Inside the World of Rejection

Friday, August 26, 2022
By Dawn Carrington

Rejection is a word all writers know. It’s rare to have that first novel or first article accepted, especially if you’re a brand-new writer. More than likely, you’ll receive a “sorry, this isn’t for us” response that will feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach. If you want to stay in this business, though, you’re going to have to learn how to take it without taking to your bed for days on end or sending a scathing email in response to the editor who didn’t see why your tome should be bought immediately.

Handling rejection can be tricky, especially if you’re still trying to get that first novel published. Maybe you’ve sent it to dozens of publishers or literary agents, and you’re getting the same response. You can’t understand how these industry experts don’t want your masterpiece. It can help to consider the reasons behind the experts’ decisions as they are vast and varied.

1. Editors/literary agents receive hundreds upon hundreds of submissions a year, if not more. There is only so much room on their publishing roster. Unfortunately, that means sometimes they have to turn away a book or more rather than hold manuscripts in limbo, waiting for a spot to open to open up on their publishing schedule. As an aside, most publishing contracts have a length of time specified when your book must be published. No publisher wants to miss that deadline.

2. Your book might be similar to something they’ve recently published or contracted. They certainly don’t want to publish two books about a mermaid who falls in love with a human…at least not within the same year or two.

3. Your synopsis might not have outlined the book well enough, and they see gaping holes in the plot. They know it would take editors a lot of time and energy to get the book ready for publication. They just don’t have that type of time.

4. Your book is a direct knock-off from highly successful novels on the market. If you’ve submitted a book about Harriet Potts which is set in a wizarding world or Edwina Callen, a vampire from a family of that only drinks animal blood and falls in love with a introverted human named Bill Swanson, it’s pretty obvious you may be trying to capitalize on someone else’s success.

None of this is to say that these are the reasons your book has been rejected. They are just considerations that take you inside the mind of the editor or literary agent and will, hopefully, give you some insight into their world.

A rejection isn’t the end of your writing career nor will it break you if you don’t let it. Instead, use it as a means to motivate you to continue your journey toward success. With each rejection, your will to persevere should grow stronger because your ultimate goal is to be published. Always keep the end result in mind.


Dawn Rachel Carrington has been the editor-in-chief of Vinspire Publishing, a publisher of family friendly books, since 2004. A published author of over fifty titles ranging from romantic suspense to historical romance, she has also been a civil litigation paralegal for over thirty years.

Currently, a freelance editor/writer residing in historical Charleston, South Carolina, Rachel has written over 500 non-fiction articles, short stories and essays. Her work can be found in Absolute Write, The New York Times, Short-Edition, The Writer's Journal, Writing for Dollars, Writer's Magazine, Writer's Weekly, Funds for Writers, and more.

When she’s not writing, she loves to read young adult novels and romantic suspense. She also designs book covers, is an avid shopper, a HUGE Star Trek fan, a traveler, and an antique store addict.

Visit her website at

--Her upcoming WOW! class, DISSECTING REJECTION—Understanding Why Your Book Keeps Getting Rejected and Knowing When It’s Ready for Publication starts on Monday, September 12, 2022.  Reserve your your spot here!


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

So many manuscripts, so many rejections! My book club just reading When Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams. When she wrote the novel, her agent couldn't sell it. The world changed and now there's a market for it. A lesson for us all.

Renee Roberson said...

All great points, Rachel, and thank you for sprinkling in a dose of humor for all us writers who are weary from the merry-go-round of submissions and rejections!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top