A rejection can come in many forms. A non-response; a form letter thanking you for your submission but regretfully declining; or even a response full of praise and compliments, which ultimately still says...
But rejection is NOT the end of the road. Not the first time, not the hundredth time. I've been there. I still am there. As a writer, you learn to cope with rejection. You make an active choice to let it destroy your career, or propel you to higher heights.
I made that choice very early on in my career, back when I was working a fulltime corporate job while sneaking in writing time any chance I had. I rejected rejection, even after receiving more than one hundred of those annoying little e-mails that make you hold your breath and cross your fingers, only to make it feel like you've been broken up with afterwards. It stings--I get it. But I can tell you with one-hundred-percent certainty that the sting of rejection doesn't compare to the thrill of success when a single READER accepts your work, rating it five stars, writing a glowing review of the massive difference your book made in their life. It makes all the rejection worth it. I promise.
For example, despite my love for writing Children's books, I've had little success selling them. While my YA novels have sold more than 50,000 copies worldwide, my six-book Children's series, The Adventures of Nikki Powergloves, has sold less than 1,000 copies. I've attempted to entice several publishers to embrace the series, and I had one close call with a major publisher that carried the book through multiple rounds of approval over the course of a year, before finally saying "no thanks" like everyone else. So were the countless hours I spent writing, editing, publishing, and promoting this series worth it if the royalties will likely never be enough to even pay for the cost of the cover design?
I can sum up the answer with a single anecdote I received yesterday from a parent of a child who read the first Nikki Powergloves book a year ago. Here's what she said:
"One year ago, Katee hated reading and was a grade behind and then she spent Christmas break with Grandma and fell in love with Nikki Powergloves. Now we can't get her to stop reading! So when we sat here and read your kind words I cried like a baby!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! WE LOVE NIKKI POWERGLOVES!!! Keep using your amazing talents and we will keep reading!"
That kind of message is a game-changer. It makes you realize that the words you choose to write mean something, that they might be read by someone who needs them more than you, someone who will use them in a really really positive way. Someone like a 5th-grader named Katee.
So it doesn't matter that a major editor doesn't think Nikki Powergloves is a good fit for their catalogue. Maybe the next one will. Or maybe they won't. Either way, the book still had a positive impact on this world, if only for one child who learned to love reading.
If you're an aspiring writer, please please please don't give up. Your words ARE important, even if it takes a while for someone to say it. Write for you, write for your future readers, write to change the world.