Dealing With Rejection by Adrienne Giordano

Dealing With Rejection

by Adrienne Giordano


It’s a nasty little word isn’t it?  As writers, we face it. A lot.  I personally have never gotten comfortable with it. Then again, rejections no longer send me wilting to the floor in tears.

Two years ago, a writer friend told me an agent “chose to resist” her work and it was an aha moment for me.

Chose to resist.

How fabulous is that?

So much better than rejected.  From that point on, when I received one of those dreaded rejection letters, I simply congratulated myself for sending the manuscript out (again!) and moved on.  Sure, there were times when a particular dream agent’s or editor’s resistance hit me a little harder than say a non-dream agent’s or editor’s rejection would, but on those occasions I allowed myself a pity party for the remainder of the day.  That was the deal with myself. Whether it was first thing in the morning or late at night when I received the rejection, I allowed myself to feel horrible until I went to sleep.  For me, anything beyond that was counter-productive and suppressed my creativity.

And I hate that.

So, let’s talk about an action plan for when someone chooses to resist your work.

Step 1

Feel awful about it, but set a deadline.  You cannot make it open-ended or your creativity will be zapped.  Even if you have to write it down, force yourself to set a time limit.  Repeat after me, “For the next (insert however many hours) I am going to allow myself to feel really crappy about this agent/editor choosing to resist my work.”

Step 2

Pull out that chose-to-resist letter and see if there are any nuggets you can pull from it.  I once received a rejection from an agent that said (and yes, this is verbatim because I still have the letter.): “I really, really loved all of your characters and thought your pacing and dialogue were working overall, but it just didn’t stand out enough in the already crowded romantic suspense subgenre. I think you are very talented and would be happy to look at other projects in the future.”

At the time, that letter sent me to my knees.  When reading it, all I saw was that I’d done a good job and it still wasn’t good enough. Luckily, that very night I was having dinner with my critique partner and we had a joint pity party. I cried, I moaned, I felt sorry for myself. I had a martini. J It was a world-class pity party.

The next day, after my allotted pity time, I pulled the letter out and analyzed it. Yes, it was a rejection, but she talked about my strengths, told me I was talented and that she would look at future work. As rejections go, this was a darned fine one. A class-A rejection. I kept the letter on my desk for a long time. As other rejections—maybe not so nice ones—came in, I went back to the class-A one to remind myself that a top agent thought I had talent.

Bottom line here, find the nugget that will sustain you.

Step 3

Keep writing. Take any nuggets you receive and build on them. If someone says your plotting is fabulous, try and improve it. Whatever it is you are good at, keep doing it and try to make it better.  Conversely, if there are areas you need to improve on, work on them. Study craft books, reach out to writer friends for advice, do whatever you need to because if an agent or editor says your dialogue needs work, they’re helping you. They could be sending you a form letter, but they took the time to give you specifics about areas to improve on and that means you connected with them on some level. Think about the vast number of queries agents and editors must receive.  If you connect with them, you’ve done something right.

Step 4

Surround yourself with people who will support you through the tough times.  I have the good fortune to have wonderful critique partners who are all too willing to talk me off ledges.  And they have.  When someone called one of my characters an a**hole, my critique partners were the first ones to tell me how much they loved him.

And by the way, that character is the hero in the book referenced above in the class-A rejection from the agent. Even better, that book was acquired by Carina Press last fall and released this week.  Man Law saw its share of rejections, but some of them were promising rejections and they kept me motivated to find a home for my challenging hero. 

 So, you see, just because an editor or agent chooses to resist it doesn’t mean the book won’t get published.  If you stay the course, improve where you need to, make adjustments as necessary, you will find the editor who loves your story.

Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and women’s fiction.  She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her work-a-holic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaton Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University . Adrienne’s debut romantic suspense, Man Law, will be released by Carina Press on July 4, 2011. Her second book, A Just Deception, will be available from Carina Press on September 5, 2011.

For more information please visit  Adrienne can be found on Twitter and Facebook


Man Law available at: Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble


13 Responses to Dealing With Rejection by Adrienne Giordano

  1. William says:

    Adrienne, this is brilliant advice! I’ve always said that, in many ways, finding the right agent or editor is a lot like dating; one has to work through a lot of frogs/frogettes before finding The Magic One.


  2. jbrayweber says:

    Great advice, Adrienne. I’ve had my share of resistance. Equally, I’ve had my shares of “I love it” and You suck”. But persistence pays off. Learn your craft, yes. But also learn to handle rejection. Every single author receives them.

    Thanks, for the post and congratulations on your new release! Happy Sales!



  3. Kristen says:

    My manuscript is a luscious Peanut Buster Parfait with extra chocolate and the agents I submitted to are on diets.

    You’re right. That does make me feel better. I’m going to DQ as soon as it opens and feel even more better. 🙂

    Congratulations on MAN LAW (love the title) and my favorite characters are the ones that aren’t so nice…:-) Best of luck to you!



  4. Hi, William. Thanks for commenting. I completely agree with you about the frogs. I just did a post where I said finding the right agent/editor is like finding a spouse. It’s not easy and takes a lot of thought.

    I got very lucky with my editor. She understands my voice and doesn’t mind when I want to push some boundaries. So, yes, I kissed a bunch of frogs until I got to her!


  5. Hi, Jenn. I don’t know that there’s a writer out there who hasn’t been rejected. And if there is, I want to read that book! 🙂

    Rejection is part of this business. Before I got published I had a quote on my desk that said “Published authors are the ones who never quit.” There’s a lot of truth to that statement. I thought about quitting plenty of times, but I knew the wondering if I could have made it would have driven me insane.

    Good luck finding a home for your books!


  6. Hi, Kristen. I love the Peanut Buster Parfait at DQ. Fantastic way to look at rejection. It’s all a state of mind, isn’t it?

    I think that’s why my friend telling me someone “chose to resist” had such an impact on me.

    There is one side benefit to rejection and I just faced it yesterday. I’ve been lucky enough to receive excellent reviews on Man Law. Well, yesterday, the inevitable happened and I got my first not-so-great review. The reviewer was very professional about it and said other people would probably love the book but it wasn’t for her.

    I read the review, accepted it and moved on. Had I not had all those rejections from agents/editors prior to getting published, I probably would have taken the not-so-great review much harder. Sometimes our work just doesn’t connect with people and (I think) the more we pound that into our heads, the better off we’ll be.


  7. Great advice…It is never easy to deal with but we learn and grow from it…


  8. Hi, Savannah. Another great way to look at rejection.

    Thanks for stopping in!


  9. Nancy Lee Badger says:

    After several years of rejections (and five sales to two different publishers) rejections roll off my back. My only ‘pet peeve’ are the form letters. I really NEED to know WHY you did not want it besides, “not for us at this time.” Thanks for the uplifting messge.


  10. Hi Nancy. I feel your pain! LOL. It would be nice to know the reasons why, but at the same time I guess I understand the need for form letters given the numbers of queries editors and agents are dealing with. Still, it would be nice.

    Thanks for stopping in and congrats on your sales.


  11. Thank you to the gang at Musetracks for having me today. It was fun hanging out with you guys!

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  12. That is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Brief but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this
    one. A must read post!


  13. This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am truly
    happy to read all at one place.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: