Lately, it has become a norm for writers to post rejection emails they receive from various writers’ platforms on their social media handles. Is this a good step to overcoming rejection or not?
Well, it could be, but it is certainly not the best way.
Rejection emails are not spectacular to anyone. Even award-winning writers and authors once received rejections. Find out about the Harry Potter series author, J.K. Rowlings; she received rejections from twelve publishers, yet, ended up a famous author. Talk about Stephen Kings and the thirty times his manuscript “Carrie” got rejected, yet, Carrie has sold a million copies and counting.
Rejection can be tough, but how you handle it is what matters. The new age attitude of posting it on social media is not a bad idea but the intention behind it is worrisome. It started out as a therapeutical way to handle the situation, but of course, the purpose has been abused in the long run.
In other words, a good percentage of writers now put rejections out there so they could get pity, or subtly hurt the publisher, website, or magazine—because that’s the appearance it has taken. Interestingly, hardly—if any at all, do the editors of these platforms find their way back to the mailboxes of those rejected to tender an apology. So, why bother uploading screenshots of such emails and tagging them?
While we cannot totally condemn or stop the habit, there’s something else that can be done when a rejection email appears in the inbox. This strategy is not new, nevertheless, it remains the smartest approach. Warning: no one smiles at rejection, no matter how strong he or she is and no matter how many self-helps addressing the subject matter that he or she has read.
The best strategy for writers to handle rejection is to simply move on. Yes, move past the event of the receipt of the email so you can heal quickly. Move on with the understanding that a rejected piece isn’t a failed piece. Simply put, no writer is a failure just because he or she got a rejection. No way!
Afterward, do not dismiss the publisher, magazine, or website as being cruel for refusing your literary piece. That would be childish. Understand too that there’s a crowd of individuals out there making submissions to that same editor who’s in a dilemma as he or she sorts out the most suitable pieces according to the specified requirements and rules. It’s not an easy job. By the way, the most suitable submissions do not necessarily mean the best creative pieces. When you grasp this, you’d take a deep breath and let down your shoulders, easing yourself of every ‘foul play’ cry.
As soon as you feel better—and do ensure you are fully recovered from the disappointment, go back to the submitted piece, scrutinize thoroughly the work in comparison with the entry guidelines and rules. Check for grammatical, contextual, and structural errors. Check to be sure content matches the theme/subject matter required. Check for other ‘checkables’. This is not to certify the failure of the entry or manuscript but to see whatever may have gone wrong and how it can be improved. It is also advisable that the writer shares his or her work with beta readers for comments, reviews and constructive criticisms. These come in handy on the road to improvement.
Finally, know this: no matter how good a writer may be, not every editor would find his or her work suitable. Nigerian writer and author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (also known as CNA), is not just an award-winning author but a great writer. Nevertheless, her works have been criticised by a good many. Not everyone finds value in her works. That’s the way the world works, fortunately—yes, it’s a fortunate thing to have a balance of praise and criticism.
When next you get rejected, heal, move on, take corrections, being in the know that you wouldn’t always have a ‘yes’ no matter your efforts. The word ‘rejected’ should never stop you. Keep going!