Lessons Learned

10:44 AM Thursday, August 11, 2011

How many rejections should you receive before you stop trying?

I imagine every writer from the beginning of publishing has asked this question. So what is the answer?  

I would have thought that it would be somewhat of a gut instinct. There have been stories I pushed 20 or 30 times before I found someone who was interested in publishing it. Yet, there have been many (most really) that I only put out there 5 to 10 times before abandoning my efforts. 

My decisions to move on were based mostly on my own feelings for the story. With some, I knew deep down they didn't have what they needed (yet) to make it to publication. Others, I knew the moment I stopped typing that someone out there would be interested. It was those stories I pushed the hardest. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to write someone an email saying that I was sorry, but that I opted to go with another publication!

I have to say that my view has changed when I found out a little more about Kathryn Stockett, the author of the novel, The Help. When I'd first heard anything about Stockett, I have to admit that I was a little jealous. Who's first novel goes on the New York Times Bestseller list and stays there?  Not fair!!

Then I read the book.  That's when I understood why she was there.  But still I was envious that this woman would write so well from the beginning, where I have had to struggle to learn.  She must be a natural! A fluke! 

Turns out I was wrong again. Here is a bit of her story, told by her, in this article.  years of writing. 3 years of rejections and rewriting.  60 rejections!  This woman was delivering a baby and wouldn't put her manuscript down.  That's dedication!

Yes, her persistence paid off.  But of all the things I'll take from her example, it is that working toward perfecting and polishing your manuscript is essential!  After every rejection, Stockett didn't just give up, nor did she send in the same thing to the next publisher. She evolved. She learned from one rejection to another, making changes and polishing her manuscript until she got what she needed.  

Lesson learned. And I think I've found myself someone new to look up to.


  1. Rejection stings. Feel it...but don't let it rule you.

    Give it some time, maybe a good cry, and move on.

    Only you know in your heart the right direction...

    Nice post. Nice blog.

    Loree Huebner

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