7 Ways Writers Handle Rejection

You might be aware that I’m actively querying my second-world fantasy novel. Maybe something to do with the theme of my last few posts.

Let’s just say, I’m not getting the nibbles I would like.

So, going from the not-so-useful to the potentially helpful, here are:

7 Ways Writers Handle Rejection:

1 – Lashing Out

These are the writers who write back, who tell the agent that they’re wrong to not fling money hand-over-fist at them. These are the writers who go to social media and call out agents for perceived faults.

These are the writers that agents warn each other about. The ones who helped encourage agents to never give feedback.

Clearly, this isn’t you.

(Of course, I’m not saying there are no problematic agents. I watch the literary news and gossip.)

2 – Indulging in substances

From the PG-13 versions of chocolate and ice cream, to the more adult versions of alcohol and pot, to harder substances, plenty of writers have been known to comfort eat/indulge themselves. Finding distraction and a sugar rush — or what have you — to help raise those endorphins.

3 – Walking Away

The literary world is hard. Constant rejection is hard. Some writers toss in the towel, either giving up on publishing and deciding to write for themselves and any online followers, or by giving up on writing altogether. Of course, if they ever change their minds their novel will be right there waiting for them.

4 – Binge Reading

Nearly every writer out there got into it because of our love of reading — and our dream of seeing the types of stories we want told in published books. Sometimes, the best way to find your enthusiasm for writing again is to remind yourself what you’re aspiring to — by reading books that give you characters and settings that consume you.

5 – Self-Publishing

Just do it yourself!

Traditional publishing is surrounded by gatekeepers, accepted tropes, dictated pacing, and a lot of waiting. In this day and age, one doesn’t have to subject oneself to all of that. You can take your novel, get it edited, and publish it yourself — controlling everything from the title to how it’s marketed. No need resign yourself to cover art you don’t adore or blurb text that pushes the wrong aspects of the story.

6 – Revision

Every rejection has one thing in common — the agents are rejecting your manuscript. (Not you, no matter how personal it feels). Maybe the problem really is with your query. Or your synopsis. Or your story. It might be time to take a good hard look at what you have and what the market seems to be looking for.

7 – Sending Out Another Query

And, of course, there’s the fact that maybe you just haven’t found the right agent. So, when you get one rejection in, you just send out a new query to a different agent. Maybe this one will see the not-so-hidden gem within your manuscript.


How do you handle rejection? What ways have worked? What ways haven’t been so useful?

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