Neil O'Donnell

Neil O'Donnell

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Buffalo, New York, United States
Nationally certified career coach with expertise in writing résumés and cover letters for professionals around the world. 15+ years of focus helping new graduates and seasoned professionals find good jobs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How NOT to handle rejection of your manuscript

OK, so maybe I haven't covered the following enough. To writers looking for agents or publishers, please carefully consider the following:

The publishing world is smaller than you think. Curse out a publisher or agent for rejecting you and word will spread. If you are angered by getting rejected, vent with your friends in conversation. Never write back and curse the publisher/agent out, and NEVER write nasty blog entries trashing them. To make it easier to forget a rejection consider that:

1) The rejection may simply be because that publisher/agent has already published similar stories recently and wants to go in a new direction

2) The rejection may simply be due to the fact that the publisher/agent has too many clients at the time to sufficiently market your book

3) The rejection may simply mean the publisher/agent didn't really enjoy your story and doesn't believe she or he can provide the enthusiasm your deserve from an agent/publisher.

Rejection is nothing personal. If your manuscript is rejected, take time to consider any reasons stated for the rejection (if any) and move on. Trashing a publisher or agent in a tirade over the phone, thru an email or on a blog won't likely help you sell the story to the person that rejected you. But, such a venting of your frustration may get your name out to other publsihers/agents, who will possibly ignore all your submissions.


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  2. Now why would anyone need to kiss these publishers' rings? Just what is it they do for their writers that is so spectacular?

  3. Hi Corin,

    Not suggesting writer's 'kiss' any rings. Writer's do need to act professional though (as do publishers and agents). Writers that don't take rejections well are going to find it painful getting published.

  4. You know, Neil, the truth of the matter is writers, regardless of how they handle rejection, are going to find all aspects of publishing under the current system, very painful. And it doesn't have to be that way. I agree that people need to be professional: unfortunately, the industry has defined "professional" as ‘bend over and take it’ and then, ‘You do all the work. We’ll take all the profit.’

    And the big five publishers are running huge slander campaigns against anyone who tries to oppose them. It’s a shame they don’t invest the money they invest in their slander campaigns into actually promoting their writers.

    Also, all the authors we know--and these authors are very professional--who have been published recently by small publishers are being drained by those publishers. Their experiences are also very painful. So you see, Neil, professional or not--painful experiences have become synonymous with publishing. People's dreams are dying. That is shameful.