Coping with Rejection
It’s an early lesson for most. As children, the playground can be anything but a play area: she loves me – she loves me not; join my team – you must be joking; come off it, fatty – snails run faster.
Rejection slips from publishers are something else. This time, not only are you being rejected, but so is your creation, your labour of love over months and possibly years. And there’s no comeback – the rejection is final, unexplained and standardised.
I used to think publishers were heartless, until I became one. Within hours I understood why they choose not to correspond with aspiring authors. Life’s too short. There is no kind way of explaining to a mother that her baby is ugly – or badly dressed; neither can the shortcomings of a sloppy manuscript be tackled in a sentence or two without goosing the sensitivities of writers beyond their endurance. So many writers are coping with rejection because they are given no other choice.
How to Avoid the Rejection Slip
But I offer a ray of hope. Most manuscripts are rejected for reasons that will astound you. They fall at hurdles that have everything to do with what editors recognise as alarm signals and storm warnings and little to do with the essence of the piece of writing. Put simply, imagine a row of a dozen tick boxes representing the criteria editors weigh when viewing submitted work, then note that the first nine need to be ticked before the writing itself is assessed.
Independent manuscript appraisals coupled with some coaching to help you both write a book and the covering material that publishers require and are essential for aspiring writers. They will ensure you leap-frog most competitors in the submissions stakes. Only then will the writing itself have to fight its own battle on your behalf. Because it is only then that the writing will have gained access to a detailed assessment and passed through the filter that is designed to distinguish between those that have a half chance of delivering what the publishers want and those that don’t.
If your writing merits publication, give it a fine start in life. Submit it first to a panel of publishers and writers, to people that understand the intricacies of the filter and what it takes to pass noiselessly through to the real appraisal. You will save time and money on pointless submissions and increase your chances of acceptance, and of seeing your work in print. Even if that means further work and a bit more polish on your part.