I’ve Been Rejected Close to 500 Times
Here’s a short excerpt from the e-book I’m working on, Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race…And Step Into a Career You Love. If you’re interested in learning more about the book as I work on it, or being one of my 50 beta readers, please join my email list. If you join, you’ll also get daily Morning Motivation for Writers emails and two free e-books for writers!
I just did a rough count, and what I have to tell you isn’t pretty:
Between 1996 and 2012 I sent out 200 queries — each one to multiple publications — and sold 60 ideas. That’s a 30% success rate — or a 70% rejection rate. If I sent each query to four magazines, that means I received 480 rejections. (And that’s not even counting the untold number of informal ideas I sent to my editors via email once I became more established that were rejected, or the letters of introduction I sent to trade magazine editors that went nowhere.)
So how was it that I’ve been able to write for around 150 magazines, with most of them giving me multiple assignments over the years? How was I able to make a living—a good living—mainly writing for magazines?
It’s because I was too stubborn to give up, even when I was failing most of the time. And every time I made a sale, I wowed the editor so she would give me more work.
So how can you get over the idea of rejection? Here’s the thing: Rejection isn’t about you. If your idea or writing are rejected by a prospect or editor, it’s a simple business decision: Your offering was not right for the prospect at this time. [TWEET THIS]
When you’re approached by a salesperson at the supermarket asking if you want to sample a new brand of pita chips and you say No thanks, does that mean the salesperson personally sucks? Is it a judgment call on the actual person handing out the chips? Or even on the quality of the product? No. Your rejection of the offer means you’re full because you just had lunch, or you can’t eat gluten, or you’re not in the mood for a snack, or you’re a vegan and the chips have cheese powder on them.
The product doesn’t suck, and neither does the salesperson. It has nothing to do with them.
It’s the same with writing. If a prospect says no, it can mean anything from “We don’t need a freelance writer right now” to “I had a fight with my spouse this morning and I’m in a foul mood.”
If you let the mere thought of rejection keep you from writing, then you’ve already failed. You’ve pre-rejected yourself! [TWEET THIS]
The best thing you can do when you’re starting your career as a writer is to develop a thick skin to rejection. Easier said than done, I know. But the ones who get rejected the most are the ones who succeed, because it means they’re putting their work out there.