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Dealing With Rejection In Writing

You, of course, don't have to suffer rejection. Just set your goals very, very low and you'll never have to deal with the heartless monster. If you've convinced yourself you'll never have that primo body or job or spouse or pool or Mercedes or million bucks, and your prediction comes true, then you'll save yourself the anxiety of rejection. The same goes for writing. If you truly believe you will never write the Great American or Indian or Canadian (eh?) Novel, and you never do, then you have succeeded. Congratulations.
I've had to deal with rejection all my life. When the doctor held me up after the delivery, I was so ugly he slapped my mother. (kudos to Dangerfield.) In Junior High School, the coach had me run against a three-hundred pound kid with congenital heart disease and I lost. In high school, I asked Laura Baugh, the U.S. Amateur golf champion, and the most beautiful girl in Florida, if she wanted to dance. She looked me up and down and said, "You've got to be kidding."

So with that plethora of experience one would think I would be uber capable of handling anything these cruel agents and publishers can fling at me. Alas, tis not the case. With each postcard or form letter or terse, dispassionate e-mail rejection, my writing enthusiasm dies just a little bit more.
There are days I want to pull an Emily Dickinson and shove my prose into the underwear drawer and leave it to be discovered after I have writ me last syllable and left God's good Earth. I know, a bit melodramatic and filled with hyperbole, but sooner or later you have to ask yourself if you should keep trying or just do what that whiny bastard who writes that blog called, Give It Up, You'll Never Be Published tells you to do? Oh, wait a sec. That's me, isn't it? Dumbass.
I guess you could listen to those pundits at those writing conferences who tell you to keep a stiff upper lip and to always remember that Theodor Geisel had hundreds of rejections from publishers, as did Stephen King and J K Rowling, and yet they stuck to their guns and were eventually published. Well, yeah, but those are successful examples. What about the zillion that were never published? Geez.
Okay. Here's an example of a Query letter you can send to a literary agent and be absolutely sure you won't feel awful if rejected:

September 6, 2012

Prima Donna Literary, LLC

20 Madison Ave.

New York, NY 10010 


Dear Sir or Madam or To Whom It May Concern or probably to an intern, most likely, 

My novel, The Godfather, is a coming-of-age story about a teenager who transforms into a werewolf whenever he eats at Five Guys. I titled it The Godfather because that’s already a successful novel and I figure a lot of people will mistake my book for that one, especially if it’s available in a Kindle version, so, like, no one will really know they screwed up ordering the wrong book and so my book will make a lot of money. If you don’t like The Godfather we could call it Fifty Shades of Grey because that’s pretty popular too. It’s OK to do stuff like that because you can’t copyright a title. I didn’t know if you knew that.
My book’s not really that good, but I haven’t been writing very long, so I have an excuse. I read a lot, mostly Manga, but except for the storyline running from back to front it’s very similar to the other stuff people read in books.
So anyway, we could make a lot of money selling my book and I’ll sign a contract to write more, no problem.
If I don’t hear from you within like a few weeks I’ll call your agency to see what you think. Hurry though. I will send it to other agencies who probably want to make some money themselves.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

John J. White


  1. You have a wonderfully light and humourous touch, enjoy reading your posts :) best of luck!

    1. Nilanjana,
      I don't know how you can write such beautiful poetry and still have a sense of humor but you're one of the rare ones.

    2. So you think us poets are a sour lot?? Just kidding!! :) I truly enjoy your
      came here today with a request - please check this out
      Have a great weekend.

  2. I think I'll use your query, just tell me what agents you're sending it to, because it's only plagiarism if it goes the same place, right? ; )

    1. If you send it to an agent, I guarantee they will talk about it in their next staff meeting. You will be banned from the literary hierarchy, but they will talk about it. Going to your blog later to see if you were really behind bars. (doubt it)


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