Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In the face of rejection...

Today we're hearing from Melanie Dickerson. Her debut novel, The Healer's Apprentice, comes out in September. It's a young adult medieval romance that I can't wait to get my hands on.

As I tried to think of what to blog about for young adult writers, I decided to talk about the one thing that, more than anything else, seems to stop more writers from pursuing their dream of publication. And that is discouragement. So many writers quit before they get published. How can you avoid allowing this to happen to you?

First of all, you have to decide, from this day forward, that you are never going to give up on your dream. You have to dig deep and find that well of strength and determination, and then tell yourself you’re not quitting, no matter what.

Secondly, you have to realize that publishing is not an easy business to break into. Realize that success is often a long time coming and you have to be determined to stick with it for the long haul.

Think of J.K. Rowling. If I remember correctly, the first Harry Potter book was rejected 42 times. Forty-two. That’s a lot of rejections. A LOT. Even I didn’t get that many—which means, basically, nothing. A rejection simply means that that particular editor, that particular publishing house, or that particular agent didn’t realize the potential of your story. If they had known that Harry Potter would sell millions and make J. K. Rowling the richest woman in England, they would certainly not have rejected her book. They didn’t know. Publishing is a subjective, speculative business.

Remember: A rejection does not mean your writing stinks. It simply means that that editor didn’t think your story was right for their publishing house at that time.

What if J. K. Rowling had, upon receiving her 41st rejection, declared, “That’s it! I quit!” What if she had decided writing novels was not a lucrative venture and she was not going to waste one more minute of her time doing it? She didn’t know, after rejection number 41, that the very next publisher was going to say yes.

Thirdly, is there anything else you enjoy doing more? If not, then continue writing. You may have to get a job some day to pay the bills. Some day you may have half a dozen kids screaming for your time and attention, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write. Many, many writers work, or go to school, or take care of a family, and write in their spare time.

Every writer gets discouraged, but if you persevere, you can be proud that you didn’t give up.

Melanie Dickerson’s first novel, The Healer’s Apprentice, releases September, 2010. The Healer’s Apprentice is a Young Adult Historical Romance, loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, published by Zondervan. Melanie lives in north Alabama with her husband and two daughters. You can catch up with Melanie on the web, check out her new book, and watch the awesome book trailer of The Healer’s Apprentice at http://www.melaniedickerson.com. She also blogs about YA fiction with several other authors at www.novelteen.com.


  1. Wonderful encouragement, Melanie! And you have the distinction of having the only book trailer I ever watched from start to finish, LOL. So enchanting! Can't wait to get my grubby little paws on that book!!

  2. Thanks, Stephanie, for having me on your blog, and thanks, Roseanna, for wanting to read my book! Bless you both. :-) I can't wait to get my hands on it either! It releases Sept. 3rd.

    Hope I have encouraged someone today! Writers need encouragement. It's a difficult business.

  3. Isn't her trailer great? I love it.

  4. Great interview & so true. Writers don't quit. :)

    Thanks for the post. Book cover is gorgeous; sounds fantastic.