Five Reasons Why Having A Story Rejected Can Be Good

Cartoon about writing and rejection.

Five Reasons Why Having A Story Rejected Can Be Good

Nobody likes having a story rejected, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day.

Here are give reasons why it can be good:

1) You’ve found out the typical response time for that market. If you don’t get a quick response, you can be waiting months to send a story to another market, unless you do simultaneous submissions. The longest I’ve had between sending a story and receiving a rejection is three years. (By which time I had completely forgotten what I’d sent off.) I’m still waiting for a response for a story sent off last year. Being in the limbo state of not knowing is worse than getting a negative response. At least you can move on then.

2) You get the satisfaction of knowing you completed a story, which can be sent off again. With some slight adjustments, a rejected story can be targeted at a different market. It’s pretty easy to add or delete a few words to make a story fit into another word count, as long as you have the basic story completed. I recently turned a 2000-word story into a 1500-word one by pruning away every unnecessary word. I think the redrafted version is better, but I wouldn’t have done that if the first market had not rejected it.

3) You might find a better market for your story elsewhere. Using the search system at diabolicalplots.com is an excellent way of searching for alternative markets. It allows you to search for specific genres, pay rates and other criteria. (It’s free to use.)

4) You have more time to improve your manuscript. Just don’t change things for no good reason, though. A rejection doesn’t mean anything is wrong with a story. It could be rejected for any number of reasons – like similarity to an already accepted story, budget limits, name recognition and commercial viability. I like to revise rejected stories after a decent period has gone by, allowing a fresh perspective.

5) You don’t have to worry about filling out a contract with all of your personal details, then finding out it’s just a scam to get your bank account information.

Personally, I’m sometimes relieved when I get a rejection. Having a story accepted is very stressful, because it means I have to do more work.

I believe rejection isn’t the end – just a bump in the road. I recently read that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected 121 times before finally finding a publisher.

After acceptance, it sold over five million copies.