"It's impossible to discourage the real writers; they don't give a damn what you say." Sinclair Lewis

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


by Maxine McCoy

“SWSWSWSW stands for: Some will, some won't, so what--someone's waiting.” Jack Canfield

We work for months (sometimes years) on a book. We know the characters, care about them deeply, apologetically put them in edge-of-the-seat difficulties, and then save them in the end. We wrap them in a shroud of love and send them off to an agent or publisher, waiting expectantly to hear that they love it as much as we do ... and then one day the rejection slip comes.

If we're going to be successful writers, they tell us, we're going to have to learn to deal with rejection. So exactly how do we do that? How do we get past the disappointment, the damaged self-esteem, the shattered confidence, the loss of hope? I've read a lot about this subject recently and could list pages of rules to overcome rejection, but, it seems to me, it can be narrowed down to two points:

1. Attitude:

“We keep going back, stronger, not weaker, because we know we will not allow rejection to beat us down. It will only strengthen our resolve. To be successful, there is no other way.” Earl G. Graves

Now that is a positive attitude.

We need to decide what attitude will bring us the most success. Then we need to decide what thoughts will create and uphold that attitude. Thoughts are like the water that trickled down solid rocks and eventually, through persistence, created the Grand Canyon. Thoughts are powerful.

They cause emotion. Emotion added to an intention creates reality. We know our thoughts are creating what we want them to by being aware of how we feel. If we're happy and optimistic, our thoughts are working for us. If we're depressed, disappointed, and have feelings of hopelessness, our thoughts are working against us. We can only get rid of an unwanted thought by replacing it with another one that serves us better. This principle is like exercising. It works, but you have to put forth the effort.

2. Perseverance:

“This manuscript of yours that has just come back from the editor is a precious package. Don't consider it rejected. Consider that you've addressed it 'to the editor who can appreciate my work' and it has simply come back stamped, 'not at this address.' Just keep looking for the right address.” Barbara Kingsolver

I love to read about the rejections received by our best-selling authors. It always gives me hope.

Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen's Chicken Soup for the Soul - 130 rejections, sold 125 million copies.

“It's impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A.” That was written to George Orwell by a publisher responding to his submission for Animal Farm.

“Nobody will want to read a book about a seagull.” Jonathon Livingston Seagull sold 44 million copies.

“The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.” That was from the rejection slip for The Diary of Anne Frank.

Stephen King threw his Carrie manuscript into the garbage after countless rejections. Luckily his wife dug it out and sent it on. It sold 4 million copies and we know what happened after that.

“You have no business being a writer. Give up.” Written by a publisher to Zane Grey.

There are probably pages of such rejections, so I'll just end with the story of the man who holds the record. Jack Creasey collected 743 rejection slips before he sold his first book. Over the next 40 years he published 562 full-length books under 28 different pseudonyms.

Now that's perseverance.

When sending out your next manuscript, just remember, “Some will, some won't, so what--someone's waiting.”

Just think about that! There's someone out there waiting for your manuscript.


  1. Maxine, this is so inspiring! There IS an editor out there waiting for our books. I just need to finish mine.


  2. Gives me hope that I'll find a producer for my screenplay. I like that quote: SWSWSWSW. Very insightful. The audience is waiting.:)

  3. Wonderful post, Maxine, with a needed reminder that we are not in this alone. Reading those rejection comments received by famous authors inspires me to keep on submitting.

  4. Another wonderful, inspiring post, Maxine. Thanks for sharing!