Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or on her author website.
Many of you have heard me talk about RoboTales, the children's chapter book series I wrote with my son. (I wrote a blog post on chapter books here.)
Since I would be pitching this to New York publishing houses in a genre I wasn't published in, my agent told me I needed to complete the first three books in the series.
So, Luke and I worked hard. We wrote the first three books, we wrote a book proposal, and we sent it off to my agent.
And it got rejected by everyone. Some of the rejections were random, like one editor who no longer worked at the publishing house. Some were downright lovely, like one woman who loved the idea but her house had moved away from publishing children's chapter books. For us, the reasons didn't matter. Not really. All that mattered was that the answer was no.
These things happen. Rejection was not new to me. It was new to Luke, and he was discouraged. I was too, but I had a lot of perspective to measure it against. Still, this was a pet project for me. It still is! It's more than just another book. All my books mean something to me, but this was something special I'd done with my boy. And we weren't finished yet.
Luke and I talked it over, and we decided to self-publish the first three books. We talked about what we wanted them to look like, and we researched until we found an artist we both thought was perfect.
She was too expensive, though.
Back to the drawing board. We decided to try a Kickstarter campaign. Now, let me just warn you, rejection is common to writers in many forms. Kickstarter can easily be just another form of rejection. And that is how I felt a few days ago. And, knowing me, I'll likely feel that way again before the whole thing is over. But Luke and I are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to pay our artist in advance. We look at it as a way readers can pre-order the books. You can see our Kickstarter project page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1637029332/robotales-childrens-chapter-books
But here's the thing. We might not raise the money we need to pay our artist. We could fail. This would be, yet again, another form of rejection. What do we do then?
Well, we're thinking and planning and praying. If this door closes, that doesn't mean we can't publish these books. It just means that we need to go about it another way. So we will go back to the drawing board and make a new plan. Because we love our project. We love the story. We believe in it. And we're not giving up. Therefore, we've got to stay positive.
So today I'm giving you 4 things you can do when your story is rejected... again.
1. Consider the rejection(s).
What do they say? Many are simply form letters or words that give no clues as to why. But if there are some clues, it would be wise to consider what they are. If the editor or agent gives you any feedback, that is precious. Don't cast it off as nothing. Take time to think over that advice and how it might alter your story.
2. Submit elsewhere.
If you truly believe your story is ready to be published and the rejections offer no valuable clues as to problems with the writing, perhaps you simply haven't found the right publishing house yet. Take some time to research more publishers or agents and see who else is out there to submit to.
3. Take a break and let it sit.
Maybe you've realized that there are problems with your story. But maybe it's too overwhelming to think about editing it again right now. If you can't see anything wrong with it, setting it aside for a while can still be beneficial. Start a new story. Create from scratch again. By the time you come back to this rejected story, you will see everything with fresh eyes. And you might know exactly what needs tweaked.
Also, sometimes writers need periods of complete rest. Months where you don't write. Maybe you read a lot, just for fun. Or maybe you simply reflect on life, taking a break from the grind of striving so much. These periods of refreshing can be so helpful. And they can also give perspective when you come back to look at that story again.
4. Publish it yourself.
Maybe you've sent the story everywhere you could think to send it. Maybe you've taken time off, came back to it, and still felt it was the best it could be. If that's the case, and you still ache to get this story out to readers, it could be time to investigate self-publishing. I say "investigate" because it's so easy to rush into self-publishing these days, but the more time you take preparing and planning, the better you'll do. If you decide to self-publish, do your research and put out the very best product you can.
That's what my son and I are trying to do with RoboTales right now. And like I said before, we might not succeed in raising the funds to pay our artist. We're hoping we will, but we're already making a back-up plan should this door close. That's business, after all. And like it or not, publishing books is business.
Have you ever been rejected? Did you learn something? What did you do next? Share something positive that came about as a result of one of your stories being rejected.