"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Recipe for Making Rejections More Palatable!

---“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
Okay, admit it. There’s probably one or two editors that your need to prove yourself to has kept you pounding away at the keyboard with dogged determination---month after month, year after year.

In entrusting them with the task of improving your work and reducing your creative errors, they reduced your spirit.

Their words were harsh. They left more red on your rejected manuscript than at a crime scene. They doubted your ability. They made you doubt yourself.
Or they told you that you had no business in this business.

You intend to prove them wrong…with a best-selling book, award-winning blog, publication in Huffington Post, or huge publishing contract.
And then they’ll be sorry they didn‘t see your worth; just like the ex that left you! (Or maybe that’s just me, sorry).  :-)
It happens to the best of us. But, don’t let the fire they lit under you cause detriment. Use it to cook up greater success and ultimate profitability.

Here are 5 practices and principles to consider:

1). Don’t be bitter, be better.

According to experts at MayoClinic.org: “Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to: healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being, less anxiety, stress and hostility, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, and a stronger immune system.” A better alternative to bitterness is to channel that energy into something more constructive.
Say like journal entries, or a healthy “vent” session on your blog?
Then let it go. And move forward.

2). Eat some “humble pie.”

See rejection as a learning opportunity. When you give things a little distance and space, revisit your rejections. Is there any merit to the editor’s criticism? Was there a “kernel” of something useful that can be garnered to enhance your writing and increase the odds for future publication? Be open and humble yourself. For example, in the infancy of my writing career, one of the first editors I worked for, and for whom I owe a tremendous debt, taught me to be more analytical in my work. She helped me write from a reader’s perspective. To make a long story short here, I had sent a piece to her about the experience of a woman who was a struggling single parent, but I neglected to address some of the major 5Ws of journalism in my feature story. She called me out on it.
I never forgot that again. This situation increased my awareness and my bottom line for years to come.

3. Don’t “stir the pot” unnecessarily.

Let’s face it: we don’t always agree with an editor’s assessment of our work. Heck, as a former senior editor myself, I’d like to think I know a thing or two. Still, from where I sit, some editors’ criticisms can come across as…well, a little petty. I remember years ago, when an editor I worked with on numerous occasions, “raked me over the coals” for what she considered “excessive use of exclamation points.” Imagine that! You’ll get no argument here. Often I write the way I speak. And I’m excited about many things! Should passion be penalized? I never made mention of it in our ongoing communication. Instead, I just made a special mental note to myself that she could be a bit “anal.” And consequently, I should be particularly observant when submitting the next pieces for her review and consideration. The moral of the story here? No matter how “half-baked” you might view their perspective, the publishing world is smaller than you think. Even when you have to part ways with an editor or publisher, (due to creative differences), exit with class and professionalism, when possible. Don’t engage in name-calling, or heated social media feuds. You’re better than that.

4. Follow proven recipes and formulas to “work smarter, not harder” and increase the odds of acceptance.

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember all the rules, strategies and steps that go into a well-crafted, marketable piece. For this reason checklists can prove to be extremely helpful. Here’s one I crafted for optimizing my blog posts. You should try it, too.

Modify and season to taste.

Checklist I use for my Blog posts

Engaging title?
    Topic relevant to readership?

    Professional image to accompany post?

    Word count between 200-800 words (or divided into a 2-part series)?

    Paragraphs between 2-6 sentences?

    Bullet points and bold text to emphasize key points?

    Related links and resources where applicable?

    Post printed out and proofread prior to publishing?

    Call to action for readers?

5. Remember that we all have different “palates.”

Don’t personalize rejection.

It‘s simply someone’s professional opinion; it’s not a reflection of your value as a human being. It should not diminish nor define you. And certainly don’t let it stop you. What doesn’t appeal to one editor’s taste will likely suit another. In some instances, I have sold a previously rejected article within 24 hours. And you can too. Regroup, research more markets, then resubmit elsewhere.

Don’t get burned by rejection! It’s an integral part of the writing experience.
Follow these five tips to become a hotter, more empowered, profitable writer in 2016.
Bon Appetit!


  1. Some good points to think about.

  2. Good points to ponder and I like a piece of that pie!

    1. Marja,

      You have an open invitation to drop by my kitchen. I'm always cookin' up something. :-) Loved hearing from you today.

  3. The best point: Don't personalize rejections. A speaker once said, "If I owned a dress hop, I would not sell every dress in my shop as soon as I hung it for sale. Same with your writing. Then she mentioned many of your great points. Great minds think alike.

    1. It takes a great mind to recognize one. :-) Thanks much, Lin.

  4. I read a post by author Jody Hedlund years ago where she shared about bad reviews. She mentioned that though they were hard to accept, she came to realize that her work wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, and that was okay. I've since related that to rejection from editors, and it's been a help. As you said, we need to take the constructive and move forward. All part of the process. Thanks so much for your insight and encouragement. :)