How Can Writers Overcome Rejections…with Ellery Adams (part 1)

we are back with Ellery adams in our new last word series and today we're going to be talking about rejections is the dreaded part of publishing but it is one of the most important parts of publishing because you have to schlep through the rejections to get to the yes so today we're going to talk more about the emotional side of rejections and how an author can overcome the barrage of them that do come in do you want to start just a person well I think Ellery can probably start because I know you went through your share of rejection I have my rejection actually I still have them I've kept my folder of rejections they're good fuels sometimes so I guess really where I want to start with is I know what you guys are feeling I know you've come home from a long day your day job which is not necessarily your passion job and you rush to your inbox and there's a bold message in there and it's from an agent and you read the subject you know looking for a hand to make sure you open this now shall I open this later and then you open it and it's the past on your work and you feel like someone just punched you in the gut and I totally get that and it's a totally valid feeling as a matter of fact I was reading this article and it said that you experience emotional rejection the same place in your brain that you experience physical pain so this is not to be taken lightly this is your work you put it out there somebody passed on it and it hurts it hurts and you should spend some time sitting with that truth and it's okay to wallow a little bit my recommendation get some of that not that get some of that or maybe do both and just it's just dwell in that moment for a little bit it hurts and that's okay and then we got to figure out what to do next well and there's a reason in literary agents a known for drinking and chocolate the truth is that we face rejection too and you know we understand what authors are going through in a way that I'm not sure authors are very always aware of you know when we take on a new client and a book we take it on with complete belief that we can sell this project and make a lot of money off of it and when those rejection letters come in from our side of it not only do we have to deal with our own grief but now we have to find a way to share that information with you which is sometimes devastating you know I you know when I feel that grief coming from an offer that's hard for me to take it's hard for me to deliver that bad news yeah and I think that for all of us when we feel rejected one of our first stages and I think it's really important for writers to sit with that for a moment and don't respond to anybody don't email then this is this is not a time for revenge Island I mean you gotta realize that for us are you guys that are writing this is an emotional journey okay and you're sending it to somebody who's acting as a business person and making a business decision and then sending it back to us again it's personal for us so read that leakage going to cruise wallowing but then think to yourself I think this not as a revenge but as inspiration my favorite stories is we certainly receive a lot of those angry emails and I honestly I don't pay much attention to them I don't log the author in is someone I have to watch out for or anything like that I just press your name out right now I just read it and move on and sometimes I can laugh at them and you know and sometimes I do feel bad but one time I got an email from somebody apologizing two years after sending me the email he had gone through enough projections to understand that it was not personal and what the whole process was about and he wanted to apologize and I thought that was really interesting because it's pretty cool actually very cool and also she has a revenge email awareness email yeah you know it shows how the offered the process of the author's isn't how you will learn to cope with it rather than differently as friend goes like right I think that when you get sorry when you get multiple rejections you know every one of them's gonna hurt it's okay you can't get in this process of over wallowing no you're not gonna get any work done so you know cut yourself off too after one volatile wine and that made maybe not with every rejection letter dependent right an amazing novel we don't know yeah I think I think the real key is to yeah it's sort of finding a way to get over it which is getting back into the next book you know the most revenge is success right so every author has because every author has piles of them or folders of them and one of my recommendations to aspiring authors is when you get one of these rejections to keep a list of famous authors rejections and they're all over the internet you can just google them keep them someplace handy and then pull them up and look okay John Irving got rejected and then he sold 25 million copies of this book you know Richard Adams watership down got rejected her soul against been rejected a million times Stephen King ever heard of him so I mean it's just it's nice to actually see the wording to in those rejection letters some of them are really not nice and agents have gotten way more professional [Laughter]

9 thoughts on “How Can Writers Overcome Rejections…with Ellery Adams (part 1)

  1. In December of 2017, I received my second rejection from Ms. Faust on a pet project of mine… I won't even deny, I was devastated. But after a lot (or more like A LOOOOOT) of wallowing and drowning my sorrows, I reread the rejection letter and found nothing but wisdom. She'd told me I'd concentrated too much on writing poetically and not enough on the story itself– and dammit if she wasn't 100% right. I've been revamping diligently ever since. And though I'm not sure I'll be able to query her this project again, BookEnds remains my goal agency. No other agent/agency took the time to tell me what I'd done wrong. And the fact she did that for no other reason than to help me, a virtual stranger? I'm beyond grateful. Thank you again for the wonderful post, and for being one of the only agencies that really goes above and beyond for us slush-pilers! (PS, the answer is no… I don't care if this post makes me a suck-up. =D )

  2. Thanks for the video. It was insightful to watch. But I have to say that I've never liked the advice to remember how many numerous rejections that famous authors received before they hit it big. I know it's well meaning, but there's only one Stephen King or JK Rowling, and the vast majority of debut writers will work their butts off for years and never come close to that jackpot level of success. A lot will never get past querying and may stick their manuscripts in a drawer. In this industry, hard work, skill, and a good book aren't the only things you need. You also need luck and good timing. No debut writer can control those. It doesn't matter what a famous author did. No pub journey is exactly alike.

  3. Great post! I know this will help someone–not me, I lettered in rejections back in high school–but someone.

  4. I've gotten my share for sure. The first couple I was ready to quit. Then someone suggested I flip the script so to speak. To shoot for 100 rejections versus looking for that one agent. Since doing that I feel better knowing I have a long ways to go. And hopefully I'll never reach 100. But I do have a question since you brought this up Mrs. Jessica. Is it appropriate to thank the agent for the rejection? Not being a smart ass, but to honestly say thank you for taking the time out of their day to read my submission? I've refrained from doing that thinking the last thing they need or want is another email. Your thoughts would be very helpful, thank you.

  5. I was rejected by 1 of your agents so, as it is known, I can no longer aspire to work with this agency during my current project. I took it quite lightly. Saw the stock rejection letter, with vague reasons for why my book was rejected, closed the email, shared it with my writing support group privately, made some jokes about it and moved on to find another agent. That's how it is. That's what I did.

  6. Rejection hurts. Big time.

    But my latest concern has been trying to decide and lock onto a new project while I wait on emails from agents I've queried. The waiting has been messing with my focus. I keep flittering from idea to idea: twenty pages on this, put it aside, ten pages on this idea, nah, put it aside. Let's write an outline! Okay, cool. I like it. I like it a lot! But…wait…the idea is turning epic in my head. I'll need five books to tell this story. Put it aside. How about I fill up a yellow legal pad with ideas while I stare out the window at the coffee shop as the world goes by…*sigh*

    I'll land on an idea I like soon. I know I will.

    Thanks for the helpful video.

    Take care.


  7. When I get a rejection I print out the email and I write my thoughts on it. It involves cuss words and disappointment. Then I put it in the shredder and get back to writing. I put down my feelings and then let it go.

    It’s a business and in every business you get knocked down.

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