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Friday, June 19, 2009

About Rejection...

I've had two people within the past week ask me how I handle rejection. One said, "Joanna, have you ever had anything rejected by your publisher?"

Well, yeah.

And I'll tell you how I've come to think about this...

See you can't get to the east coast or the west coast without crossing mountains. You can fly over them, or you can drive over them, but one way or the other, you've got to pass through them.

Rejection in this business is like mountains. It's just a hard spot between me and my goals. I can choose to whine and moan. I can avoid them. Or I can pull up my big girl panties (thanks, Linda H.!) and just keep on trucking. It doesn't mean I have to LIKE the mountains, and once in a while, I get turned back at the pass, but as long as I keep my goal in mind, I'll pick myself up and hurl myself in that general direction once again.

Here's a secret: It's not always the best books or the best articles that get published. Sometimes what an author offers is just what the publisher needed to round out a catalog. Or, your work didn't fit that publisher's immediate needs. It can be something entirely out of your control, and something not at all connected with the quality of your work.

Years ago, an acquiring editor told me he was going to publish I'm Too Blessed to be Depressed. He even set the release date. He was going to bring it out around Mother's Day. Boy, was I ever happy.

All he had to do was take it to the marketing committee. No sweat. Just a formality.

Then he called me back. The publisher had visited the marketing committee. The publisher had decided to take the company in a new direction. From that meeting on, all HCI Communications would publish was Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Now had my book been presented the week before, I would have had a contract. As it was...I self-published.

See? None of that had anything to do with the quality of my work.

So...if you want to write, you better have a strong stomach for rejection. Sure, I've cried about it. I've stomped around my office and called folks names. I've had a bad week interrupted only by lots of cookies and sweets. But I'm not going to let it stop me. I suggest you don't let it stop you either.


Alan Orloff said...

You've got it right, Joanna.

Keep on plugging!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Absolutely, Alan. You just can't let this stuff get you down.