Don’t Let Rejection Weigh You Down

This New York Times article is…weirdly composed. It’s a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster (what do odd resume’s and rejection lists have in common?), but I’m glad it brought the rejection list to my attention.

Basically, author Monica Byrne has kept track of every single rejection she has ever gotten. There are more than 500 now on her list, compiled over 6 years. Which just has to be brutal. But I found her comments about it inspiring:

“Of all the things I’d ever submitted to or applied for,” she writes at The Washington Post, “I’d gotten only 3 percent of them. That’s a 97 percent rejection rate. That means I got 32 rejections for every acceptance.”

But she DOES have acceptances, including a book deal and a sold-out play. I also liked this quote:

“The anti-résumé remains my deceptively simple answer to the question, ‘How do you do it?’: that I persisted during all those years of rejection for no other reason than that I loved writing so much I wanted to spend all my time doing it. Writing must be its own reward, even for the most talented and hardworking writers, or they’re going to have a tough time.”

I’ve not had much success with courting agents. I’ve gotten some nice comments, a few requests for manuscripts, but nothing has really gelled. And it’s been frustrating. Sometimes I think back on my rejection list and wonder if maybe I’m “doing it wrong”–“it” in this case being “everything.” But Byrne reminds me that this is sort of just how it is. Just keep going for it.


Filed under Publishing, writing

2 responses to “Don’t Let Rejection Weigh You Down

  1. I got an agent, a coauthor, and then we pitched a book proposal around to a whole bunch of publishers before landing an offer with a $10K advance. I was so disappointed in all the rejections from the others though, and had thought I could get much more. In the end, I walked away and dropped the project. Today I wish I had completed it.

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