


River Glynn said...

Thanks, Tina. This came at an important time for me. After a stroke this spring, and not being able to write at all, I thought this might be a sign to give it up and file those rejections and manuscripts. But this post tells me that I mustn't stop. I can write again, and so I will. Thanks.

Nina Benneton said...


Your words of wisdom, coming from an author I so admire, will be kept in my 'inspiring blogs' file I keep and reread when those rejections come.

Tina Gerow said...

Thanks everyone! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post :)

Anonymous said...

So for every rejection letter I get I am to look at it as a badge of honor? It means someone actually looked at my story. But said no or not at this time. I like that. Thanks

Marlo Berliner said...

Great post!