Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rejection Musings

It is my honor to introduce you all to a dear friend of mine. He's definitely one of a kind, but no one can hold a candle to the size of this guy's heart. He writes YA/MG fantasy novels and causes all around mayhem within our critique group. Ladies and gents, without further ado, Mr. Kurt Chambers!

First, can I just say, thank you so much, Ralene, for inviting me as a guest on your blog. It’s a real honour. Now I have to think of something to talk about. I’m currently in the process of submitting my fantasy novel, Truth Teller, so the first thing at the forefront of my mind is the dreaded ‘rejection letter.’ Dum, dum, dummmm! Yes, I know it’s not the nicest subject to talk about, but one all us writers have to face quite a lot.

How do you deal with rejection?

I think rejection is something that affects people in different ways depending on what stage in publishing game you are. I remember the first time I submitted my first novel. How exciting it was! I was so green, I knew absolutely nothing. Then, after checking my email every hour for the next few weeks, I finally got my reply. I quote…

Dear Mr Kurt Chambers.

We would like to thank you for submitting your material to our agency. After careful consideration, I am pleased to tell you we would like to offer you representation with our agency. Please find a copy of our contract attached to this email.

Yes, the first ever novel I wrote, and the first ever submission I sent, and I get offered a contract. I knew I was good, but that even surprised me! What were the chances of that happening? It was that very question that started alarm bells ringing in my head, what WERE the chances of that happening? Unfortunately, they turned out to be a bogus company after I did more research. A good lesson for all of us; always do your homework.

I’ve spoken to a few newbie authors that were actually pleased to receive a rejection letter. That always makes me laugh. I can remember feeling like that myself. The novelty soon wears off, trust me.

The biggest mistake I made when starting out was submitting before I was ready. I sent out blanket submissions to all the top agents and soon gained a big pile of rejection letters. I’m sure every up-and-coming author is guilty of this when starting out. It’s actually quite damaging. Every time you are rejected by someone, that’s your lot. It’s over! If you want to submit anything else to that agency or publisher, you have to write a new novel.

My advice to any new authors who are considering submitting: don’t be too hasty. Make sure your manuscript is as good as it can be. Tackle the dreaded synopsis and get a good critic group to look at it. And most importantly, have a killer query letter that will grab their attention right from the off. Easier said than done, I know, but your manuscript will not even be read if you don’t get your query just perfect.

To all those writers out there that have been rejected more times than they care to think about, I would just like to remind you that rejection comes for many different reasons. Way too many for me to list here in this blog. The least likely reason for rejection is because they didn’t like your work. Never take a rejection personally. If you are being rejected time and time again, take another look at your query letter. Consider writing another one. Read the many articles of advice you can find on the internet, then try again. After ten rejections, do this all over again.

Rejection sucks, but it’s something we all have to deal with. Never let it put you off or get you down. It only takes one acceptance and you’re off and running! Every successful author will tell you, the key to success is to never give up. Don’t let rejection erode your confidence, it’s just part of the game. I wish you all the luck in the world. You’re going to need it! Hahahaha! *evil laugh*

The Rejectionator.


  1. Hey, Kurt!!! It's so nice to see you here!!!

    All that yo usaid is very true!! Very true! If only new writers would read this and learn from our mistakes instead of trying it on their own. LOL! You're AWESOOOOOOOOMMMMMEEEE!!


  2. *raises hand* Guilty of being too hasty! I started submitting, thinking that my novel was ready, but it was nowhere near! LOL Thanks to my critique group (that's you, Kurt and Ralene, among others) for making me realize that, and for helping me get it where it should be. Getting there!

  3. Kurt, for a minute there I was shocked! An acceptance letter on your first submission? Too bad it turned out to be a scam.

    I submitted WAY before my books were ready, and the rejections helped nail that point home. I think I was a bit delusional, like wow, I am talented! But the rejections helped me get to a humble place and focus on learning the writing craft. So rejections can be a good thing--but they're always, always painful.

  4. Wow, Ralene! What an introduction! :D Thank you for having me :)

    Awwww, thank you, Frankie <3 You are pretty awesome too! I'm so excited for you, girl. A three book deal, how exciting!

    We've all done it, Annie. The temptation is too great! And, you're doing great, by the way :)

    Hiya Jill :) Yeah, how great would that have been if it was genuine! I can't believe how close I came to losing all the rights to my first novel to a bogus company. It's quite funny when we look back on our first submissions...lol...And more than a little bit cringy :D

  5. Omg, Hey Kurt! I haven't talked to you in forever, mate! It's Bethany from Twitter.

    I had a similar issue with a bogus acceptance with my first novel. I ended up sending stuff to a guy who'd been on Predators and Editors for years, and who has now been sued for thousands of dollars after he douped hundreds of writers out of "reading fees", "editorial fees" and some such nonsense. If I had only had my feelers out better, none of this would have happened. But at the time I didn't have the internet at home...anyway, no excuses.
    The point being, yes, it can be quite funny (and also cringy) when we look back at our first submissions.


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