Lesson 4: What to do when you’re rejected
Once you’ve done all that, and been rejected, send your work to another publisher right away. After all, it’s just one editor’s opinion and what one editor hates, another may love. If you’ve sent it to ten publishers and they’ve all rejected it, it’s time to rewrite it. If you’ve sent it to twenty, chuck it away and start again. If forty, assuming you can find that many publishers, write something completely and utterly different and change your name.
To experience the extraordinary diversity of opinions any work will get, check out the reader reviews, for any book you know well, on Amazon. For a laugh, take a look at what eighty-odd readers say about my first book, A Shadow on the Glass. One reader will attack the book, the author, editor, proof-reader, publisher and everyone else associated with it, as if mere publication of this book was a personal insult. The next reader will say it’s the best book they’ve ever read. For my own amusement, I once matched up a dozen professional reviewers comments on this book into pairs that contradicted each other.
Don’t take rejection to heart. I once had my editor knock back a manuscript as ‘unpublishable’. A fortnight later my agent sold it to another publisher for lots of money and they offered me a three-book contract into the bargain. The series had terrific reviews and I did about a hundred interviews, quite a few of them for national media so, even though sales were modest, the books and the publicity lifted my author profile tremendously.
But if none of the above is working, tomorrow’s post, Why most writers never get published, may tell you why.