The Big No: Surviving and Thriving Through Rejection

Can rejection actually help you get published? Think about it. When success comes without a lot of effort, it's easy to ride the wave and not push for perfection.

Take Kathryn Stockett, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Help. She was rejected by a stunning sixty agents over several years before landing an agent. What did she do during those years of submitting and getting a negative response over and over? She wrote and rewrote her book. The story of her journey and perseverance is inspiring.

Had Stockett landed an agent with her first batch of submissions, her manuscript might not have sold in three weeks, like it did. It would have needed multiple rounds of revisions before it was polished to the point it would interest a publisher.

Sure, a manuscript has taken a chunk of time to write, but how ready is it to submit? Sometimes a few rejections can bring a writer face-to-face with the truth. Despite how much family, friends, and even critique group members like it, it may need some more work. This is the time to read and apply knowledge from books like these that can help turn a "no" into a "yes".

If you end up with a batch of rejection letters, know that you're not alone. Here are some lists of famous writers who were rejected--some of them many times, others with hurtful criticism:

50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected (Even bestselling James Patterson was rejected multiple times.)
Naked Rejection: You Have to Take It On the Chin Steven King tossed his Carrie manuscript in the trash, and his wife fished it out.
Rejections received by famous authors and famous books. (Did you know Beatrix Potter was rejected so many times, she initially self-published?)
30 Famous Authors Rejected Repeatedly and Rudely (One publisher told Faulkner, "Good God! I can't publish this!")
And if all this rejection confirms your belief that the publishing industry is beyond help, read this post by Nathan Bransford to renew your faith.

Where are you at? Has rejection (or fear of rejection) made you work harder at your craft?


  1. I just posted about this exact thing...sort of! It definitely makes me work harder. I think it helps knowing that most authors experience a bit of rejection, too.


  2. I guess we were reading each other's minds today! If any readers want to check out Carla's encouraging post, here's the link:


  3. This is why I hope that when I start querying, I'll get some seriously good feedback I can use :)

  4. Until last year, I had never thought of "testing" a query. The idea is to send it to selected "B list" agents just to see the response, and revise accordingly before tackling the "A list".




Related Posts with Thumbnails