Sunday, 8 July 2012


Today I welcome to the blog the multi-published Victoria Lamb, who is going to talk about the dreaded boomerang!  Over to you, Victoria:


Coping with Rejection by Victoria Lamb

 By the time you’ve finished a novel, it’s become a part of you. To have it rejected by an agent or publisher can feel like a personal affront. Yet rejection is an intrinsic part of the publishing business: we all go through it at some stage, and sometimes it’s the quickest way to improve. So how to cope with the hurt of rejection, and still keep writing and believing in yourself?

Stay professional
Allow yourself some natural moments of pique, then get yourself in hand again. Rejection is horrible. But you can’t please everyone all of the time. It’s as simple as that.

Was your rejection justified?
Next, consider carefully whether your work was perhaps less polished than it should have been, or on the wrong track altogether. This should not be an emotional decision. If advice has been given, assess it coolly. Not all advice is helpful. On the other hand, few novels spring fully formed from a writer’s mind, and even a rejection note can be useful.

Submit again to the right places
Finally, be brave and send out your work again as soon as any changes have been implemented. Be sure you target the right people. Check that the agent or publisher handles your genre. Sometimes a rejection has a simple explanation like that and is no reflection on your work. One example of an ‘unseen’ disadvantage is when a similar book or writer has already been accepted, so they can’t commit to yours because of a potential clash of interests.

Keep writing
This can be the hardest advice to follow when you’ve pinned your hopes on one particular story. But if you demonstrate that you’re more than a one-book writer, it tends to work in your favour. New writing also allows you to create much-needed emotional space between yourself and a rejection. Don’t keep starting new stories rather than improving work that’s been rejected. But when that unpleasant letter arrives, it can be reassuring to remind yourself, ‘There’s always the next book.’

Victoria Lamb writes historical fiction. The Queen’s Secret (Bantam Press) is a Tudor novel available in hardback and Kindle edition, and in paperback from July. Witchstruck is the first in a paranormal romance “Tudor Witch” series from Corgi Books for young adult readers, and will be published in July.


  1. Absolutely agree with this, Victoria. Good advice. I have kept ALL my rejection letters, as a reminder that I didn't, and shouldn't give up!! Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Carol. All this is easier said than done, of course. I have more rejection letters than I care to remember, and I think some may have ended up trampled underfoot in a fit of pique!

  3. Sound advice, Victoria. Definitely easier said than done, but I agree. Never give up.

    Great post!

  4. Absolutely! Sage advice. There can't be many published authors who haven't been rejected in their time. It's all part of the development phase.

  5. All excellent advice - most of which I follow all the time! I've had success with several short stories after initial rejections. Funnily enough I'm partly talking about perseverance on my blog today.

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