Friday, April 23, 2010

About Rejections (Part 2 of 9)

One of the most painful lessons to learn is that when editors say no, it's not personal. Editors and agents turn down the material and that makes no personal judgment about the writer. Although I knew that intellectually, for several years I went into an emotional downswing every time I received a rejection.

And why wouldn't we have emotional meltdowns? We throw ourselves into the writing arena and many of us can’t separate the professional response from personal rejection. Here’s something I used to say when I received turndowns: This reflects the work I submitted; it says nothing about me as a person.

I also want to encourage those of you who receive rejection slips: Don’t allow rejection to shake your faith in your work or in yourself. (Your work may deserve rejection but that's another topic.) If you believe in something you’ve written, keep sending it out—a dozen times if necessary—until it’s accepted. Occasionally manuscripts are accepted after twenty or more rejections. In 2002, I wrote a book for women whose sons, husbands, or relatives had been sexually abused. Every publisher I tried turned me down, although I got close once. An editor wrote, "This book deserves to be in print, but our company will never do it."

In the summer of 2008, at a book trade show, Steve Barclift of Kregel Books told me he'd wanted to publish something by me for several years. "I have one book," I told him, "but you won't take it."

"Try me," he said.

I told him the idea and he said, "I'd like to see it." In early 2009, Kregel issued a contract. When a Man you Love Was Abused: A Woman's Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Molestation comes out this spring.

A rejection reflects the work I submitted; it says nothing about me as an individual.


  1. Thanks for the reminder Cec.


  2. As a matter of fact (Yes, Cec would probably call those five words a cliché.), we received our shipment of When a Man You Love Was Abused from the publisher this week. It’s a moment that will go down in history. Well, at least it’s a moment that made us really happy. :-)


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