Rejection stinks…but it’s inevitable. If you’re serious about your writing, there will come a time when the baby you nurtured—no, slaved over—is going to be totally and utterly rejected. But after pouring your life into it and spending so much time with characters who became more real than the people you live with, it will be hard to let it go.
Or will it? What, exactly, can you do with a rejected manuscript?
Top 5 Things to Do with a Rejected Manuscript
5. Burn it—or shred it, or make origami penguins out of it so at least it’s good for something!
4. Resubmit it elsewhere—a rejection is only one person’s opinion. After a few tweaks, or even a major rewrite, the next editor or agent may love it!
3. Have your writing partner spot the errors—a second pair of eyes never hurt anyone, and constructive criticism can only help.
2. Indie publish—there are more avenues to publishing than ever before. You can determine what happens to your book.
1. Set it aside—this time gently and without flames—and start a new story.
Here’s the bottom line: rejection hurts and can feel very personal, even though it’s not. Only you can decide when it’s really time to let a manuscript go and move to another story. But believe me when I say that sometimes it’s best to set it aside and start fresh. If you’re really in love with your story, you can still start over but in a new way.
Try Doing This with Your Rejected Manuscript:
It could be that you’ve figured out your epic tome would’ve made a better novella, or that if you change up a few things you can try a different publishing house. If you believe deep inside your gut that this story has a chance with some tweaks, there’s no harm in trying to find it a home. (Except the time lost if it doesn’t work out.)
But sometimes you have to realize that it’s the end of the road for this particular manuscript. Instead of reworking and hashing out the same book over and over again, figure out what it is that you love about this story so you can transfer it to a new work.
Dig deep and examine the theme you’re trying to convey with this story and these characters. While we may love what we’ve already written, we have to look at the bigger picture of the message we want to share. (And by message I don’t mean a pushy, agenda-driven story!) Can’t find the deeper meaning? Maybe that’s the problem!
Once you find the deeper meaning, begin to look at new ways to illustrate it with a story. If the message is deep and packed with truth, there will definitely be more novels that can be derived from it!
Most of all, don’t lose heart. While it may feel like a waste of 6-9 months, or maybe even years, it’s not. This is a hard truth for me to swallow, considering I’m all about productivity and squeezing every ounce of life out of each minute God gives me. If you’re a believer, you can take comfort in the fact that you spent time writing with the Creator. If you’re not, you can take comfort in the fact that you’ve sharpened your skills and cultivated your writing voice with each novel you pen.
No matter what, it’s time to put on your big kid pants and get back to work.
What do you do with a rejected manuscript? Burn it, rework it or try again?